Maraes, moomoos, n much much more!

Trip Start Nov 03, 2010
Trip End May 18, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Hey there everyone!

Seems like ages since we last updated you on our whereabouts back in Whakatane.  Well, where to start??  Our first destination after leaving Whakatane was Opotiki, which is the "gateway to east cape".  What a great town it is, and we recommend the coffee at Two Fish cafe!  After setting up the tents in the local campground, we settled into our evening ritual which consists of whipping up cups of limo (NZ's healthy version of hot chocolate) and setting the 7-minute 3-cheese macaroni on to boil...mmmmouthwatering I know!
A few of the local dirt-bike riders had us a bit worried that it might be a sleepless night, as they tore around in the field next to the campground, doing wheelies and other crazy daredevil tricks.  But they went off elsewhere at a reasonable hour and our worries were for nought.  Instead, the local horses came by to say goodnight, and greeted us in the morning as well, as they went about their morning ablutions and nostril blowing :)

After coffee at the said Two Fish cafe, it was back on the road towards Omaio (or as we later called it "Ohmyohmy" as in, my butt is sore again!).  Several hours and a few climbs later, our travels along a washed out main stretch of road in the midst of repair brought us to a cold, clear river, where we decided to have a swim and wash off the day's grime.  Not quite all the way to Omaio, but close enough we figured!  We cycled a wee bit further along and set up camp on a point of land near Whitianga bay.  What a fantastic spot!  A few evening calisthenics, a flattened, travel-weary chocolate muffin with my tea and a gorgeous sunset were among the highlights.  

The next morning we were off bright and early, heading for Waihau Bay.  There are some beautiful maraes along this route, many of which I stopped at to admire the carvings and take some photos (unfortunately I've forgotten my usb cable so can't upload any of these for you to see at the moment...I'll try to get this sorted out in Napier or Wellington).  Late afternoon we were nearly to Waihau Bay, so decided to ask a local farmer if it would be alright to camp in one of his paddocks for the night.  The first house we approached looked welcoming, but we were a tad hesitant, what with the possibility of rather large canines being on guard duty! 

Not to worry, the friendly young guy who came out to greet us was not accompanied by any 4-legged growlers and cheerfully agreed to our request for a campsite.  There were some lovely spots across the road, under some large pohutukawa trees, so we set up camp quickly and went off to the local river, again to go through our ritual cleansing from a hard day's riding.  So good to end the day this way, and it sets us up for a good night's sleep.  That evening, the local bovines noticed us and decided to come over to say hello.  Several of them were quite nosy...literally!  They took a strong interest in G-man's tent, which must have had a nice coating of salt spray residue on was now the new community salt-lick apparently!  With a bit of coaxing, they headed off to other climes and left us in peace for the night.

Next day it was off towards Te Araroa.  We stopped in Waihau Bay for a morning cup of tea and cheeseburger.  Well, I had requested tea since it was on the menu, but was quickly informed by the "friendly" employee, that tea wouldn't be possible!  As she kindly put it... "No, we don't have tea, only coffee".  Ok, that's fine says I, I'll have coffee instead.  "It's over there" says she, pointing to an instant coffee machine.  So off I toddled across the room to said machine...only to be greeted by a blinking red light that told me there was "no water".  So I chirped up cheerily to the "friendly" employee again who responded with an exasperated exhaling groan/sigh!  I guess on arriving at the place I had unknowingly pissed in her Wheatbix that morning!  In any case, she did bring some more water, made a cheeseburger that was actually quite good and we were on our way again (but without water as she sent us off by refusing to fill our bottles since they're on a rainwater supply!)  Ahhh, joy!  Ya just gotta laugh at these experiences!    

After bedding down next to a river just southeast of Hicks Bay that evening, we were greeted next morning by the sounds of galloping horses!  Yikes!  They were pretty close to us, as they snorted away and shook out the cobwebs from the night's sleep.  But again, it was nothing to fear and left me with an excitement for the upcoming day.  We headed towards Tikitiki and the beautiful church there, which has amazing wood carvings inside.  Definitely one of the most beautiful buildings I've seen in NZ.  It threatened rain, so we headed to Eastenders backpackers, 8Km further on for the night.  It's a great campsite, well worth the extra pedaling!

Tokomaru Bay was the next destination and we rode through some heavy rain to get there.  We were advised that "Brian's place" was the place of choice to stay in "Toko", so we checked in with relief as the sun shone through the clouds and enabled us to get into dry tents that night.  It was about then that we realized our plight, as neither G-man or I had any cash left and none in an accessible bank account...any hardly anyone takes credit cards.  There are no ATM machines between Opotiki and Gisborne (this is quite some distance when you're riding a bicycle!).  Some local ingenuity by a shop-owner in Toko enabled us to get a bit of cash by charging G $60 for a chocolate bar on his credit card and giving him the excess..woohoo!  We used that cash to pay Brian's place and get a few groceries.

The riding to that point was awesome.  Yes there are logging trucks, but not many and they by and large gave us plenty of room as they passed us.  Quiet, seaside views, fresh air, crisp clear water from local don't need much more.  

It does get significantly busier south of Tolaga Bay and I must say that I don't recommend this stretch of road to cyclists at present.  Apparently the price of wood is up at the moment, so they're logging 24-7.  Logging trucks had been passing us up to that point about once every hour or two, but this increased to every two or three minutes on this last stretch of road!  And I'm not exaggerating.  At one point we were passed by four fully loaded trucks in a row and two in a row was common.  And of course in typical NZ style, the lead truck was being tail-gated by the followers.  Seems like a two or three-second following distance is a completely foreign concept here...more like a half second at most unfortunately!  But I won't gripe on too much about this, as the scenery was still amazing and we did arrive in Gisborne safe and sound.  

Now it's off towards Napier...we might cheat a bit and take a bus, depending on how many logging trucks are on the upcoming stretch of road.  We've been informed that the ride from Gisborne to Napier is some of the hardest in the country...three gorges to descend into and climb out of and narrow, winding roads.  Gulp!  But we'll be careful, and as I say, may take the bus to Napier if it's too hairy.    

All for now, keep those comments coming, we love to hear from you.


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David Seller on

Awesome, and great to hear the details of your time 'behind the moon with no communication' - good to have you back again.
After reaching a certain 'butt swelling level' in unison, bus reprieves are acceptable to this observer - while sitting in my rocking chair.
Well done, good and faithful peddlers!
I'm seeing no coastal route to Wellington - you don't have to create one!

Pat on

So good to here from you again. busy getting ready for client xmas party. oh how i would love to be in your part of the country. Moana given notice too finishes jan. Its a hard slog from gisborne to napier . A bus trip sounds good

Sue on

Did you walk out the 660 metres at the wharf at Tolaga Bay? I used to spend every Christmas there from when I was 9 years old (do I hear you say - not that long ago then????) to about 17/18. Loved it. Gotta love the East Coast - different time zone. Take care

Kitts & Me on

Hey mate, good to hear from you again, we think take the bus!.

Sounds like a blast you are having and it's great I'm getting all my fitness vicariously..

FRS on

Yaay!! welcome back to your Canadian fan club. So good to hear how things have been going. Good swims do wonders, don't they. Yes, take the bus-- we won't tell anyone. You'll really enjoy Napier when you reach there --- great art deco buildings to see. Happy trails to you both --- awesome progress.

Vicky Bethell on

In 1997 I rode my horse around the East Cape, from Hawai Bay (near Opotoki) to Tikitiki via the East Cape lighthouse, over a period of about 2 weeks. It's been wonderful to read of this leg of your journey - it takes me back to an amazing time in my life. I have some good friends down that way, wish I'd realsised as I could give you some good contacts ( bit late now!). My friends Leigh and Tennant Mc Neil are 1 1/2 hrs drive inland from Gisborne toward the Ureweras on the Tahunga-Pehiri road, at Ngatimata station ph 06 8676785 if that's any help.
I have to say I'm glad I rode a horse!
lots of love to you guys, love Vicky

Anne & Jochen on

Yay! So glad to hear from you two again and to know that all is well. We both agree that a bus trip is definitely the way to go to Napier! Take good care of yourselves and have fun - we're all right there with you! Lots of love from us, A&J - a.k.a. The Stefan & G-man Fan Club in Germany (Heidelberg Chapter)

mom/c on

Yaay, I'm so enjoying a vicarious adventure with you two, thanks to your detailed descriptions. Yep, I agree - takeabus, takeabus. It's bigger up against those logging trucks! Meanwhile back in PEI, there's a coating of ice on trees and land - that in between temp that makes the landscape look like a postcard. Glad we're moving soon to avoid icy highways. Much love and encouragement from this neck of the woods.

Aunt Joanie on

I agree with your Mom-- We are enjoying the trip with you.-----DON'T FIGHT THE LOGGING TRUCKS,PLEASE. TAKE THE BUS. Stay safe, both of you. Love and Hugs to both,

Jen on

Let me know If you need me to send Chip overseas to pick you up! Sounds like all is well in the land of Kiwis.. Saw first Flurries here last night :)

Aroha on

Hey Stefan, what an awesome trip. The East Cape is beautiful, rugged but peaceful. Those logging trucks are a menace, still its better than being at work. The weather has held up for you both. Watch out for the mossies, they can be nasty out your way.

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