This is part two of an epic 12-day New Zealand road trip from Queenstown to Auckland led by Kiwi local Dan McMullan. Leaving the South Island in picturesque Picton, we crossed the feisty Cook Straight and arrived in Wellington, NZ's capital city. Welcome to the North Island, home to nearly 80% of the country's population, some staggering landscapes and a whole bunch of truly amazing riding.
Photos: Chris Winter (unless otherwise noted).
Robbie Davidson dropping in on Wellington's perfect urban mountain bike park, Makara Peak. Every city needs a bike park.
A sweet stretch of trail off Te Mata Peak, high above Hawkes Bay, one of NZ's driest parts that's famous for it's fine wine. Photo: Thomas Falconer.
Early morning sunshine penetrating the forest canopy in Waipatiki Beach. Photo: Thomas Falconer.
Fresh dinnertime. A speared kingfish caught by Dan McMullan and Dave 'Dingo' Gordon. Photo: Thomas Falconer.
A very stoked Glenn Richards in his backyard on the W2K trail on the shores of Lake Taupo near Kinloch. Photo: Thomas Falconer.
A sweet morning shuttle on glassy Lake Taupo, NZ's largest lake.
Entering Taupo's Craters of the Moon XC bike park that features 50 km of singletrack in exotic pine and eucalyptus plantations.
Post-ride soak in one of Taupo's thermal hot pools. This one had a cold river flowing near it which made for epic relaxation.
Our host in the hills near Rotorua. One of the many characters that we met along the way.
Portland-based Kevin Higgins, a master of the wheelie, doing what he does best on a foggy morning.
Colorful Maori kids on their way to school.
Mr. Higgins escorting the kids to school.
Definitely one of the best shuttle services anywhere. All aboard Southstar Shuttles
in Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Forest.
Rotorua's trails will make you want to go fast. Sometimes faster than you should.
Trailbuilder Malcolm 'Whero' McHale and Rotovegas local Richard Caudwell chatting about improvements to the already super sick trail network in Rotorua.
The dirt in Rotorua is absolutely perfect. Many of the trails ride like a perfectly sloped pump track and the forest is straight out of this world.
The crew from this year's trip just before wrapping up their adventure.
Want to go to NZ yourself? Big Mountain Adventures
will be running another New Zealand trip in 2014. Stay tuned!