Our plan was to drive an hour south of National Park Village, the main “town” for the Tongariro and Whanganui parks, to a remote access point 19 miles down Ruatiti Road. We would then bike 22 miles through the wilderness to a boat landing on the Whanganui River. Here, we would meet Richard, a local farmer who would whisk us by jet boat more than an hour up river to Blue Duck Station. The trick: We had to meet Richard by 4 o’clock in order to make it back by dark; in these parts, you can’t see a thing on the river at night.
Pictured: A biker cuts across a meadow on the Mangapurua Track.