20th Feb 2017 Ahipara -> Waipoua Forest (70 miles)
Really late leaving camp today. 1045 to be precise! Conrad & Wayne left a good 1.5 hours before me. It’s only 70 miles I thought to myself as I rolled out of camp for day 2. What I hadn’t realised though, is that although it was only 70 miles, it was a very hilly 70 miles; 7500ft of elevation gain to be precise. Elevation gain is everything when bikepacking and the difference in how long it takes to ride 70 flat miles and 70 hilly miles is huge. The elevation profile below sums the day’s riding up.
Given how late I was leaving camp it soon became apparent that if I was going to make the required 70 miles and get to the Waipoua camp ground I would be riding till after dark. On a fully loaded bike and with such a hilly profile 10 miles/hour is a good average speed. Add to this an hour or 2 of breaks / stops and you have a total days riding time of 9 to 10 hours. Not only was it a very hilly day it was also another hot one and climbing was tough.
After ~ 22 miles I arrived at Broadwood which had a small general store. I decided it was time to stop for a bit of lunch before pushing on to Kohukohu Landing where I would catch the ferry across Hokianga Harbour to Rawene.
View down to Hokianga Harbour from the trail and the ferry that cost $2 and takes you on the 10 minute journey.
It was late afternoon before I arrived at the small coastal town of Omapere.
Conscious that I still had the biggest climb of the day ahead of me I had no choice but to keep pushing on. It was 6pm when I stopped at a local bar in Waimamaku for a beer and food. When I told the Maori lady who ran the bar of my intention of continuing onto Waipoua Forest she looked a little dismayed and proceeded to tell me how big the climb was and that I would be better pitching my tent behind the bar. Whilst it would have been great to pitch the tent and sink a few beers it would just make the next day even longer if I was to reach Pouto Point for the scheduled 1030 hrs ferry. So after telling her how I grateful I was of the offer I decided to push on. It was much cooler riding by 1900hrs and although the hill was long the cooler temperature really does make the riding easier.
It was just about getting dark when I arrived at Waipoua Forest and the photo control point of Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest and one of the oldest and largest trees in New Zealand. The tree is estimated to be between 1500 and 2500 years old! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T%C4%81ne_Mahuta
The photo below does not do it justice when I say it was huge.
Daylight was really beginning to fade now and I was glad that it was only a 900ft descent from the forest to the camp. The descent was twisty, fast and great fun! I rolled into Waipoua Forest camp at 2100hrs and both Wayne & Conrad were surprised to see me and had a laugh as they saw my headlight roll down the gravel trail. Note to self. Get up and leave camp earlier so as to avoid cycling at night.