Maraes, moomoos, n much much more!
Trip Start Nov 03, 2010
23Trip End May 18, 2011
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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!)
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
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
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 rivers...you 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
All for now, keep those comments coming, we love to hear from you.