Leader: Peter Arnold

Cyclists: Helen Williams, Marlene Hiestand, Maria Jackson, Rob Wylie, Bob Mawdsley, Greer Mawdsley, Bill Clow, Wendy Clow, Matthew Crozier, Mike Harris, Judy Haslett, Ann Anderson, Chris Pyke, Janette Lloyd, Jim Hawkins

Day 1.  7th Nov.   73km.      Paihia to Whangaroa

Author: Maria Jackson

16 keen ACTA members ready for adventure.  Paihia dinner together and the obligatory morning photo!
We were lucky to be able to access a part of the forestry block between Waitangi and Kerikeri that is usually closed due to logging 

Great riding and big vistas.
Stopped at Cathy Cinema Kerikeri for coffee, then down the hill to the historic Stone store.
A few km further to the beautiful Rainbow falls which are well worth a visit.
We lunched at Manginangina – kauri tree walk.  So close to road and not to be missed.

Much later in afternoon, and after repairing Maria’s puncture, we arrived Kaeo and rode on to Whangaroa to great accommodation at Pacific harbour lodge.
Dinner was mightily enjoyed at the fishing club.

Day 2.        72k         Whangaroa to Kaitaia   

Author: Anne Anderson

I stress it was a lovely stay in the motels at Whangaroa Harbour. Beautiful views and I was sad to leave this area. 

We divided into 2 groups and cycled off, navigating the new bridge road works, into rolling country sides, up and down. 

M Tea stop after 20ks was welcome as always, before moving on to the Bush Fairy Dairy. 

We were told we would have a lunch stop at a café, but as we cycled along it seemed unlikely as we were out in the middle of nowhere. Then around a corner and there was this character- filled local gem. A young girl with the most amazing ‘can do’ attitude served us and we spread out to the back veranda which had the feel of someone’s very casual lounge. 

After this inspiring rest, we had a 3k hill through stunning bush then 3k down. Wheeeee!! 

Further on through farming countryside, and country roads, with a couple of short stints on busier roads. 

Kaitaia was a welcome site, and interesting cycling down the length of the main road and joined by a young local riding showing off is one-wheeled biking skills. 

We stayed at the Beachcomber Motel with very interesting sleeping arrangements!  


Day 3     104km    Kaitaia to Ahipara   

Author: Matt Crozier

The 90 Mile Beach ride

The day started in Kaitaia with a served cooked breakfast, for some. The rest were happier with our muesli.   We were shuttled by bus directly to the start of the beach at Ahipara – the direction northwards determined by the slight SW wind.  The bus we ended up with was smaller than planned, so the bikes themselves took up half the seats!  But we all arrived ready for a 9:30 start.

Thanks to Peter’s great planning for the tides, the ride up the beach was very solid and fast for the whole trip.

The similar scenery was interrupted by the odd washed-up carcass.

3 hours later we stopped for lunch at The Bluff

The protrusion into the bay makes for great views of the expanse of the beach. Another hour’s ride to the end of the beach section, and then inland via the Te Paki Stream

The eBikes came into their own, making light work of a very difficult ride for the mussel bikes, which just sank in mostly quicksand.  One advantage of this direction northwards is that the bikes can be given a thorough wash in the stream before continuing on the road.  However, one was already drained of energy when starting the seemingly endless 600m climb up to Cape Reinga!

The bikes were much more comfortable for the long journey back to Ahipara in the cargo bay of a larger coach bus.  The day was already closing, and the planned shared meal that night was clearly not going to happen.  Thankfully the driver pulled strings by phone for a pickup takeaway order en route; and another pickup for celebratory drinks, right on closing time.

This was our longest day. , 6½ hours riding.


Day 4     65km    Ahipara to Rawene

Author: Helen Williams

& a ferry ride. A day filled with ascents & descents through a predominantly rural area. The one dairy we found for supplies was wonderfully reminiscent of NZ 30years ago

The weather was overcast but kind enough to make for enjoyable riding. We ended our ride at Hokianga where we boarded the ferry for a 15min trip across the estuary.

Rawene is an interesting settlement with history & community. The Holiday park was up a steep hill but worth the effort for the view from the cabins.

The cabins were very adequate. We had coffee at the café when we got of the ferry & returned for both dinner & breakfast.

As the café was not able to serve us at dinner with wine it was suggested we walk a few doors up & befriend a very dapper gentlemen. No need for tee total that night.

Day 5     50km    Rawene to Kaikohe

Author: Wendy Clow

After a beautiful sunset the night before, we awoke to fog.  A chilly foggy ride down to the car ferry and cruise over to the other side, that was lost in fog. A short 4 km ride saw us back at Kohukohu, where the historic Launch Ranui was waiting.

This is a popular connection between Rawene and Horeke for cyclists, but not 16 bikes at a time. He managed to squeeze them all on the roof, and we were on our way down the harbour to Mangungu and the beginning of the Twin coast cycle way. A visit up to Mangungu mission house first,  then into two groups and we were off.

Morning tea stop was organised by Bill at roughly the half way point at snows machinery museum. Onwards and upwards through bush, although for some, like our Leader Maria, went for a tumble down a bit of a bank. As a leader, she was disappointed we didn’t play, follow the leader. No injuries. A steep climb followed, known as the devil’s staircase. Matt was the first muscle bike, with the others not far behind

A gentle downhill to Okaihau, where we stopped for a bite , then on to Kaikohe. Dinner that night was organised and cooked by Bob, with many helpers. This was a brilliant trip. Well done Peter. We look forward to your next one.

Day 6     56km    Kaikohe to Kawakawa, Opua, Russell and Paihia

Author: Bob Mawdsley

  • Statistics:
  • Start time                    08:10
  • Distance                      69.39 km
  • Elevation gain             467 m
  • Max elevation             200 m (at the start at Kawakawa)
  • Elapsed time               8 hours
  • Moving time                4 hrs 50 min
  • Average speed                        14.4 km
  • RideWithGPS file:       NL6 Northland Loop Day 6 Kaikohe – Russell.gpx
  • Stages:
  • Pou Herenga Tai – Twin Coast Cycle Trail
    • Kaikohe to Kawakawa
    • Kawakawa to Taumarere on Bay of Islands Vintage Railway
    • Taumarere to Opua
  • Vehicle Ferry Opua to Okiato
  • Okiatio to Russell
  • Passenger Ferry from Russell to Paihia
  • Paihia to BOI Holiday Park on Puketona Road

The first ride of the day from Kaikohe to Kawakawa started early and we maintained a steady pace to ensure we arrived in Kawakawa in time to catch the train from Kawakawa to Taumarere. This section of Pou Herenga Tai largely follows the decommissioned railway line and includes several old rail bridges.

We had morning tea at the Kawakawa railway station, then loaded the bikes onto an open topped wagon on the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway. Home – Bay Of Islands Vintage Railway

After a 30-minute trip on the railway it was back on our bikes for the remainder of the Pou Herenga Tai to Opua. This included a couple of quite challenging climbs and downhills.

At Opua we caught the vehicle ferry across to Okiato, chatting on the way and comparing bikes with members of the Auckland Ducati Motorcycle Club. Then back on our bikes for the final leg around to Russell.

Most of us stopped for a refreshing beer or wine at the Duke of Marlborough in Russell, before catching the passenger ferry across to Paihia. From there it was about a 10 km ride back to the Bay of Islands Holiday Park at Puketona to reunite with cars for the trip back to Auckland.

Northland Loop Tour – 7th to 12th November 2023

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