Right from take-off, you’ll get the sense that this is the start of an adventure with a difference.
From the air, take in the spectacle of the vast Whirinaki forest. Wrapped in morning mist, pierced by craggy peaks, slashed by deep ravines and tumbling river rapids, this has the promise of a wilderness adventure with a difference.
At your delivery point in the heart of the forest, unload your bike and gear – and get ready the action and delights of the Moerangi trail. Scenic, contrasting and abundant with wildlife, it offers single-track challenges for its entire length – and earns its EPIC status with bonuses.
From the Kennett brothers in Classic New Zealand Mountain Bike Rides (North Island, 9th edition): ‘Through 35kms of remote native forest, with three traditional camping huts en route, it’s an iconic New Zealand experience.’
Most of the trail presents undulating G3 challenges through leafy forest giants, punctuated with short sections of G4 and G5 which you can choose to walk if you wish.*
This is the realm of some of New Zealand’s tallest trees. Amid towering beech and massive tree ferns, we recommend a pause to take in the sounds and silence of the forest, the unique bush scenery and wildlife. Reminiscent of a filmset from Jurassic Park, this may be as close to primeval forest as you can get. Inquisitive native birds – tui, toutouwai, toitoi, whio and kereru – may even gather where you stop.
We thoroughly recommend a stay for at least one night in one of the DOC back-country huts. These all have mattresses, wood-burning fireplaces, roof water and toilet facilities. These rustic havens are ideal as a starting point for an early morning trail ride – or a welcome sight after a day’s travel.
On a clear night, take in a spectacular sky-dome of southern constellations. Listen for the distinctive night calls of ruru, the little morepork owl, or perhaps a kiwi. Enjoy the campfire camaraderie of fellow heli-bikers.
This all comes to you from local enthusiasts with a love of nature and a flair for adventure in the unique New Zealand hinterland. Gather your gear and your trusty steed. Come and share the Moerangi trail with us.
* In general and in accordance with international standards, riders should expect the following on a Grade 4 trail: ‘A mixture of long steep climbs, narrow trail, poor traction and difficult obstacles to avoid or ride over. Outer edges of the trail may be exposed with steep sides or drop-offs in places. Most riders will find some sections easier to walk.’