Two Central Plateau Ride Maps.
"Central Plateau Run"
Auckland to Taupo via South Waikato back roads, then Turangi and back through Tamaranui, Te Kuiti, Otorohanga and Ngaruwahia.
This is 692 km ride is an ideal 2-3 day ride with an option to ride around National Park or Lake Taupo as seen in map 2.
Best not done in winter time, being the months June/July/August/September, but having said that conditions are always very changeable on the central plateau at any time of the year, if a front comes through, so it pays wear good riding gear. The central plateau also known as National Park is a unique part of New Zealand and well worth the ride, there are times when you can safely ride around it when there is plenty of snow on the mountain.
Starting out in Auckland the journey takes you down SH1 to Taupiri and take the new motorway to Hamilton then through to Cambridge, as you leave Cambridge on the main highway SH1 there is right hand turn at a round-about that leads up into the back of Cambridge. A few kilometres along this road there is a sign saying Karapiro on the left, take this and head into the countryside. This is a classic back country biker road in great condition, has sections of straights and then some windy parts and leads up onto a straight road called Oreipunga Road and comes to a stop sign. Head straight ahead and then take a left that leads generally straight ahead on a road called Rotongata Road. This comes to an intersection about 5-6 km later and take a left into Waipapa Road. This section of road is beautiful flowing country road and finally leads into forest where it becomes fairly windy and then opens out, to Mangakino on the left, keep going till you get to Whakamaru where there is a gas station and shops on your right. The Dam Cafe is a great place to stop for a bite and also gas up, head down the road for some way, then on the left it takes you to Kinlock/Taupo. It is an excellent country road, flowing through farming country, take a left at the Kinlock sign and keep going, it will take you to Taupo. These roads have few cars on them and are beautiful easy country riding for a rider and pillon passenger. Pop into Taupo for a recovery ale and some food. See our recommended accommodation and pubs, as well as entertainment.
Heading back to Auckland, to avoid the main traffic channel on SH1, we recommend heading along the bottom of the lake which is a scenic ride, head through Turangi and up into the hills through Tamaranui, back through Te Kuiti, Otorohanga and through to Ngaruwahia through to Auckland.. This is well kept road with low traffic and plenty of stops along the way for gas and food.
"The Lake and Mountain Run"
Taupo to Turangi, Desert Road to Ohakune and through National Park to Mt Ruapehu and back through Western Bays and North of Lake Taupo to Taupo Town.
350 km ~ A great day ride with the possibility for an overnight stay at Ohakune or Mt Ruapehu.
This ride could be incorporated as part of the previous ride with a stay. It includes the great run along the southern shores of Lake Taupo and then up onto the Central Plateau via the Desert road to Waiouru, which encompasses spectacular views of the desert and the mountains. Take a right at Waiouru and head to Ohakune where there is a variety of accommodation from campground huts to high end rooms and dining. Ohakune is a nostaglic old style town from the railway building days and is now a play ground for those who enjoy the winter skiing on the mountain.
The weather can be quite changeable in this area as you are 600 metres above sea level, but once you head north or south is generally gets better.
Heading out of Ohakune you do a right turn onto SH4 and head to National Park Head Quarters where you can go straight ahead as the previous map route to Tamaranui or do a right and head along the northern side of the Mt Ruapehu. This could include a stay at the famous French styled Chateau on the Whakapapa Road. Should conditions prevail a ride up the mountain to base cafe is highly recommended. Leaving National Park heading to Taupo, you pop down through native forest and bush to Tokannu which is a small village with natural hot pools and a motel. Continue up the highway on SH41 and do a right onto SH32 which will take you all the way back to Taupo after doing a marked right onto Poihipi Road and an option is to drop into Kinlock to see the lake on the way back. This is a special ride that encompasses the whole National Park including Mt Ruapehu and a great trip in good conditions.