Takaro Trails

‘Takaro’ is the Maori word for play… and there’s no better way to describe the exciting cycling experience awaiting you in Hawke’s Bay! People need to have fun and this is just pure and simple play time.

Locals and tourists alike are lining up to try out the series of self-guided cycling tours and holidays that Jenny Ryan has put together. Jenny conducted an eight day cycling tour around Provence with friends, and then the Otago Rail Trail, both of which were fantastic. Having investigated other tours in the South of France, she saw an opportunity to showcase the Hawke’s Bay region in a new light.

Her tours cater for all levels of fitness, and range from day trips to three and five day tours, and even mountain biking, giving people a taste of the food, wine and scenery that the beautiful Hawke’s Bay has to offer.

The most popular trip is the Gimblett Gravels winery tour. This allows exploration of nine wineries, spread over 12km, with the bikes and riders being dropped off at Unison Estate. Riders will finish up at Selini some five hours later. An added bonus is that wine purchased on the tour can be collected by the company so you’re not faced with an over-laden backpack or bags draped over the handles of the bike! The one day tour options include cycling around the famous wineries of the Gimblett Gravels appellation, or along our spectacular Rotary pathway for a truly scenic ‘off road’ cycling experience.

The 3-day tour showcases a stunning coastal path, the wineries, orchards and rolling farmland of the region, with riding distances averaging 40km each day. The 5-day tour ventures south to historic Central Hawke’s Bay for a truly diverse cycling experience. From the sophisticated villages of Ahuriri and Havelock North, to the quaintness of Waipawa, New Zealand’s oldest inland town, together with some fabulous riding through the remote countryside Raukawa valley.

If mountain biking is more your thing, T?karo Trails offers half and full day packages to the fantastic Eskdale Mountain Biking Park. Purpose-built by the Hawke’s Bay Mountain Bike Club in the Tangoio forest, this park is regarded as one of the finest mountain biking facilities in the country. With over 80km of specialist cross country trails and forest roads, there’s something for riders of all abilities.

“You don’t have to be super fit for any of the tours,” says Jenny, but she does recommend some cycle training before the five day trip as there are some undulations. Nothing is set in concrete, however, so Jenny is able to alter routes slightly to suit participants. “Overall, there’s a good balance of tours for all levels of experience.” Bas, a mechanic and mountain bike guide here on a working holiday from the Netherlands, helps Jenny out at the Bay View based company. The bikes are all top of range Scott Sportsters, 24 and 27 speeds, with panniers, tool kits and odometers. Safety gear (like helmets) is also provided.

“You don’t need life coaches,” says Jenny. “People tend to over complicate things these days. All you need is to get out into the fresh air three or four times a week. Try a bike ride – you’ll feel strong, proud and go home invigorated.”

www.takarotrails.co.nz