As the trusty Hilux Bounced along a pot hole ridden Kapoors road, I finally felt a sense of relief. After delaying this trip twice due record rainfalls, my friend Patrick and I were about to mountain bike the 42 Traverse.
Located in the heart of the Tongariro Forest Park the 42 Traverse was originally used as a logging route until the late 1970s. During the 1980s proposals to convert the Tongariro Forest to farmland were thwarted by local community groups wanting the area preserved for conservation and recreation. Thankfully in1987 the Forest was transferred to the Department Of Conservation.
Nowadays the forest is utilised by trampers, mountain bikers, hunters and 4wd enthusiasts. Although a 4wd drive route, this grade 3-4 ride is not suitable for beginners. In fact your suburban soccer mum SUV wouldn’t stand a chance of making it through here! It is advisable to carry at minimum spare tubes, repair kit, chain breaker, first aid kit, all weather clothing, plenty of water and food.
Only minutes after setting off from Pumice Pit car park we ground to a halt. Magnificent views over the Central Platea and iconic Mt Ngarahoue called for a mandatory photo stop. Our eyes returned to the track as we entered the first descent. The recent rainfalls had washed out sections of the track revealing drops of several hundred feet! After an adrenaline fuelled downhill came an epic 3km climb. The forest canopy helped keep us cool and the chorus of native birds disguised our heavy breathing. As the rainforest encroached on the trail it narrowed to resemble more of a single track. This combined with rougher conditions made for an entertaining second descent to Waipungapunga stream (more like a river) crossing. Originally from South Africa, Patrick got a shock when he felt the temperature of the stream. I decided to ride through but instantly regretted the decision as I felt the icy water seeping through my bike shoes!
We were now in the heart of the forest and this coincided with dense foliage and seriously muddy conditions. The mud filled pot holes were risky business as their depth was a mystery. Most were fine but the odd knee deep one did catch us out! Patrick was doing ok on his flat pedals but my cleats were struggling to cope with the excessive mud.
Shortly after Mako stream we stopped to dry out and grab a bite to eat. This gave us a chance to take in the surrounding forest that is home to a variety of threatened wildlife species including the North Island brown kiwi.
From here on the Trail was easy-going and relatively mud free! A fern fringed waterfall before Dominion Road car park was a welcome surprise and a worthy photo opportunity. The 4km descent to the Whakapapa River Bridge was on a wider car friendly road. This signalled the final 2 km of the 42 Traverse. With the sun now below the horizon and the temperature dropping the quaint township of Owhango was a welcome site.
I can honestly say this beautiful, historic and challenging 45km ride was worth the wait. The trail and Tongariro Forest stands as a testament to the individuals who had the foresight to protect this precious resource. I only wish places like this were the norm and not an anomaly.
I am giving away 5 free landscape wallpapers that will fit up to iPhone 6 size! The wallpapers are various landscape locations in New Zealand including the infamous Wanaka Tree and the surreal turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki. Simply click the link below to download a zip file. Enjoy and feel free to share!
A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to mountain bike the Heaphy Track with the entertaining company of Matt Proctor and Dave Everton. If there was ever a mountain bike (or hike for that matter) that should be on your bucket list, this is it. Whatever your mtb passion be it downhill, cross country, or simply cruising through ancient rainforest, you wont be disappointed. The scenery is breathtaking including, limestone caves, pristine waterfalls, Nikau palm trees, pounding surf and more. I wont go in to too much detail as I am currently working on an article to be published later this year. Until then enjoy some of these images…
The Wanaka A&P Show attracted over 35000 visitors this year! No surprise that it is one of the largest in the country, running over two massive days. There really is something for the whole family from entertainers and theme park rides to dog trials and trade displays. A highlight for me was capturing the younger generation having a blast…kind of reminding me of myself about 15 years ago!!
Stoked to see issue 100 of New Zealand Triathlon & Multisport on the shelves! This special collectors issue was a privilege to design and work on. Featuring the top 100 moments in NZ Triathlon, a unique cover design and perfect bound high gloss finish, this issue is a must buy for anyone interested in Triathlon and Multisport. Pick up your copy at all good book stores or online at www.endurancesport.co.nz
It is always a privilege to be asked to photograph a wedding for someone. It is even more so when it is someone you have known for years and you are given the opportunity to capture the emotions and romance of their special day. This was the case for Kirsten and Nick’s wedding which I photographed for Aspiring Photography. It turned out to be a stunning spring day and the setting of Edgewater on the shores of Lake Wanaka was the perfect location. Thanks again Kirsten and Nick I hope you both had a wonderful day!
Last week I was asked to do a portrait photography and trash the dress shoot. Wanaka had turned on a stunning afternoon and the low lake levels provided some great reflections. A big thanks to Amy, Mike and the children you were great to work with and i am stoked you love the images!