Organisers: John McLean & Wolfgang Pohl
Cyclists: 40 +/- which is probably the biggest trip that ACTA has ever run.
Day 1 – Sun Afternoon Arrival
We all made our own way to Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park on Sunday the 17th. There was a variety of accommodation options from fully furnished cabins to simple basic cabins to powered sites for vans, and non-powered camp sites. Matt who had spent the week in his tent realised that he was super warm in the tent because heat was coming up through the earth at his spot.
A number of us during our stay took advantage of the thermal pools, three small pools to sit in, and a larger tepid pool for swimming.
Due to the large number of riders, we were split into 4 teams with 2 leaders in each team (at our first meeting 5pm Sun)
Day 2 Mon
After our rides we so appreciated Wolfgang’s three course meals and also those who helped with preparing and serving.
On Monday evening Steve and Annette shared about their tour of the Antarctic.
Day 3 Tues
Yet another much appreciated three course meal. Thanks Wolfgang et al
Tuesday evening Roz shared about her trip to three countries in Africa
Day 4 Wed
Some of us went out to eat and discuss. Others of us stayed and enjoyed Wolfgang’s left-overs.
Day 5 Thurs
Some left early to meet obligations. Those remaining car-pooled into Eat Street to choose cuisines to suit.
Day 6 Fri
Some left early. Others stayed to group into further rides.
This tour covered a little of the same ground as tour 1. So we set off from camp down to the mountain bike park, but instead of heading South we took the road toward Te Kuiti. We rode through beautiful green countryside, the bluff ahead looming larger by the minute, then arriving at Horohoro with Kiaroa marae, church and school nestled in the valley below. Further on, “Lake” Ohakure, (part of a series of dams) would have made a pleasant morning bring your own thermos coffee stop. After a substantial hill climb, we were later rewarded by a long swooping down hill which almost brought us to our lunch stop back at the day before’s hot springs. Most of our groups were welcomed by the proprietors, but unfortunately one group, who had spent more than just a few dollars the day before, were turned away. After lunch we were back on familiar territory until we passed the Tumunui turnoff, and then we were able to enjoy more farmland until we rejoined SH30 to retrace our path back to camp.
The weather was lovely, which contributed to our enjoyment.
This tour took us along a cycle path to the Northwest, which then petered out into some road on the outskirt of town (with large red rhododendrons in full bloom) that led us to Paradise Valley Road. Paradise valley is so aptly named, with its crystal-clear stream from the springs running under the bridge, and for us cyclists a gentle climb, and very little traffic. A small road that looked like a private drive led us to the Agridome, but it was only a short distance further to a lovely coffee shop in Ngongotaha. From there we could see that we had almost circled Mt Ngongotaha, that circle to be completed in the afternoon, but after coffee we had another circuit to complete. Crossing SH5 wasn’t too difficult, but then we faced the climb up to Mamaku. We should have had Bill to explain where the old railway came from and went to, and did it connect to the old line between Ngongotaha and Rotorua? Never mind that. Our group stopped at the blueberry café and were given a wonderful explanation about their blueberry production and history as we ate blueberry icecream and sampled blueberry juice. And from there it was mainly downhill. Gaye claimed to have cruised 8km without peddling (and would have been more if she hadn’t stopped for the intersection) on the way back down to the lake. Lunch was by the lakeside, the water so tranquil, looking across at Mokoia Island, and imagining Hinemoa swimming the calm waters to Tutanikai. John had reminded us all from the first evening that t1hat week was Maori language week.
The rail trail by the lake was an easy return to Rotorua. We stopped at the historic church at the lakefront before pedalling on to the foreshore recreation park, then on to the sulphur geysers before heading under Te Ngae Rd to follow the cycle path back to camp. Other groups went to the botanic gardens, and some returned to the sulphur spot on Friday morning.
The Whakarewarewa Forest Loop must have been the highlight for those of us who enjoy mountain biking. The loop is just 33km mainly level 2. Some of our group sped off challenging their skills. After morning coffee together at Blue Lake Top 10, they sped off once again, later diverting from the trail to try more Level 3 trails.
The remainder of our group took time winding up the valley on a steady grade, taking in the trees around us. Near the track summit we could look back and see Rotorua city below, and swinging further around view Makoia Island rising out of the mist. Further along the trail Blue Lake was looking incredibly blue as usual; Green Lake was also reflecting the blue sky, but looking green in shaded and distant areas. While still in the forest we could hear vehicles below, and we knew it was time to descend to the safe concrete path running beside SH5, which was becoming a bit of an old friend third time along.
Our group all met up again at the mountain bike café. Toasted sandwiches went down a treat for lunch. Some choose to return to camp for an early afternoon, while others were keen to take in the forest nursery or the Redwoods.