- New Zealand
- The Queen Charlotte TrackMountain biking the Queen Charlotte Track in the Marlborough Sounds
- History on the Heaphy
- Suppressing the Competitive UrgeMountain biking in Malborough
- Northern ExposureMountian biking the Coromandel
- Hurunui Hot SpringsWinter mountain biking to Hurunui Hut in the Lake Sumner Forest Park.
- Craigieburn Conservation ParkMountain Biking Craigieburn
- The Brevet ClubGuy and Laurence recount the suffering and intrigue of the inaugural Kiwi Brevet... a 1100km mountain bike race around the top half of the South Island over six days. Informal with self-enforced rules, no entry fee, unsupported, and... well, hard.
- Wharfedale TrackThis is arguably the best and longest stretch of single track in Canterbury
- Double FencelineThis classic trip snakes along the summit ridge of Banks Peninsula.
- One Night StandsOvernight mountain biking trips in the South Island
- Fool's GoldMountain biking in Central Otago
- All that Glistens... the Croesus and Moonlight Gold TrailsMountain biking on the South Island's West Coast
- Otago GoldMountain biking - Bannockburn, Central Otago
- Loop de LoopGreat mountain biking can be found in most corners of this flat earth and New Zealand boasts its fair share of classics.
- Magnetic WestMulti-day mountain biking, Kaikoura to the Tasman sea
- Romping Round the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough
- Rambling Around the Marlborough SoundsMountain biking Marlborough, Arapawa and D'Urville Islands
- Off the Beaten Track An off road traverse of the South Island on mountain bikes
- At Peace with PureoraMountain biking around the Pureora Forest in the Central North Island
- Taranaki for NeophytesMountain biking in Taranaki
- South Pacific
- West meets EastAfter riding all morning through the tail of a typhoon, we didn't want to slosh into a Japanese restaurant in that state. I tried drying out by standing under the vent outside the kitchen. I got no drier, but now I smelled of noodles...
- Tien Shan TraverseWhat do you do in the middle of the mountains when two large, thuggish Chinese men get out of a car and stride purposefully towards you? You smile and say thank you for the stale bread and peaches they are offering you!
- One Gear, One Continent, One Hero.Hero Cycles is the world's largest manufacturer of bikes, spitting out a whopping six million a year. You're unlikely to find one at your local bike shop but as any seasoned traveller can attest, they are the 'people's car' of India.
- Laid-back LaosMountain bike touring in Laos
- The Road to MandalayCycle touring in Myanmar
- Vietnam on Thirty Dollars a DayCycle touring in Vietnam
- A Short Ride in the Hindu Kush Cycle touring in Pakistan
- On a Wheel and a Prayer FlagCycle touring in Tibet
- Shanti Shanti - Across the Himalaya by BikeCycling across the Himalayas
- Biking the Hidden HimalayaCycle touring in North West India
- Pedalling Patagonia"Wow! Amazing! You're cycling to the bottom of South America. Is it all downhill?" Alan and I looked at each other in amusement and suggested that we expected a few uphill sections.
- Cycling Cuba with Fidel and Ché
- Dirt Roading in Colombia'The Only Risk is Wanting to Stay', promises Colombia's latest tourist advertising slogan, printed over glossy photos of idyllic Caribbean coastlines, perfectly preserved colonial towns, rolling, lush coffee plantations and a Latin couple dancing hot cumbia.
- Famous Potato Recipes from Idaho
- My Private Idaho
- Donde Estan Los Pollos
- Alaska - the Last Frontier The Alaskan Iditasport Human Powered Ultramarathon
- In Search of Maple Syrup and a Decent National Anthem Mountain biking in Canada
- All You Can EatMountain Biking in Northern California
- Caffeine and Singletrack in the USA Mountain biking in South West Colorado
- Pizza, Gelato and Mountain BikesMountain biking in Italy's Aosta Valley
- Albania for BeginnersCycle touring in Albania
- Fat Tyre Touring in ItalyMountain bike touring through Italy.
- Corsica- touring the scented isleCycling around the Mediterranean
- Bici Dolomiti Mountain biking in the Dolomites
- A Slice of Swiss CheeseMountain biking in Switzerland
- London Calling The London Cycle Show
- Stairway to Heaven - biking Spain's Camino de SantiagoCycle touring in Spain
- A Scottish Coast to CoastCycle touring in Scotland
- Crouching Tiger - Cycling Ireland's South West Coast Cycling Ireland's South West Coast
- The Italian Job Mountain biking around Lake Garda
- Double DutchA cycle tour of the Netherlands.
- A Rather Big Swedish RaceMountain bike racing in Sweden
- French ConnectionCircumnavigating Mont Blanc on the "Sentier Pedestre" hiking trail.
- A Month in Provence Cycle touring in the South of France
- A French PilgrimageTouring with the Tour de France
- End to End, the Long WayCycle touring in Great Britain
- Steve's SabbaticalCycle touring in France
At Peace with Pureora
Charlie Palmer, UnderGround Issue Issue 24 August 2000
Updated 29 June 2011We found ourselves stranded in a slot canyon, staring over the valley to the silhouette of some massive bluffs while perched atop equally precipitous cliffs... yet we were oblivious to the (presumably) outstanding scenery. It was dark and we were trying to evade the evil clutches of Pureora Forest. We could have been acting out a scene from an Indiana Jones flick but there was no dodgy rope ladder to escape on. Had it not been for a couple of dubious decisions made earlier in the day we would have been enjoying junk food on our way back to Wellington - but "hey", our early oversights led to a rip snorting adventure.
Our cerebral processes were somewhat fuzzy after a hard week at the coalface and a six-hour drive the night before, so we missed the ominous signs that morning as Hoz strapped a machete to his pack. This was no portent for a mass killing - just some blunt technology for clearing trails. It had helped us hugely in the past, particularly when we encountered a bumper crop of ongaonga - a plant that does a passable impression of an acupuncturist with its array of toxic needles. But for this ride the machete indicated that Hoz was not out for a gentle amble around the forest - he wanted to go jungle riding.
We were in the huge Pureora Forest in the Central North Island. This was stage to some early conservation battles with a bunch of long-haired, bare-footed hippies prostrating themselves in the path of the government loggers. Despite their efforts substantial areas were felled but happily are now regenerating. The result is a huge array of gravel roads and logging trails in varying states of overgrown decay - just perfect for mountain biking. After a few hours of exploration we were cruising through an innocuous clearing, fringed by forest and tall bluffs. At the end of the track we shouldered our bikes and ventured up an old hunter's trail. The intention was to connect with a network of tracks in a pine forest near our campsite. After half an hour of hacking and bashing it became obvious that we were on the wrong trail. 95% of the tracks in Pureora seem to finish in dead ends. Alas this was yet another. But it's always worth the gamble because it is hugely rewarding when you strike the five-percenter and bash through some toi toi to connect a new loop.
It was 4:30 and would be dark in less than an hour. We weren't keen on sleeping rough so we beat a hasty retreat to an old trail that rolled down to the farmland bordering the forest. Keen not to trespass, we snuck around the edge of the forest. The sun left the scene but we were blessed with a full moon. Faced with a long detour around a gully we took a "short cut" - dropping into the gully and crashing our way along the creek at the bottom. We were now eight hours into our day and had run out of food, energy and moonlight. We stumbled down the creek for fifteen minutes, periodically falling into little pools only to discover just how bad our route choice was. Rather than let us out of the forest, the creek disgorged its contents and very nearly us down a 40m high waterfall into a huge gorge.
Our only option was to backtrack up "shit creek" and find an exit on the other side. We would have to chance our arm by crossing the farmland without permission. Waikato was defending the Shield on Rugby Park that night so we thought our chances of travelling undiscovered were pretty good... and damn it, we were desperate. We swam and grovelled back up the creek - its slippery rocks and waterfalls rather more easy to slither down than clamber up. After finally clearing the forest our troubles were still far from over... we had to navigate a myriad of paddocks and boggy wetlands; visibility was limited with the moon hiding behind some clouds; our bikes were squeaking and rattling; and we were tired and irritable. Eventually we stumbled onto a road. And finally luck was on our side - it led us back to our campsite. Ahh - the relief of a smooth road after nine hours in the saddle. We had travelled all of 40 kilometres and were exhausted - but rest assured we'll be with Hoz and his machete when the next trip rolls around.
The Nitty GrittyPureora Forest is massive and sits in between three main roads. The main access points are:
> The western side of Lake Taupo (SH 32) at Waihaha River or Kakaho Road, both near Tihoi.
> The Waimiha - Ongarue Road which heads off SH 4 north of Taumarunui (Piropiro Flats).
> The Park Headquarters near Barryville on State Highway 30.
> There are masses of great rides there. A few (like the Waihaha Track) are listed in Classic NZ Mountain bike Rides ($39 from Ground Effect) but most are waiting to be discovered. Dig out your pith helmet and check out Topomaps S17, S18, T17 & T18 to plan your adventures.
> There's plenty of camping with good spots at Piropiro Flats, Kakaho Road and at the Park Headquarters. You can also rent cabins at the Park Headquarters.
> Self-preservation suggests avoiding the area during the roar.
> Services in the immediate area are limited to petrol and general supplies so shelve any café cravings until you return home. Cram the Eski with a few indulgences and make like happy campers.
> Follow the Mountain Bikers' Code. Respect Others; Respect the Track; and Respect the Rules.