I am quite fond of Kinloch, a pretty village on the edge of Lake Taupō. In Gaelic the settlement’s name means ‘loch end’, and it has a familiar feel to that of Kingston, my lakeside hometown in the deep south. Both villages are at one end of a large lake, nestled in a small forest-lined bay, and populated by just a few permanent residents. (In the south, we also have a Kinloch, a small hamlet just down the road from Paradise at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu.) However, while similar there are differences too: whereas in Kingston we have a steam train, the only train of steam I see on my drive from Taupō to the northern Kinloch are the white puffs of vapour that rise from geothermal pipes. In the south the descent to our lake is dominated by the construction of residential housing for new commuters who will soon travel to Queenstown; in contrast, the descent to Lake Taupō at Kinloch passes a grand resort for holidaymakers, complete with a modern castle-like structure overlooking the loch. So whether it is Kingston’s flyer or Kinloch’s castle … each town is unique and ideally located beside a Great Ride of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

Cutting through the new trail

This is the third time I have visited Kinloch, and each time I endeavoured to map new trails for the Great Rides App. On previous visits I had my bike, but today I will start on what the Scots call ‘Shanks-naig’ or as we say Shanks’s pony – aka my mighty legs. The purpose of this cartography trip is to explore a new section of trail. It forms a loop by leaving the lakeshore and climbing out of the crater before skirting along the foreshore to return to the water at the lake’s end.

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