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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

December 2017 update

Hi folks,

Well, the revised Tour Aotearoa route is out!

You can take a look on the website for the google map and gpx files: http://www.touraotearoa.nz/p/map_22.html

You can buy the guide books for $20 from here: http://www.kennett.co.nz/shop/

But if you are overseas, then the postage is cheaper to get them from here: https://www.groundeffect.co.nz/collections/books

You’ll have noticed by now that there is a new alternate route that goes around the Kaipara Harbour. It is optional! You don’t have to take it, and most of us won’t because it’s way longer, and really hilly. Going via Poutu Point and taking the boat across Kaipara Harbour is the best option. However, the boat won’t cross Kaipara Harbour during a storm, and you might not feel like waiting – in that case you can take the alternate route around the harbour. The decision is yours.   

The TA route is looking great right now because of all the dry weather we’ve been having lately. But that could change at any time, so BE PREPARED.

Also, the Maungatapu Track was recently closed due to high fire risk. It will open again after rain. But if it doesn’t rain and the track stays closed, then you will have to ride over the Whangamoas on State Highway 6. It’s not so bad early or late in the day, but during weekday work hours the highway has a lot of trucks on it. Don’t worry just yet – the track will almost certainly be open again by mid-February.

Trail Upgrades
The Waiuta Track upgrade is more or less complete, and has made a big difference the rideability. Thanks to everyone who donated to that cause.

Now we need to turn our attention to the Kaiwhakauka Track, which is a mess after rain. So I would ask that anyone entering the Tour in future consider donating to BikeTaupo - it’s a charitable organisation that does trail building and has agreed to us donations we raise to do a final check on the Kaiwhakauka Track (and the Arataki Track) before we ride through. So support them if you can (put TA on the bank details when you make a deposit).

Name: Bike Taupo Advocacy Group Inc
Account Number: 02-0428-0107984-000

Trail Clothes from Green Monkey Velo
Another way of supporting the trail grades is to type “BIKETAUPO” into the discount code if you are buying Tour Aotearoa clothing from Green Monkey Velo. They will then donate 10% of the price to BikeTaupo for TA trail work.

New at Pipiriki Village
Whanganui River Adventures at Pipiriki are opening a Takeaways during the TA ride. River burgers & Chips & pies. That’s about the only food you can get for a looong way.

They also have 2 cabins with linen now. One dbl and the other cabin has 2 sgls. Both at $70.00 per nite. They still have a 6 bunk room at $25pp (byo sleeping bgs). And the Cottage at $125 + $30 per xtra person(Sleeps 5 – 6 in 1 dbl & 4 sgls).
Their contact details are in the guide books, or google them.

Tips for Overseas Riders
1. If you are flying into Auckland you can get the Tour Aotearoa Guides, and any last minute gear, from Mount Eden Cycles (https://mec.co.nz/ ). They are into bikepacking and know the TA ride well.
2. You can’t just free camp wherever you want in New Zealand, but there are lots of official campgrounds and camping sites to choose from, and most of them are very reasonably priced.
3. In NZ we mostly drink the tap water. But water from streams should be treated (filtered, boiled or chemically treated).
4. New Zealand is very hilly, so travel as light as possible.
5. Expect storms any time of year. You may experience extreme winds, flooding, and possibly even snow in Southland. In northland it will probably be really hot! But mostly the weather will be calm and mild.
6. If you see a bird during the day that looks like a Kiwi with a short beak, it’s actually a Weka – it will try to steal anything smaller than its own body size.

Wild Gridlock in Hokitika
The Wild Food Festival will be held in Hokitika on the West Coast on the 10th March. The whole town will be booked out and grid locked on the 9-11th March.

For some riders, the traffic levels on the West Coast will be too high over the summer holidays. You can avoid a lot of the traffic by riding the highway sections early in the morning, or late in the day, and riding the off-road West Coast Wilderness Trail during the middle of the day. Also consider wearing bright colours, or using a flashing rear light. By March the traffic volumes are a lot lower – expect for during the Wild Food Festival.

Transport from Auckland to Cape Reinga
Remember to contact Taunaha at Blahblah Marketing if you need transport from Auckland to Cape Reinga. They may have a seat available for you.
Taunaha Smith
Blah Blah Marketing & Events

If you have no luck there, then follow up on the options in the TA Guide books, or ask for advice on the TA Facebook page.

And one last point that Paul has asked me to remind you of – this is a self-supported ride. I’m sure you all realise that by now. If not, I hope you’re sitting down, because that must have come as a helluva shock!

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett

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