Got a bold four-wheel drive and a love of our backroads?
Then you’d fit right in on ‘Northern Expedition 3.0.’, a Toyota truck convoy making its annual backroads trip through the North Island near the end of February.
The expedition departs from Port McNeill and goes through Zeballos, Side Bay, and Holberg before ending back up in Port McNeill. People taking part in the expedition from the South Island will meet at Strathcona Dam and then drive the Gold River Road to Port McNeill.
“The 3.0 is because this is the third time we are doing this,” said expedition member Ashley Tapp. “There are multiple 4×4 Facebook groups, and we (Tapp and boyfriend Jeremy Browne) are a part of a few of them, with V.I. Toyota 4×4 being the main one.”
Back in 2015 when the group first started, “we were some of the first members,” Tapp noted, adding a few of the group members said they had never been up this way, “so we started a plan and made an annual trip in February.”
Tapp explained the trip is held in February for multiple reasons, but mainly to avoid tourists and busy spots. “We are a large group with trucks and Roof Top Tents, so we need big areas to set up camp — plus the weather is a challenge, and us wheelers like a challenge — snow, rain, whatever.”
In the expedition’s first year they only had six trucks, but by the second year the trip had been planned, “we had eight,” said Tapp. “This year we have a confirmed 19 coming from the south, which is not including the local rigs that can be from 2-6, and our trip starts off with a big North Island seafood feast camp out with some locals. Then we take off, try to stick to gravel only, and do well over 1,000 kilometres in a week.”
The Northern Expedition 3.0 will be having their big kick off dinner on Feb. 25, before leaving for its third backroads trip of a lifetime through the beautiful North Island scenery.