The Far North turned on glorious autumn conditions for the field of cyclists who departed Kaitaia on Saturday to get the North Island leg of the 2017 Tour of New Zealand underway.

Tour spokesman Garry Collin noted that after an official welcome to the region had been given by Far North District Council librarian John Haines (filling in for Mayor John Carter), the cyclists enjoyed ideal conditions - overcast with a light nor-east zephyr at their backs - for the first of two stages of day one, the 69km haul to Kohukohu.

"What an absolutely stunning ride," said an impressed Collins of the scenic first day route. The cyclists then caught the ferry over to the south side of the Hokianga Harbour and completed stage 2, a 29km run from Rawene to Omapere that afternoon.

On Sunday, the cyclists rode a non-timed criterium of 25km from Omapere to Tane Mahuta, where they dismounted and visited the landmark kauri.


"Quite a few of them from overseas, they were pretty impressed," Collins said.
The main distance on Day two of the North Island tour was the 75km ride to Dargaville. The group finished the day off watching an epic west coast sunset from the Dargaville lighthouse before heading to a local restaurant to celebrate.

On day three, Monday, the field cycled 70km from Dargaville to the northern foot of the Brynderwyns. Garry noted it was nice enough ride but paled somewhat in comparison to the two Far north legs which for some, were more than worth the price of admission.

On day four on Tuesday the cyclists left from Tuakau and pedalled 84km to Raglan in wet and cold conditions as the tail end of Cyclone Debbie began to lash the North Island.
From Raglan, the cyclists were driven to Waitomo to start the day five leg yesterday, 80km from Te Kuiti to Taumarunui, and a 12km hill climb National Park to Chateau Village.

It wasn't clear at time of going to press, considering the weather hitting the middle of the North Island, whether this was still going ahead.

However, Collins was confident the memory of riding through the Far North on Saturday and Sunday will live long in the memories of all who took part

"Everyone was completely blown away.

"Really exceeded their expectations. [This event] Showcased Northland very well for us."