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Bikepacking the Tararuas

Bikepacking the Tararuas

For the past two years or so I have dreamed of riding in the Tararuas, so after finally finding two other nutters keen to give it a go, we locked in some midweek time off and headed for the hills. To my knowledge the track isn't a riding track, but as far as I could see it didn't say "no bikes!". Still, we decided to go midweek to avoid potential walker conflict, and I'm happy to report the walkers we did see were stoked to see us trying to ride it. As it is still a bit of a question mark, I won't name the trail.

This trip was definitely not for the faint hearted. It was a gruelling 7 hour push, climb, and carry. The weather in the Tararuas can also change rapidly so preparation for all conditions is needed. If you are wanting to tackle this ride I would recommend walking it first, planning, and making sure you have all the right gear. 

Here are some photos and a few words on the adventure.  

Heading to the Tararuas

On the way to the hills, getting excited, our destination far in the distance. 

 

Bottom of the climb

The start of the track. We rode for about five minutes before it got too steep and the pushing began.

 

Carrying

Once in the thick of the forest it was a mix of pushing and carrying. 

 

Pushing

While the going was tough, our spirits were still high at this stage. Chutes like the one above excited us for the reward on the way back down. 

 

Made it to Field Hut

After about two and a half hours of pushing and carrying we made it to Field hut. Here we dropped our sleeping gear, had a big lunch, and decided on a turn around time to ensure we were back at the hut before dark. 

 

Out of the tree line

The reward of getting out of the tree line, the views were superb. 

 

Nice singletrack

Some more singletrack to get excited about to keep the moral high. 

 

400m to go

 Not long after we got above the tree line the mist came in. Tony checking how far we have got left to go.

 

Getting excited

Tom getting very excited about the ride down. 

 

Pushing through the snow

On the weekend before the trip there was a big southerly storm that brought lots of snow to the range. Luckily for us most of it had melted away. 

 

Pretty deep snow

It still provided some good entertainment though.

 

Riding the snow

Tom shredding the fresh pow.

 

The view from Kime Hut

We made it! Luckily the clouds briefly parted ways while we had a break in Kime hut, rewarding us with some fantastic views 

 

Looking back towards Kapiti

 

Transition Scout Bikepacking Setup

My bike of choice. A 2018 Transition Scout. Equipped with a frame bag, Happy Sack, and a Heaphy Harness (which was dropped at the Hut on the way up). I also had my custom backpack for extras. 

 

Heading down

The ride back down was some of the best riding I have ever experienced.

 

Riding down

Tony enjoying the well earned descent. 

 

Moody evening light

Sometimes it was hard to keep all eyes on the track when the view was this good. 

 

Perfect riding

With about 10 more minutes riding back to the hut, we admire the last of the stunning track. 

 

Sun setting

We got our timing just right with the sun just about to set as we reached the hut.

 

Back at the hut for the night

Field hut, our home for the night.

 

Sunset after a hard day

A beer or three and some dehydrated spaghetti, topped off with an awesome sunset and Kapiti island off in the distance. 

 

Hut inside

After a solid 8 hour day of pushing, carrying and a smattering of riding, we were all fast asleep not long after dark.

 

A coffee to start the day
The next day started with a couple of coffees and some gourmet porridge (a cold pizza bread if you're Tony). Then we were ready to get going. 

 

Ready for the rooty descent
Having drunk all the beer and eating most of the food the bags were substantially lighter.

 

Rooty jungle

From the hut it was about 2 hours back to the carpark. The wet roots and rocks made the riding challenging and we were definitely feeling the day before. 

 

Tony on the log ride

Tony managing to ace the log ride.

 

Back across the bridge

Back over the bridge and to the carpark, what an adventure.