Route Unknown

NORTH ISLAND NEW ZEALAND – PART I

Photos by Beardy & Esjay

Ramblin’ man … men


Our adventure ramblin’ around Te Ika-a-Maui was not meticulously planned (one could argue our trips never really are, but this one was totally spontaneous and with route unknown). All we knew for sure was that we had just completed a 170km road race, and were flying out of Auckland 6 days down the line. Routes & accommodation would be a daily consideration, and we were willing to ride big days. Perhaps most importantly, with 30mm rubber on our bikes, we were willing to tackle almost any road New Zealand could throw at us.

Just the two of us


After having their fill of gravel (and flats – only being on 23 or 25mm tires), we said farewell to our friends. Unfortunately, for the recently departed, the next few sections of Waikaremoana Road turned out to be among the most picturesque; dropping right down alongside the lake, before climbing back up over the natural dam, and dropping us into Tuai.

Tuai ... and refreshments


Having ridden a shorter route than we’d initially planned, we arrived ahead of schedule at the Big Bush Holiday Park. It was too early for food and so, with time to kill, and an appetite to suppress, we set about soaking up the wilderness cabin vibes ... and the Speights Gold Medal Ale.

To Gisborne


While route planning the night before, we had settled on Gisborne as our destination. It was 140km in the general direction we wanted to head (towards the Motu trail), and looked like it had plenty of gravel.

The chill of the morning was amplified by a steep descent to get things started. We then weaved towards the Wairoa River through picture-perfect rolling hillsides.

Others had been less lucky, seemingly crashing and then abandoning their car the night before. We checked for survivors before rolling on.

For the likes


We made a brief stop in Frasertown for a snack and a bit of obligatory #BAAW, this time against the exterior of a rundown, rustic old shop. With all the climbing for the day yet to come, we filled our pockets with sweets and our backpacks with takeaway sandwiches.

Pub grub


After grinding our way up the biggest climb we’d come across all day, we hit a pub. We certainly weren’t expecting it to be there, but we took the chance to pause for lunch and a pub-quality coffee.

“Yep, you’re pretty much done with the hill, she’s all downhill from here to Gisborne” we were told. Being lied to is never easy, but this one really hurt. Every additional metre of climbing added insult to injury, until we actually did, quite some time later, get ‘pretty much done’ with that hill - and the one after that.

In search of Stout


Arriving in Gisborne to our rather odious accommodation, we quickly freshened up and made tracks to the Pub. It turned out to be an Irish Pub, thus precipitating the first tradition, nay, necessity, of this adventure; the daily recovery stout. Not sufficiently satisfied with those enjoyed at the pub, we hit the local Pak’nSave for more, before heading back to do some route planning for day three.
DAYS

2

DISTANCE

204km

ELEV GAIN

2902m

ELEV MAX

929m

More from New Zealand


Choose from any of the three parts in our North Island New Zealand adventure, or the Road Book, for all the maps & information you need to get out and explore the area yourself.
PART II - NORTH ISLAND NZ. 
READ MORE
PART III - NORTH ISLAND NZ. 
READ MORE
MAPS & INFORMATION. 
READ MORE
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Over Yonder is adventure by bicycle - and cyclocross racing on the side. Curated for travellers, explorers & outdoor aficionados. Brought to you by a thirst for the unknown.

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