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.
On the way to the hills, getting excited, our destination far in the distance.
The start of the track. We rode for about five minutes before it got too steep and the pushing began.
Once in the thick of the forest it was a mix of pushing and carrying.
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.
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.
The reward of getting out of the tree line, the views were superb.
Some more singletrack to get excited about to keep the moral high.
Not long after we got above the tree line the mist came in. Tony checking how far we have got left to go.
Tom getting very excited about the ride down.
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.
It still provided some good entertainment though.
Tom shredding the fresh pow.
We made it! Luckily the clouds briefly parted ways while we had a break in Kime hut, rewarding us with some fantastic views
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.
The ride back down was some of the best riding I have ever experienced.
Tony enjoying the well earned descent.
Sometimes it was hard to keep all eyes on the track when the view was this good.
With about 10 more minutes riding back to the hut, we admire the last of the stunning track.
We got our timing just right with the sun just about to set as we reached the hut.
Field hut, our home for the night.
A beer or three and some dehydrated spaghetti, topped off with an awesome sunset and Kapiti island off in the distance.
After a solid 8 hour day of pushing, carrying and a smattering of riding, we were all fast asleep not long after dark.
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.
Having drunk all the beer and eating most of the food the bags were substantially lighter.
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 managing to ace the log ride.
Back over the bridge and to the carpark, what an adventure.