Second last day of this cycle tour…boo,hoo…but being down the business end means needing to navigate traffic into larger cities, and in our case, peak holiday period.
Our day started off pleasantly enough at Baylys Beach. This is the view we could see from our breakfast table. The rolling hills remind me of King Island, where links golf courses have been established in two coastal areas.
As breakfast was not until 8 am, we left later than usual. Not ideal as we knew we had about 118 km and 1150 metres climbing, and the latter half on New Zealand’s busiest Highway SH1. No options really.
Today’s route. Essentially east, then south, east and south.
After rejoining SH12 first town was Dargaville. Not a particularly inspiring town, and in overcast weather looked a bit dreary. The toilets were nice and bright. We also crossed that long bridge, over the Wairoa River, which has no verge so we zipped across as fast as we could.
Then the road was very straight for quite a long time. Agricultural region boasting kumara and plenty of maize including trial crops.
There were interesting geological features that stood out in otherwise flat farmland. The first is Maungaraho Rock, an extinct volcano plug that has eroded over time.
The peak below is Tokatoka Peak. It is a rare phenomenon as it is the plug of an ancient volcano. The material around the plug has also eroded over time, leaving only the hardened lava core.
in the pioneering days, the river pilot lived at the base of Totatoka and would climb the peak to watch for sailing ships in Kaipara Harbour.
Wairoa River continuing its journey out to Kaipara Harbour.
In the small town of Ruawai we stopped for refreshments. I recalled stopping here last year on my solo trip, and also recall the same scooter. Must be a local hangout for the elderly gentlemen.
Moving on nice rural scenery.
Before you know it, we have clocked up 75 km and decide to grab some lunch in Maungaturoto.
We were having to work a bit harder now as the hills became more regular. We climbed up to Brynderwyn and where else do you park your bike at the junction with SH1 to take a photo?
The local shop has a collection of bikes. Lost yours? Might be here!
I needed more water and purchased the very last bottle from the staff member who seemed to be having a bad day. Very grumpy. When assistants are like that, I am extra nice, wishing her a fantastic afternoon. She just looked at me……This is when our ride today got ugly. It was pretty horrid really as we were on a major highway, with verge ranging from zero to reasonable. It was incredibly busy and to make it more interesting (as if more challenges were required) it was drizzling lightly. Just nuisance value whereby your glasses end up with water on them to reduce visibility.
Utmost concentration was required. As can be seen from the elevation graph, it was hillier now too.
Lighter moments in the town of Kaiwaka. What this place is I am not sure…maybe a cafe?
This building? No idea….
This cheese shop amused me. You can see on the left that it is a Dutch Deli…..but….they have the Welsh flag flying.
It was such a relief to arrive in Wellsford, despite the last climb. Curiously, traffic was crawling up the hill slower than us!
We picked up some food for dinner, as we are staying some 7 km south of Wellsford with no local food options.
Aagh it was gravel….not again! 🙈 A picture of concentration as I climb up this gravel road.
It is a lovely area though.
We are staying at Barry’s Air BnB. I stayed here last year on my solo journey, final night.
Barry is an interesting guy, currently working on set design for the next Lord of the Ring movie. He hand draws all set designs.
He constructed his house and is into recycling parts where possible.
Since I visited last, he has constructed an external kitchen. We prepared and ate our dinner here. Useful for storing bikes too! If you look carefully you can see my cycle clothing hanging out to dry in the wind.
So here we are on the eve of our final day. We intend to get cracking early for a few reasons. Traffic for one and we want to be back at Gervase and Deb’s house by mid afternoon to start cleaning and packing our bikes up. Thats the worst bit…no time to celebrate!
Anyway that is tomorrow and we rest on our laurels for surviving today!
Thanks for reading,