Day 1 | Cape Reinga to Te Kao


Date: 8 Dec 2023
Grade: 2

Firstly, getting the bikes to Kaitaia did not go quite according to the plan.

  • The batteries and tools were sent to our motel by Pack and Send and arrived exactly as intended
  • Barrier Air’s large plane was not available so instead of both bikes standing at the back of the plane, it had to be both wheels removed and loaded in with the baggage, leaving the chains and derailleurs exposed.
  • They couldn’t take both bikes so one had to go on the late flight.
  • That meant that instead of arriving at the airport and biking to the motel, we had to take a taxi, then get a ride back with the motelier’s daughter
  • Then found the chain on my bike was hopelessly tangled, and with my tools still at the motel the nice Barrier Air lady who had been waiting patiently for us to leave the airport loaded my bike into the back of her station wagon and took me back.

We usually have a dramatic start to a holiday, so we were glad to get that out of the way

In the morning Tom, a walker we had met on the plane, was in the same shuttle and we had a smooth ride to the top, unloaded the bikes, took a few photos and were  about to take off down the road when a DOC man stopped to tell us that the walking track, closed for a year to get rid of problem dogs, was now unofficially open and apart from one hill  “which would take about 20 minutes to push our bikes up, it was a great track for bikes”.

In later FB conversation Simon Kennett suggested that we should have asked him how long it took him to ride, and that is very good advice thank you, but we didn’t, and it became very obvious that our advisor was not a cyclist, particularly not an aging one with a heavy bike and luggage. It started OK and we got down to the first beach with only a bit of walking, had a great beach ride and then it took us about 2 hours to get the bikes up that hill. Some sections had to be done 3 times, once for the bags, and twice more for the bikes but it was too far to go back, and we kept on thinking that after this it would all be OK.

There was a nice ride along another beach, some views of Cape Maria van Diemen which we will never see again, massive numbers of stairs, unrideable steep slopes and at the 90 Mile Beach end, about 300-400 steep steps that we had to do twice because the bikes were uncontrollable on our own.

This leg had been carefully planned for us to arrive at the beach at low tide after biking down the road and Te Paki stream, and if we had done that we would have been early enough in the day that the SW head wind would still have been manageable, but by 3 in the afternoon we were exhausted, the batteries were dangerously low (walk mode chews through the power), and the wind was strong and steady, so we had to abort at Te Paki stream, bike up it which washed the chains to rattlingly clean and filled the brakes etc with sand, up the hill to the main road to get phone reception when we managed to get the last room available at Te Kao Lodge, 20 km away and delayed our Hukatere booking for a night. My battery was down to 6% 2 hours later when we got there.


Supplies : There are no supplies on this route.

Accommodation: Te Kao Lodge- Irene

Battery shipping:  Pack and Send

Airline: Barrier Air The only one to Kaitaia. Buses will not take bikes

These videos are best viewed on a computer screen. Turning your phone sideways helps.


Total distance: 56.86 km
Max elevation: 206 m
Min elevation: -14 m
Total climbing: 1714 m
Total descent: -1735 m
Total time: 10:26:12
Download file: day1.gpx

Battery use: 94% | 590Wh

Use this route only – this was the original route

Total distance: 73.97 km
Max elevation: 204 m
Min elevation: 0 m
Total climbing: 357 m
Total descent: -460 m
Total time: 05:12:18
Download file: 01 eTA Cape Reinga to Hukatere.gpx


2 thoughts on “Day 1 | Cape Reinga to Te Kao

    1. I’m listing the battery useage below the stats under the map, and it depends more on total climb and wind direction than distance.

      We make sure we can get to the next place to stay that has power, and if there’s going to be a problem we would look for a cafe stop where can plug in for an hour. I’m heavier so I use more than Jill, so I ride on no power on the flat and use eco to help up small hills or into a wind. In the last 20km I know if I’m going to make it so I might use a bit more

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