Introducing below a new category of tourist that you will see more and more on NZ roads – but sadly not usually around Taupo/Turangi. This new breed are called “bike-packers”. They carry all their belongings including food, tent, sleeping bag, spare wet weather gear. They are attracted here by NZ’s wide variety of bike trails. We rarely see this “breed” in Turangi because our Tongariro River Trail is only about a 13 km loop around the river and fails to link with other tracks leading north or south – but that will happen eventually…
In Turangi and Taupo we do not see many of these bike-packers as the tracks do not link up with the Waikato River Trail to the north or the Mountain-to-the-Sea trail down the W(h?)anganui River. i.e. In February over 600 bike packers set off from Cape Reinga on an increasing popular ride called “Tour Aotearoa”, down 90 Mile Beach via Hauraki Rail Trail, Waikato River Trail, but then miss out Taupo trails which do not link up anywhere with the other trails from north and south.
So Taupo and Turangi misses out as the bike packers head south on the increasingly popular and spectacular 84 km Timber Trail where a new lodge has even been built about halfway to cater for bike packers.
A much longer trail is in the planning stages but has struggled for the last 8 years to get started. The locals even paid for a feasibility study of the Taupo to Turangi (“T2T”) stage but it still failed to kick start the development. Meanwhile negotiations have continued with iwi along the lake edge to make sure they will support it.
When it eventually happens (it is when, not if) it will be the most popular bike trail in NZ. True – even bigger than the Otago Rail Trail. Watch this space.
Ben has been averaging about 100 km per day throughout the North Island. He has been covering all the tourist trails in NZ on $45 per day by bike-packing. He usually camps or stays in motorcamps or hostels – these bike-packers have their own network of places to stay etc.
What a great way to see NZ on a budget. He was heading to Motuoapa for Friday night then was planning to be in Rotorua to bike the Redwoods Tracks by Sunday. So look out for Ben and give him a thumbs-up.
On the easy-peasy Tongariro River Trail the next generation of mountain bikers are shown above. The TRT is ideal for groups of kids having easy undulating contours and plenty of variety along the river bank.
It is wonderful to see these gangs of kids (all wearing helmets!) enjoying them selves in the great wild untamed remote back country – instead of sitting around glued to a hand held device thingy.
Then there are all the other splendid outdoor recreational activities on and around the Tongariro River such as rafting and fishing…
Great to see so many making the most of the late summer weather in Turangi. Two anglers can be seen in the Stag Pool beyond on the TRB (True Right Bank looking down river). They enjoyed good success.
This trio from France were like Freedom Campers touring NZ fishing spots. They were parked in Kutai Street enjoying lunch next to the Hydro Pool anglers access track. I guessed they would not be Kiwi fishos as their set up with a luncheon table etc. was far too civilised.
I decided to try a new spot on Friday afternoon. I arrived to watch the angler on the far TRB side land a whopper big brown trout, so that was the perfect encouragement boost to get into it. As soon as I rigged up and cast a couple of times the first raft went drifting by. So then I gave the pool a rest but as soon as I cast again the next raft arrived. Calling them rafts might be too technical – more like shared tractor tubes. Then another angler moved in above me and another below me so close our drifting woolly indicators were almost kissing each other…
Looking further up river I could see more rafts in the distance waiting for me to cast so I got the message. It must be Easter.