Day One: Richmond Heights, Taupo to Whakaipo Bay, Western shores of Lake Taupo.
Ominously, with my bike packed to overloading (not again!) and my son, on his single speed BMX bike, we head out on our lake circumnavigation adventure via the cycle trails. Our first leg (20 odd kms) would only take us just beyond Taupo’s boundaries to Whakaipo Bay, where the W2k cycle trail begins.
Photo1: Giant Ceramic Chair in Acacia Bay as we leave town.
Day Two: Whakaipo Bay to Kawakawa Bay
Day two was the first real day of our adventure. I was unsure how my overloaded touring bike was going to cope on the MTB trails, but I needn’t of worried. The trails are smooth and well formed, abet the odd slippery patch to keep me honest. The bush is lovely, the vistas stunning. Marco nibbly rode the trails. We both had to push up the steep sections because of Marcos single gear, and my bulky frame, but when it came to the downhills Marco quickly disappeared while I coaxed the mule gingerly downwards hoping my brakes wouldn’t fail me.
At the end of the W2k trail we enjoyed killing time in Kinloch, wandering around the marina and eating Triple B burgers from the Kinloch diary, before beginning the Kawakawa to Chinamans trail where we would camp halfway at Kawakawa Bay.
Photos 5 & 6: happy campers cooking tea on the beach at Kawakawa Bay
Day Three: Kawakawa Bay to Waihaha Walking Track
Day three would see us take the newly built Chinamans MTB trail to the western bay access road where we would leave the bush and begin the tarmac section of our travels.
Photo7: one of the many bridges on Chinaman’s. The trail after Kawakawa was rambling and easy with a wide trail, with bike friendly bridges making it easy to stop to take in the view without having to dismount.
Photo9: We finally hit the road. Marco was getting a sore bum on his plastic BMX seat so I fashioned him a padded seat with the help of the blue pot bag, a tea towel, and bandage tape from the first aid kit. MacGyver mum!
Photo10&11: After a brief stop at the Tihio Pub for dinner we make it to the Waihaha walking trail. We make camp 200m up the trail well away from the road. In the morning as I go to relieve myself I’m startled by the sudden approach of two armed hunters and their dogs – they were probably as startled as much by my appearance as I was of theirs!
Day Four: Waihaha to Turangi
This was the hardest days ride, with lots of up hills. However Marco coped easily, riding all the hills on his single speed with me grinding my way up behind him, and of course descending the terrifying downhill at Kuratau where I had visions of Marco careening across the road into traffic or over the edge. Luckily it was Easter Weekend there weren’t too many large trucks (apart from the odd milk tanker) or cars to terrify us.
Photos12&13: lunch and view on the top of Kuratau hill
Day Five: Turangi to Taupo
We had a pleasant and relaxing night at a Turangi camping ground. However our next, and final, day riding was the scariest – if only for me. With the end of the long weekend and us riding on State Highway One – the traffic was insane. I was one nervous mommy! If there wasn’t a nice wide section for us to ride on to the left of the white line, we walked. So we walked quite a lot – all around Bully Point and up Hatepe Hill. If there was a bridge crossing we’d wait for a break in the traffic then hightail it across. Riding this road with a kid travelling 10kph on a BMX is not to be recommended! Once we reached Waitahanui we hit the dirt again as there is a walking trail from there all the way to two mile bay in Taupo – even if it is a bit sandy at the Waitahanui end in places.