Day 8 Camp Epic to Whakahoro

137km 2500m


The last two days have been a bit of a blur of exhaustion, exhilaration, and pushing past what I thought was the limits of my endurance. Emotionally and physically.

Camp Epic was cold in the morning, single digits, so cooked eggs for breakfast was a real treat. After that though my fingers wouldn’t work properly to pack my stuff. It was a strange feeling to look forward to the first uphill knowing it would warn me up! 

The second half of the timber trail is a couple of climbs and some looooong bumpy downhills. At one stage I lost my sunglasses. I stopped at an outlook I remembered from last time and sorted my bags out, enjoyed the view and a snack. 

My bike had started to squeak down the timber trail so when I reached Taumaranui I called in to Honda first. They diagnosed a rear brake issue but weren’t able to fix it. This noise got steadily worse over the next two days. Not a comforting thing to think your brakes might be screwed when you’re in remote & hilly country.       

The cell phone coverage was patchy to say the least but my awesome sister Natalie has hooked me up with accommodation at Blue Duck and said if I got there by 6:30 they were serving goat curry. No problem I thought. 

The road from Taumaranui to Whakahoro was lovely and quiet with great views, including of Mt Ruapehu and Ngaruahoe, but  hillier than I anticipated. It was getting quite late by the time I arrived at the road to Blue Duck Station, which is when I saw it had just been graded. Which is great if you’re in a car, but on a bike it like cycling through sand. I knew then I wouldn’t make it to Blue Duck in time for dinner, which is what finally pushed me past the brick and I started crying. If you know me, you won’t be surprised that it wasn’t being exhausted or in pain that cracked me, but dinner. 

I stumbled into the cafe after 7pm knowing at least I had a food package (with tuna, rice and surprise peas) waiting for me from a drop off by my awesome sister Nat. 

That’s when my day got better.  The lady serving took one look at me and asked’ are you Renée?’ I nodded. ‘We’ve been tracking you and I put a plate of food aside’ 

It’s lucky for everyone that I’d done my crying out on the road because that kindness would have been what broke me. 

It was delicious. 

I had a cute wee cabin up the hill all to myself. Luxury!      

Cold early morning start at Camp Epic, on the Timber Trail

First glimpse of Mt Ruapehu

Blue Duck Station