For those regular readers of my blog, you may recall Oakura was an overnight stop on my solo Auckland to Cape Reinga and return ride March 2018. It was an unmitigated disaster, as it was the day Cyclone Hola hit this region and I was on my bike. Alone.
It was also the day I really needed a friendly face and warm accomodation but found myself in danger of electrocution in a dodgy, sub standard caravan operated by an even dodgier character, Jason.
Nevertheless, I found a kind couple who helped me out, picking me up from the dodgy accomodation and transferring me a kilometre or so to their motel/caravan park, greeting me with a mug of hot soup and a token to operate the clothes dryer.
I was so thankful and decided to revisit their site.
First off, we needed breakfast and had purchased eggs, bacon and cheese when the Tutukaka General Store was open on Christmas Eve.
Bidding our Air BNB host Michael farewell we tackled his driveway…18 percent gradient, warming us up for a day of hills.
Up and down into Tutukaka we then climbed and descended to Matapouri Bay where we spent time chillaxing yesterday.
Climbing up another hill to the parking bay for walks to Whale Bay. Some beautiful views and more tsunami warning signs.
Descended to Woolley’s Bay where the surfers were out in the water waiting patiently for their big wave!
Sandy Bay was next, and we then headed in a westerly direction through rural farming properties, up and down hills. More wild turkeys, and then another one cresting yet another climb.
Passing through the small settlements of Waipaipai and Marua we stopped to buy water and iced coffee in Hikurangi, a quaint little town.
There we met Tim, a very friendly guy who stopped us as we left the General store to talk cycling. He suggested we could wander up to the Curios shop, as that was where he had left his bike.
So after refuelling and using the local amenities we did that.
Turns out Tim lived in Tasmania for a number of years and still owns a property at Carlton Beach. Small world. He is now a drilling engineer in the oil industry working down at Taranaki near where we spent Christmas last year.
Tim also took a photo of us, which he kindly emailed.
Bidding Tim farewell (but not before a rendition of Waltzing Matilda played on a sheep herders whistle), we headed out of town to join State Highway 1. Air raid sirens sounded, and it was a very eerie sound.
We had only ridden about one km on the highway when we encountered all traffic at a complete standstill. We kept riding down the verge until we got to the front of the queue, and it was apparent why the air raid sirens had sounded.
We were hoping no one was inside the car. The car was making many loud explosive noises as bits started flying up in the air. We were well clear….in this photo Tony has used the zoom feature.
The fuel tank exploded and flames extended along the road.
The boys in red arrived.
They quickly extinguished the fire. Then the police arrived…having missed everything!
Fortunately the occupants were fine. A young Maori couple were brought through by police, including their very cute puppy. We were very relieved that they were safe and sound.
We were given the all clear to proceed, which was handy as the road was blocked on the other side for about 2-3 km. Many asked us what was going on.
We were pleased to leave SH1 and turn off towards Oakura. The traffic, curiously enough, was far busier than SH1 with most vehicles towing something ( trailers full of holiday items, caravans, boats).
Rolling hills looking considerably drier now.
Descending towards Helena Bay we noticed signs for a cafe and art gallery. We ummed and aaahed before deciding to check it out. It was down a gravel track!!
What a find it was. Bike racks and out of sight from this picture, security cameras watching the bikes!
Beautiful gardens, fantastic gallery, and scrumptious cafe with some amazing views.
Touring means you cannot buy much in the way of extras. Soooo we needed to rearrange our luggage as I purchased two ceramic items. The bikes really need to stay upright now!! I would photograph the items but they are nicely secured within bubble wrap and tape. They can stay like that until we return home.
Next stop, Oakura Bay.
The dodgy Air BnB is still running, and I noticed that the even dodgier Jason replaced the cracked caravan windows but still has a power lead running through the window to the power point.
Moving right along, we climbed the last hill and descended to our accomodation on the shores of Whangaruru Bay.
Interestingly the lady at reception remembered me from last year!
A curious place as the beach is used by owners of shacks on the next bay, only accessible at lower tides. Traffic gets a bit tricky at times.
Some really lovely shacks and views.
Here is a map of today’s route.
Today is day 6, and it was thoroughly enjoyable. We loo, forward tomorrow as we arrive in the Bay of Islands region.
Thanks for reading,