Often called the North Island Volcanic Plateau, the Central Plateau is famous for its three active volcanoes: Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Ruapehu. There is plenty of riding on offer.
Dramatic landscapes: glaciers, crater lakes, major ski fields, the Whanganui and Waikato Rivers, and World Heritage Tongariro National Park - with active volcanoes Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe.
The Central Plateau, with Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe, is a playground mecca in both winter and summer. I grew up skiing at Whakapapa and Turoa, and with other families often stayed at a private ski club in Raurimu township.
Even before the official opening, in March 2013, the rumour started spreading fast that this was going to be the must-do-track for any self-respecting mountain biker. Behold, even before its first full summer season opens, the vision that the Department of Conservation eluded to in last year’s article, has become reality; dozens of small businesses have mushroomed around the Pureora Forest Park and the Timber Trail is breathing a breath of fresh air in to the surrounding towns.
The Mountains to Sea is an iconic New Zealand Cycle Trail. It starts on the Central Plateau and muscles its way through to the Bridge to Nowhere, then it floats down the Whanganui River before joining the last leg on the Whanganui River Road, from Pipiriki, 76kms to the sea.
We cycled from Raetihi through to the start of the trail, making a long yet enjoyable day. The road through to the track has a great downhill and a couple of small climbs. From the start of the track there is a solid climb up a 4WD track. It feels like it goes on and on, through open rural country and eventually wild native bush, then a ridge line allowing spectacular views across the valley.
The Matemateaonga Track is back on the MTB radar for a three year trial after a review of the Whanganui National Park management plan. It joins the famous Bridge to Nowhere/Mangapurua Track as an approved ride. The track originated as a Maori trail and settlers dray-road that penetrated the dense bush between the Taranaki and the Whanganui Rivers. In 1911 work started on making it into a more substantial road, but this was abandoned with the outbreak of WW1.
By Matthew Bennett
I am a believer in hard work, I have been most of my life. I also spent most of my youth practicing frugal living. The reason is simple really. The combination of the two enabled me to accumulate moderate sums of money that through the continued application of frugal living enabled me to amass a vast number of fantastic adventures and expeditions.
By Sarah Hird
Ever since coming to Whanganui 14 years ago, it’s been my goal to bike the length of the Whanganui River (and then some). The initial intention was to stay at the nuns’ convent overnight. Alas, the place was fully booked throughout January. Providence however prevailed as my husband Grant suggested I treat myself to a night at the Flying Fox…twist my arm!