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Friday, January 31, 2020

New Zealand Bike Ride #2: Lakeside Trail; Mountain Trails to Huka Falls, Taupo, North Island

We had visions of doing one of the 22 Great Rides which is in Taupo, but upon investigating our options, we opted for other equally great trails, but they were not part of the Great Ride.  Doing the Great Ride in Taupo requires more advanced planning since there are not bike rental shops at the trail head, but there are tour companies that will do delivery and pickup.  There are plenty of bike rental shops in Taupo so we walked in one and reserved ours the day before our ride.

Lakeside Trail
We spent our morning doing an easy and leisurely ride along the lakeside trail.  With Lake Taupo being the size of Singapore, this 16 mile roundtrip trail only covers a small portion of the gigantic lake.  This trail includes paved, gravel, and off-trail detours as you weave among the walkers, but it was more maneuverable than many bike trails we ride on in the U.S.

After lunch in Taupo, we were game to try an intermediate trail.  We wanted to go see one of Taupo’s key attractions, the Huka Falls, and biking seemed like the perfect way to get there.  The trail follows the Waikato River, which is the longest river in New Zealand, running 425 kilometers through the North Island.  We came to our first view of New Zealand bungy jumpy off a platform built out from the tall cliff.

Start of Waikato River Trail
Continuing on, we came to a bike park where Mike tested out his not so extreme skills.  This was just the warm up for what was to come.  The trail got steeper, sometimes narrow and with obstacles.  It provided for a more adrenaline-filled ride compared to the scenic riding we had done thus far.  There were a few times when I had to get off my bike, but we felt like we had accomplished a feat upon arriving at the falls, especially compared to all the people disembarking their buses.
The Bike Park

Testing my skills and great views!

Huka Falls
Home of Ironman Events!
We decided to take the alternative, easier trail along the other side of the river back.  Some of the trails are under construction and we may have missed a trail head because we found ourselves on a paved road back part of the way.  Back at the bike shop in Taupo, we clocked 10 miles, making it a total of 26 miles for the day.  We were ready for happy hour back on our beautiful AirBnB deck overlooking the lake!
Our morning lakeside ride

Our afternoon ride to Huka Falls

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