A ride she'll never forget!
CAROLIN HERFORTH, A MOUNTAIN BIKING BLOGGER FROM GERMANY, RODE THE TIMBER TRAIL IN EARLY 2018. FROM THE FOREST AND FLOWING TRAILS THROUGH TO THE FANTASTIC TIMBER TRAIL LODGE, IT WAS A RIDE SHE WILL NEVER FORGET.
If you are contemplating mountain biking or even hiking in New Zealand, then you should definitely do it, and here’s why.
As I landed in the Land of the Long White Cloud this time around, I thought about the road trip I made here in 2012. That trip was so full of adventures – from skydiving to simply soaking up the atmosphere – even without knowing the full range of experiences New Zealand has to offer. With mountain biking my new natural high, this trip was to prove very different.
On arrival, I was whisked off to Taupo by bus, nearly giving myself whiplash trying to take in the beauty of the landscape along the way.
The following morning, we boarded a shuttle to take us and our bikes to the trailhead of the Timber Trail – a 84-kilometre ride through native and regenerating native bush. The trail is one of 22 Great Rides that make up the New Zealand Cycle Trail network (www.nzcycletrail.com).
Having looked at the trail map, we were ready to go. So, along with a few other rides, we headed off.
Within moments I fell in love with the forest – the colours, the shapes, the scent – millions of years in the making. For a brief time I even forgot what I was here for.
The riding was easy and fun, the trail flowing smoothly like the rivers below. It’s suitable for most abilities and fitness levels, and with plenty of signage it’s impossible to get lost – even when you’re trying to juggle riding the trail and admiring the surroundings.
Interesting information panels make this adventure even better. Learn about the forest’s rich natural and human history, and how the trail’s amazing suspension bridges were built. Many panels are located in places that command views you could only dream of.
Around the middle of the trail is the Timber Trail Lodge (opened in 2017) where I met many wonderful, like-minded people who shared stories of the trails they had ridden. Everyone was on a high after their first day’s experience.
The evening meal was fantastic – just want you’d hope for after a big day’s ride and a good fuel-up for what was to come. Just like the countryside, it was full of flavour and colour.
The following day dawned wet, with fog and a little rain starting to fall.
After a hearty breakfast, we grabbed our lunch for the day and headed outside.
You would be excused if you thought we were heading for a miserable day’s riding. But not so. Thankfully the rain let up shortly after we left the lodge, allowing us to fully enjoy a section of trail offering a different type of riding.
The trail was a little slippery at times, but it was even more richly scented and colourful. The rain came down a bit heavier after a while, but my timing was perfect as I rounded a corner to discover one of the many huts that are dotted along the the Timber Trail.
Here I took my break and ate the lunch the lodge folks had made for me – a delicious wrap. No sooner had I finished it when the sun came out. I felt it was just for me!
This is no boring ride. This well-constructed trail offers an ever-changing landscape, with new natural wonders to see at every turn.
A couple of my fellow riders were on their own bikes, fitted with thinner tyres. They had a few falls, but their fun-factor was no less than anyone else’s.
About three kilometres from the end of the trail, I started to slow down, a sense of sadness creeping in. I did not want this wonderful ride to end. The 45 kilometres of this second day went way too fast.
But with the sadness came an incredible happiness: that I had the chance to ride two full days of awesome trail that will give me everlasting memories and stories to tell.
I still can’t believe I have done it and it is over.
Check out my YouTube Channel MTB Travel Girl to view my videos of the Timber Trail. Although they are in a mix of English and German, the riding is in a language everyone can understand!
And check out my blog, too: MTB Travel Girl – www.mtbtravelgirl.de