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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Tour Aotearoa Update – 29 July 2019

Hi folks,

The first 100 riders will be starting in 7 months! That’s not so far away, so I hope you are starting to get a few miles in, taking advantage of beautiful days like today, and any local brevets between now and then.
In this monthly update I’ll remind you of five things:
  • New sections of track
  • Transport to Cape Reinga
  • GPS trackers
  • Entries and entry process
  • The five boat trips
But first, have you done any multi-day cycling trips in New Zealand over the last 8 months? If you haven’t, you need to get out more! If you have, could you please fill out this survey (it helps the NZ Transport Agency identify where to invest in safety upgrades).


Right now the NZ Transport Agency is spending millions on cycling infrastructure, and some of it is on the Tour Aotearoa route. For example, you will be glad to hear there will be shoulder widening on the Pahiatua Track, and Highway 6 between Havelock and Pelorus Bridge, and an-off road path between Invercargill and Bluff. So fill out the survey, and have your say!

New sections of track

There are several new sections of trail being built at the moment, on the Hauraki Rail Trail, Waikato River Trail, Mountains to Sea Trail, Tasman’s Great Taste Trail, West Coast Wilderness Trail, Fox Glacier Track and more! So the TA2020 will have significant changes!

There are also dozens of changes to services along the TA course, with some businesses closing down, and others opening up.

All the changes will be included in the next edition of the Tour Aotearoa Official Guides, which will be out in November 2019. We will also update the GPX files on the website.

Transport from Auckland to Cape Reinga

Real Far North Tours are offering bus trips from Auckland Airport to Cape Reinga next year (pick up also available from Whangarei and Kerikeri). Riders will be given the opportunity to do last minute shopping for food at a supermarket in Kaitaia, and then taken to a camping ground 6 km from Cape Reinga. There will be large tents set up for riders to use at the camping ground, with mattresses for those who need them. The cost will be $200 all up. Bookings essential.

Contact: realfarnorthtours@gmail.com

GPS tracking of the event

Every rider, or group of riders, must have a gps Spot Tracker for the event. Many of you will already own one. These have three great advantages:
  1. In an emergency you can call for help
  2. Your friends and family can follow your progress from anywhere in the world
  3. We can see if you’re following the TA course.
Shane from Maprogress has now set up the registration page for Tour Aotearoa at https://touraotearoa2020.maprogress.com/event/register.

Whether you have a tracker or not, you need to register with Maprogress to be shown on the Tour Aotearoa webpage that Shane has developed. And if you need a spot tracker you can buy/hire one on top of that.

Note: If you own a SPOT NZ (trackme.kiwi), it is not compatable with the TA site at Maprogress, so you’ll need to borrow/hire another one that is compatible.


There are now 900 entrants and the first five start waves are full.  But there are places available on other starts. We need to spread riders out, so that transport and accommodation is not congested in Northland.

7am, 17th Feb: FULL
8am, 18th Feb: FULL
9am, 19th Feb: FULL
10am, 20th Feb: FULL
11am, 21th Feb: FULL
12 noon, 22th Feb: 93 entries
1pm, 23rd Feb: 79 entries

7am, 3 March: FULL
8am,  4 March: 58 entries
9am, 5 March: 23 entries
10am, 6 March: 10 entries
11am, 7 March: 9 entries
12noon, 8 March: 16 entries

Public start list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1e2VTW2D5BcBY-zlNcgmESIR0uqX3-nhgbhYDD6E61m8/

And if you still haven’t entered, here’s the process:

Entry Process

There is no entry fee, but you do have to pay at least $100 to a charity and offset your carbon footprint. Once you’ve emailed touraotearoa@kennett.co.nz the receipts, along with your name and where you’re from, we will confirm your entry (obviously there will be no refunds if you pull out later).

You can choose your own registered charity, but it must be registered – all the bonafide charitable organisations are. Pay $100, or more, to that charity in lieu of an entry fee, and send us a copy of the receipt. Simple!
A good charity to donate to is the Waikato River Trail: https://www.waikatorivertrails.co.nz/page/donate-now/

Carbon offsetting is what needs to be done to pay for your travel pollution now rather than deferring the cost to future generations. I believe most northern hemisphere riders will have their heads around this concept already. Some airlines already offer offsetting as a service, but I'd like you to use Ekos or Enviromark because they are independant.

The carbon offsetting for your travel emissions depends on how far you are travelling to get to the start of the event and back home again. It will be approximately:

Londoners = 8 tonnes = $300
Australians = 2 tonne = $60
New Zealanders = 0.4 tonne = $30

Dr Sean Weaver from Ekos has calculated the average emissions for entrants from different parts of the world and set up a page especially for the Tour Aotearoa, so that you can offset very quickly:

Five Boat Trips

Those who have done a bit of research will realise there are five boat trips on Tour Aotearoa. Here they are, along with some tips:

Hokianga Harbour: This is the easiest boat trip. It runs every hour from 7am to 8pm, only takes 10 minutes, and costs $2! No booking required.

Kaipara Harbour: This boat trip needs to be booked and will be cancelled in bad weather (and if the boat doesn’t run, you need to ride around the harbour, which adds 100 km to your tour!). Here is a message from the boat operator.

“Visit our website www.kaiparacruises.co.nz for a schedule of dates and times for the crossing.
Bookings are essential. Email kaiparacruises@xtra.co.nz to book. We need your name and phone number. We collect the fare, $50pp, for the crossing as you board the boat.
Please allow sufficient time to get to Pouto as we have found in the past riders underestimate how long it takes.
If anyone wishes to stay at the Kaipara Cruising Club in Helensville ($10pp camping or doss down in the club house) let me know in the same email when booking and we will arrange it for you.
Kaipara Cruises
Ph: 09 420 8466
Email: kaiparacruises@xtra.co.nz

Whanganui River jet boat: This is the coolest trip. There are a few companies that run jet boats down the river. One that is already advertising to TA riders is Whanganui River Journeys.

“Hi TA riders. Whanganui River Adventures pick up times at the Maungapurua Landing (Bridge to Nowhere). 8.30am. 1.30pm. 4pm. 6pm.
Our commitment to the TA2020 is we will come and get you even if you’re the only one, as long as its on the specified times. Cost is $90pp (includes bike). Ph 0800 862 743. (Save this number) please call before leaving Taumaranui.
The 8.30am pickup will suit riders coming from Johnsons camp (along Mangapurua Track).
At our base in Pipiriki we will have food available, bike wash, some cabins and camping.
Cheers, Ken”

Cook Strait ferries: there are two ferries and they run several times a day, but the Cook Strait is a wild body of water, and in bad storms the ferry may be delayed. Information about these ferries can easily be found by googling BlueBridge or Interislander. And details are in the Tour Aotearoa Guidebooks.

Lake Whakatipu: There are a few options, with the most flexible being a water taxi which you need to book, and the most historic being the Earnslaw steamship which runs to a timetable. Again, details are easy to google. Stock up well before this trip as there are no shops for the next 103 km of cycling!

Until the next update, I hope your planning is going well.

Pedal on!
Jonathan Kennett

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