"The Backbone Run"
Taupo down the middle, over the ranges to Wairarapa, up to Napier and back to Taupo.
This is a 796km ~ 2-3 day ride encompassing a variety of riding. Starting in Taupo as a base head down SH1 through the Desert Road, through Waiouru and through to Taihape, once past the Desert Road the main highway is surrounded bytypical farm land and fairly easy riding. As you get down to Bulls and Foxton the road straightens out and rolls to Otaki and Waikane. At Waikane you have to find Akatarawa Road which leads up into the hills through the forest and this is a narrow windy road, maybe some parts light gravel but passable on a bigger bike, then it pops out onto Gemstone Drive and then onto SH2. The roads leads up the Rimataka Hill which is very windy and steep and can be foggy under certain conditions, this road should be respected in all conditions. On the otherside, small towns Featherston and Greytown welcome you. These towns were built when the original native forests were cleared. Carterton and Masterton are also places to stay, and have a recovery ale and quality kiwi food.
This highway is through open farm country and easy riding, you head out of the Wellington District and into Manawatu-Wanganui, soon to come across Eketahuna, and just up the road in Mangatainoka where the famous Tui Brewery is located. This is an essential stop for excellent food and wash it down with a Tui beer. Through Woodville and Dannevirke, the highway then splits to SH50 or continues on SH2 to Napier. The recommended route is the back country, of course, to enjoy the full freedom of the highway. With a final stop at the Puketapu pub before heading into Ahuriri in Napier for the night, food and accommodation. See our recommendations for staying.
The road out of town leaves Napier to the North and heads into farmland and then through steep forest clad hills, this road needs respect carries alot of logging trucks and can have shaded areas that may have ice in the winter months. The highway reaches up onto the Central Plateau with long straits and then pops out just south of Taupo town. The journey is soon over, but it will have been an exciting ride through the lower reaches of New Zealand's North Island. You have seen another slice of NZ and lots of history along with it.