To The Top and Back

was27th May 2017

Kerikeri to Pukenui 298kms

A relaxed morning with Vinny and family, and then it was time to go. I find these moments very emotional and difficult. We’d really like to spend more time with everyone, but we are not able to this time, and we don’t want to overstay our welcome. I look forward to seeing them again, and I hope we can stay in contact. So, feeling a little sad, we cruise off in search of the top of New Zealand.

A dinosaur on our bike. Lovely family, look forward to seeing you again.

The Bay of Islands is truely beautiful, and today, we have been able to see it with plenty of sunshine, and clear skies. Bay, after bay, after bay. Blue water, white sand, and all just a little different. With plenty of good guidance from all our Kiwi relatives, we enjoyed the ride around Matauri Bay, and to Whangaroa. Apparently the best fish and chips in NZ, but too early for us, so we just enjoyed the sights. Well worth the small detour.

Happyidiots at The Bay of Islands. Matauri Bay was fantastic. Great beach.

Whangaroa was a really lovely area. Lucky for us, no wind and warm sunshine.

Following the number ten highway, we had a great time riding through to Awanui, where we had a short break at the bakery. Back on highway one, it was now time to find the top of this country. There really is only one road from here, so off we went. There are plenty of bays and beaches to deviate to, but not for us this time. It was a great ride too, and we felt quite excited when we got there. Woo hoo, beautiful!

Looking to the west coast was amazing. So was this Brazilian guy, Max, who has been skateboarding around the world. Hard core! Seriously hardcore core!

In Maori folklore, Cape Reinga is where the spirits step off into the spirit afterlife. There are two springs in the ravine, that are significant to the spirits. One is to cleanse the spirit, and one the spirits drink from if they want to enter the spirit world. If they don’t drink, they remain on this earth. They use the roots of the 800 year old Pohutukawa tree to step down into the afterlife. It is a very spiritual place, it is also where the Tasman sea meets the Pacific Ocean. Awesome to get here.

The walk down to the lighthouse was tough on the stupid dick leg, but it was so worth it. Even if it isn’t technically the most northern point. It’s actually Surville Cliffs 30kms east.

Getting late in the day, we were now on a mission to find somewhere to stay. We’d spotted a couple of potential little towns on the way up, but now we struggled to remember which ones they were. At about 5pm, we’d had enough, and we were getting low on fuel, so decided to find something in the very next town. It just so happened, the town was Pukenui. It didn’t look like much, but had some hidden treasures. First we found the holiday park, with a nice little cabin, self contained, then Will busted down to the old 4Square, for some groceries. Next, we cook up a nice mussel carbonara, with local green lip mussels, for, get this, $2.30 for ten enormous mussels. Bargain! Have a few beers, and a good night sleep, after an enormous day! Phew!

Comfy little cabin for the night.

28th May 2017. Pukenui to Opononi 148kms

One big adventure we missed out on yesterday, was 90 mile beach. It runs from just south of Cape Reinga to almost Kaitai. It is officially part of the state highway system, and sometimes used when state highway one is flooded or out of action. In 1932, it was used as a landing strip for airmail services from Aus to NZ. It’s actually only 55 miles long, and during low tide, is hard enough for most standard vehicles. Unfortunately, low tide was around 5am, or 4pm, with high tide in the middle of the day. Bad luck for us, no riding on it for us, this trip. Instead, we could only walk on it, and decide it was a no goer.

It totally didn’t feel rock hard to me, so my personal chauffeur said No!

180 degree beach view.

As we were heading off from the beach access at Awanui, a cycle tourer was pushing her bike towards the beach. As you know, we always like to chat to fellow adventurers, so we stopped and said hello. Ena, from Austria, and her 70 year old single speed bike, had been travelling for about ten years. She was fit and healthy, and we can only guess her age, but wouldn’t be right. Another incredible person, enjoying the best of nature in her own way. She was happy to push her bike up hills or along the sandy boggy beach, and loved camping in the bush. Thanks for chatting with us Ena.

Ena and her very old single speed bike. She is amazing. 

Onward, and southward we rode, and the next surprise. Not far south from Kaitai, is the Mangamuka Gorge, and man is it nice. Up and around the hills, covered in natural Kiwi bush, tall fern trees, and smelling so so fresh. Winding down again, we stopped for a stretch of the legs, at a nice little stream. The weather was starting to change, with some rain coming in little bursts, but the sun trying to keep it warm.

Down a little gravel track, and look what we find.

From Mangamuka, we headed towards Kohukohu as the drizzlie rain got worse. We wound along the Mangamuka river, which flows into the Hokianga inlet (not 100% sure that’s the correct name). It was a very different area, with lots of mangroves and tidal waterways. Before long, we found ourselves on another ferry, crossing over to Rawene.

Look at these clouds, but of course, there’s always a silver lining, or at least a rainbow.

Will is loving his ferry ride, and the amazing rainbow. Raw energy looks like an interesting place too.

The rain was looking like staying, and maybe getting heavier, so we decided to stop at Opononi, close to the mouth of the inlet. As we got to this town, we did a little ride around to see what accommodation was available and decided on the hotel. A nice room, food, a beer, and a good view. Super. So we got ourselves some Fush N Chups! (Fish and chips folks), first time in New Zealand, which is pretty famous for this delight. It was fresh and good. For the rest of the day, it rained, we blogged and watched the America’s Cup racing, and stayed dry. Winter is here, and we have been pretty lucky really. Two more days riding left in Enzed.

Bloody rain! It actually looks worse than it is, thank god!

A friend of ours grew up in Opononi, and told us the scenery was nice, and she was right. The dolphin statue is for a friendly wild dolphin they named Opo, who frequented these waters in the 50’s.


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