JOIN our mailing list, never miss the latest release
Pub Trivia Knowledge
The North Island of New Zealand is the world’s 14th largest island, although smaller than its perhaps more famous southern (or certainly more photogenic) cousin. Not to be outdone, Te Ika-a-Maui (apparently named after the giant, hacked-up fish that created the island) is where the action is, including the two biggest cities, 75% of the population and more than enough gravel to take our interest.
This adventure was to be an unplanned, 6 day bikepacking exploration around the North Island. The end of each day involved checking maps for where we’d like to head next – knowing only that we needed to fly out from Auckland at a specific date and time.
We started in Lake Taupo, after racing the Lake Taupo Cycling Challenge - just for good measure. The lake is actually a caldera, created by a supervolcanic eruption approximately 26,500 years ago. According to geological records, the volcano has erupted 28 times in the last 27,000 years – but luckily not while we were in the vicinity.
Speaking of lakes, Lake Waikaremoana is the deepest on the North Island, but is not volcanic, instead having been formed by a 250m high landslide dam around 2200 years ago. We made our way around the lake via the gravel of Waikaremoana Road, headed for Tuai.
From there we headed into the volcanic heart of the North Island, sleeping one night in Rotorua (affectionately nicknamed ‘Sulphur City’ on account of the distinctive hydrogen sulphide smell). Here almost every roadside motel has its own natural bubbling thermal baths, sourced directly from the Rotorua caldera on which the town lies.
The Hauraki Rail Trail dropped us off for a snack in Paeroa, the home New Zealand's most famous soft drink, L&P. From there, after 6 days of unplanned, light-packed, road & gravel touring we were heading back home out of Auckland.