Breakfast in Piopio was a bit of a flop. The milk in the kitchen had an expiry date of 20 December. There was cornflakes and rice bubbles and white bread…so we went with the latter and smashed left over bananas onto them, drizzling it with honey. Black coffee was the kick starter.
We knew today as going to be tough again, and that there were no shops for grabbing food or liquid for the 128 km, so we headed to the local milk bar to buy bottles of water and grabbed some nibbles.
This is the highlight of Piopio. The village green with a couple of murals.
Our route today weaved around and was chosen as it kept us off the busy SH3.
The first 21 km was excellent. Rolling hills and very quiet and peaceful. We went past the property where the Hairy Foot scenes were shot for Lord of the Rings.
Climbing a hill, a short distance before the top was a car park and sign indicating waterfalls.
We finished climbing up to the top of the hill and Then we bit the gravel…it went for 31 very long and slow kilometres. In addition we climbed 500 metres and descended about 200 metres.
Here is a nice and flat section.
We had no idea how long this was going to last, and given I was only doing about 11 kmh I was doing the maths and figured I may arrive at 9pm!
I have 28 mm tyres on my bike, ( it came with 25mm) Tony 32 mm. I’m just a tad nervous on gravel as the majority of my spills have occurred on gravel, mainly as a result of me braking at the wrong time! I have some nice scars to remind me.
The countryside was splendid though, and a distinct lack of traffic. I felt I was fairly safe and private stopping for a pee on the roadside…..however, I turned around and I seemed to have attracted attention!
At the 52 km point we arrived at a T junction. To the left….bitumen. To the right ….bitumen! YES! Tony told me tostop smiling so much 😂
There was a little shed at the junction and we took the opportunity to have some food….a protein bar and a UHT sachet of baby custard! We also noted that one of the spare bottles of water has bounced off the back of Tony’s bike so a bit less water!
About 15 km later we found this shop!!! Fairly new, and attached to a house!
So a ham and cheese croissant and iced coffee later we felt far more nourished.
Another customer asked where we were headed. I asked if there was any gravel sections? “No, not much” I asked him how many km were ‘not much’….his response was “ hmm…maybe 35 km”….
Groan! Then he recanted and said maybe he was wrong and there was none! Fingers crossed!!
Lots of climbing today – over 1800 km, thereby providing many views. Water in the distance!
We got closer to branches of Kawhia Harbour.
Finally we turned left onto the main road to Kawhia. Up and down, up and down and we came to this fence. Lost your bike? Might be here!
We are now in a cabin at a caravan park for the night. We walked into town to check it out and had a great meal at the local pub.
Low tide reveals the black volcanic sands.
This image quite appealed to me, stranded on the black sands.
The two sides of the totem at the local park.
I enjoyed watching these youngsters having fun playing in the muddy creek.
Two days left. Tomorrow is Raglan. More dirt, more hills!
So better get some beauty sleep!!