We finally got (slightly) further south! We’ve now reached Taupo, where we tackled yet another NZ Great Ride. Of course we also managed to squeeze in a casual bike ride, some running and two days of hard climbing/hiking. Let’s just call this one: a typical week in the life of Thomas & Myrthe.
When we arrived at the car park of the Timber Trails, a 85-km mountain bike ride in Pureora Forest, it was freezing cold and raining on and off. So we sat in the van until mid-afternoon, drinking coffee, doing crossword puzzles, and lounging about. When it was 2pm and we had seen multiple people setting off in the rain, we thought it might be about time for us to also get active, so we got on our bikes. Since this ride is not a loop, we decided to just do an out and back. We got lucky as it didn’t rain again, but it was very, very cold! We loved Timber Trails though, it’s a really nice track and an awesome forest to ride in. So before we knew it, we’d done 20km and it was time to turn around. Lucky we brought the repair kit as Thomas got a flat tyre with another 8km to go.
There’s a DOC campsite at the start of the trail which is really nice, and which is one of the few places where you’re allowed to make a fire, so we decided to stay for the night. We invited another camper to join us at our fire and got some chocolate in exchange for beer, as well as some nice conversation with someone else for a change ;). Too bad that even with a fire it was still freezing so it didn’t take long before we retreated to the van.
I’m trying to follow a running schedule which is supposed to bring me back to being able to run 15km by doing a certain distance three times a week. But it’s been pretty hard sticking to the schedule, when nearly every day is filled with either climbing, cycling or hiking..
This morning however, I was looking forward to hitting the Timber Trails again, doing my scheduled morning run. The required 8km run was a breeze with such a nice trail to run on and the run was over before I knew it.
Back at the van I joined Thom, who had been doing some climbing-related exercises. He’s getting pretty inventive when it comes to exercises, using either our water bottles, the thermos, shopping bags filled with vegetables or stones, as you can see in the photo 🙂 Afterwards we enjoyed a nice, cold, outdoor shower to “freshen up”.
In the afternoon we finally packed up and headed out to Taupo, where we did some shopping and working before we drove over to Five Mile Bay, one of the main free camping spots near Taupo. There must have been at least 50 campers parked up already, and even though we managed to find a sweet spot, it didn’t take long before even more campers squeezed in beside us. The fact that our neighbours were not quite ready to shut up by the time we were ready to sleep as well as the highway running close enough to make a hell of a noise didn’t make for a good night sleep. Luckily these nights are the minority and most nights we enjoy a lot of serenity before falling asleep with a smile on our face :).
On the upside, being close to Taupo meant we were able to cycle back into town the next day to work. Thomas ran into someone he knows from The Netherlands in the Taupo library. Frenske is travelling through NZ with his girlfriend so we went and had a coffee and a nice Dutch chat, followed by more gezelligheid when they came to camp at Five Mile Bay as well and joined us in the van for tea and snacks.
The next two days were supposed to be the last sunny days before a long period of rain, so both Thomas and I picked our favourite pastime, which means Thomas went climbing at Kawakawa Bay with one of our Auckland climbing buddies, and I went on a two-day hike. Thomas dropped me off on the east side of Pureora Forest, which I then crossed by climbing up and over Mt Titiraupenga and Mt Pureora before popping out at the start of Timber Trails again.
Once out of the bush, I hitchhiked to Kinloch and hung out on the beach till Thomas and Stu returned from their climbing trip. After being reunited, we drove over to Whakaipo Bay, which is not far from Kinloch on the lake front. This turned out to be a much, much lovelier camp spot than Five Mile Bay, and we had a brilliant night watching the sun set over Lake Taupo, drinking beers (which we hardly do these days so a real treat) and looking back at a pretty sweet week, and making the most of some great weather.