Te Iringa Mountain Bike
Driving to the start of the Te Iringa trail along the Clements Mill Road end, one senses a special day ahead. The Kaimanawa Ranges is an area of fantastic North Island backcountry, where the native beech forest is epic in it’s own might, towering above us. Popular with hunters and hikers alike but less known for mountain bikers, this was unknown territory for us.
However, business needed to be taken care of first with a shuttle out to the Helisika Helicopter base and a 17Km ride back to the trail start where Rach and Boy the trail dog where eager to get stuck into the day ahead.
Hike a Bike
The trail began with a gentle incline and a smooth surface covered in beech leaves and slowly gets steeper and more technical. Within about 20mins the hike/bike part of the day began. The climb continued for the next 1hr or so, requiring a combination of riding challenging pinch climbs with rooty and rocky features and walking sections that are too steep or technical to ride.
Then following hour after this was along a ridgeline with thick bush on each side but on occasion with some serious drop offs and some quick views. There was a nice flowy downhill, some rocky sections, a couple of slips to navigate and gully’s to cross, before reaching the end of the ridge.
Worth the Effort!
We loved this ridge section. It was very beautiful and really felt like an adventure ride, out in the backcountry, miles from anywhere. It was quite hard work but it was going to be worth it. We got very excited at the thought of nearing the awesome downhill!
The toils of our mornings labour were rewarded with a very fast grade 3 flowy downhill but with the odd root or rock thrown in to keep us on our toes. These were fun to jump over to get the wheels off the ground. On the last part of the downhill there were some seriously tight switchbacks to test our skills before we reached the river at the bottom.
Crossing the river via a massive fallen tree, the trail descended further, this time more technical and with some boggy sections as it flattened off. Next, we reached the swing bridge which signifies the end of the Te Iringa Trail.
Don’t underestimate this swing bridge! No matter what technique you try to transport yourself and your bike across it, it will snag clothing, catch your brake levels and handle bars and generally significantly hinder your progress.
Ducks and Huts
From here we hooked a left and the trail continued along the edge of the river. On the river, we were surprised to see a pair of the rare Whio (blue ducks) happily calling and whistling to each other as we rode past. Although this section was mostly flat and rideable (thankfully!) there were many short boggy deep puddles to negotiate and at times walk. Eventually the valley opened out and we popped out into a grassy plain and into the warm sunshine. Oamaru hut was to be found shortly after.
It was great to chill out in the sunshine before our lift turned up to take us back to our car. On the way back it hit home how privileged we are to be able to ride in such remote places and then have a helicopter trip out! A true New Zealand style backcountry adventure!
If you would like to include this unique adventure ride or similarly epic rides in your custom adventure holiday or short break then get in touch with us now, don’t miss out on these little know gems!
Check out our video of the Te Iringa below: