Today was to be a solid ride of 153 km so we ensured we hit the road a bit earlier today. We headed straight down the hill from our accomodation to the waterfront and turned right, to start our journey north bound for Auckland.
New Plymouth has a wonderful coastal walking/cycling track and we were to ride along it for 11 km.
In the distance is the Te Rewarewa Bridge, constructed for walkers and cyclists.
Shortly before turning left onto SH3, Taranaki revealed itself in all its majestic beauty. I was so pleased that we got to see it!
SH3 was busy today. People were on the move! So we were quite pleased to have a short reprieve for 5 km or so. The gravel was quite solid and firm and passed by a series of farms.
The biggest climb today was Mt Messenger, around the 60 km mark and back on SH3. By now the temperatures were in the high 20’s. For most of the climb, we had a small verge of around 30cm, with an occasional wider bay for slower vehicles. At other times, there was no verge and we just held our line as tight as possible.
I breathed a sigh of relief at the top.
The historic tunnel on the descent was very short.
We motored on planning to have a break at Mokau. Just before climbing the hill to Mokau we crossed this river with a bunch of shacks along the waterfront.
Further up the hill this is looking towards the river mouth, shacks just out of sight on the left.
We spent about 40 minutes at a very busy cafe eating and drinking! We got chatting to a Swedish tourist who also cycles. He wanted to know how we had been coping with the minimal verges.
This was our last view of the coast before turning inland.
We crossed another wide river.
Entered another tunnel in Awakino Gorge.
The temperatures were now in the 30’s and I think it is fair to say we are coping with the heat better now, having acclimatised somewhat. We are rocking some pretty rad tan lines!
Another short stint off SH3, then 3 km back on the highway including a decent climb, and we were off the highway for the rest of the day. This last detour saved us 30 km of highway riding, and provided us a road that was winding, climbing and ever so quiet!
At one point a goat ran out onto the road, and I swear it was chasing Tony…until it saw me and went bush!
We were very pleased to arrive in Piopio a small town on SH3, although we arrived via a backroad. We are the ONLY guests at the motel and it is nice. Our bikes are out in the hallway just outside our room, our bedroom door is open, we have our cycle washing hanging out in the garden drying.
What the town does not have is anywhere to eat on Boxing Day. The local grocery store was open and for the first time in my life I had a microwaved roast lamb dinner! We then had a carton of custard and banana.
The only breakfast on offer are rice bubbles, cornflakes and weetbix. According to its Facebook page, the local cafe re opens at 730 am!! Think we will be first in!
So three days left…tomorrow is shorter at 128 km weaving around to Kawhia.
My favourite picture of the day.