Day 2 | Te Kao to Hukatere

A short day to catch up with the Plan

Date: 9 Dec 2023

A leisurely start after yesterday’s effort riding SH1 for a while – very well behaved traffic – picking up supplies at Houhora before heading towards 90 mile beach and Gabi’s fabulous Hukatere Camp, complete with wild horses and a great view over the dunes to the coast.

Gabi used to keep horses herself but the wild herd has trampled her fences and the mares ran off with them, the tarts. There were two stallions battling to become the boss right in front of us. Every other cyclist and walker were staying there as well, including Tom and Lukas and Mandy and their baby Karl in a trailer, which made the kitchen a friendly place, and John and Bianca from Kerikeri invited us over to their caravan to help them drink some of the Pinot Gris they produce at their Magnolia Vineyards, and very nice it was too, with the sun setting over the dunes and the grazing horses.

There’s no store here or supplies of any kind or even mains power, and Gabi very kindly for a small fee took our batteries to a nearby friend who has a garage with power. She will get in supplies for you too with advance warning.

Supplies: Houhora – 4 Square(?) and Liquor store. OK if you’re coming down the road like we did, but not so convenient if you came down the beach. It’s about 13km from the camp.

Accommodation: Hukatere Lodge and Camping – Gabi

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

Total distance: 39.74 km
Max elevation: 57 m
Min elevation: 5 m
Total climbing: 434 m
Total descent: -426 m
Total time: 03:34:48
Download file: etaDay2.gpx

Battery: Used 40% | 250Wh


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


Alps 2 Ocean

All the tour plus one

Day 1 – Braemar Rd

Date: 30 Nov 22
Grade: 2

An alternative to the official alternative Tekapo starting day. Stunning weather after torrential rain the day before. This route comes out on Lake Pukaki so were able to see at least some of the route that the Mt Cook starting point would follow, and coming down onto the lake with the mountains behind was magnificent.
70km, 55% of battery used

Total distance: 69.22 km
Max elevation: 900 m
Min elevation: 458 m
Total climbing: 924 m
Total descent: -1224 m
Total time: 06:45:47
Download file: A2O_Day1_.gpx

Day 2 – Tekapo to Twizel

Date: 1 Dec 22
Grade: 2

The regular alternative starting point. Nasty SW in our face all day broken by Horace’s funeral on a stretch of the canal.
59km 65% of the battery used

Total distance: 59.8 km
Max elevation: 757 m
Min elevation: 464 m
Total climbing: 721 m
Total descent: -967 m
Total time: 06:03:19
Download file: A2O Day2.gpx

Day 3 – Twizel to Ohau

Date: 2 Dec 22
Grade: 2

A flat easy ride mostly along canals or around the edge of Lake Ohau. We stayed at the Ohau Lodge with about a thousand other cyclists, fabulous framing of Mt Cook from our bedroom windows, salmon for dinner and an impromptu lesson about our native mistletoe by a dinner companion, a recently retired Botany professor. Apparently this week has been the best display of mistletoe he had seen in 25+ years of studying them
40km 25% battery use

Total distance: 39.16 km
Max elevation: 559 m
Min elevation: 463 m
Total climbing: 484 m
Total descent: -407 m
Total time: 03:50:03
Download file: A2O Day3.gpx

Day 4 – Ohau to Omarama

Date: 3 Dec 22
Grade: 2

13km/400m climb to start with, and a very social gathering at the top with the other riders cheering on the arrivals. It would have been an easy 53km day but we diverted 14km to view the completely forgettable Omarama Clay Cliffs (Hint: Don’t bother)

67km 75% battery used