Our plan over the next few days is to make it to the north tip of the island at Cape Reinga. Today we set off on our own and rode south west to Dargaville.
This is Sunday and there are almost no cars on the road. The town of Dargaville looks deserted and all the shops are closed.
From here we rode north on the 12, which takes you thru the Waipoua forrest. We did a few gravel side trip, with a visit to the Trauson Kauri park, the Waipoua forrest lookout (not much to see but trees), and to the visitors centre where we had lunch at 3 pm.
Got to watch for KIWI! Probably not actually since they are nocturnal.
The forest look like Jurassic Park!
We decided to cut the day short and stop in Rawene before the ferry and camp for the night. There is a small shop at the dock to get for provisions and we had a cozy first night in our tent.
Getting up today it was less cloudy and warmer and we arrived to the dock just as the boat was loading.
The scenery in NZ is right out of Hobbiton from Lord of the rings (we wont be visiting the set as it is 70$pp), with rolling hill and small winding roads past farms and villages.
We gassed up in Kaitaia and found a hardware store to get a tarp (we did not want to deal with bringing our old one thru quarantine to NZ). And we grabbed some sandwich fixings and rode back 10 km to the 90 mile beach access point at Ahipara. The tide is still rising and we arrived at 130 with the high at 230. That said we did get some riding up and down the beach.
From here it was a short trip to Waiharara and the nearby home of fellow riders Roscoe and Raewyn. They have a lovely farm and we will tent in their back paddock ( full shower and flush facilities to boot). They were kind enough to feed us a lovely dinner and we slept well in the peace and quiet.
This was a huge Emu/Ostrich farm, but they now only have a few mating pairs and their pet Emu Carol!
Not often you can get a selfie with an Emu!
Today’s plan is to make it to the north tip of the island at Cape Reinga and then ride some of the gravel roads to the coasts and ultimately to get back on the 90 mile beach.
The ride up to the cape is lovely and the parking is perched on the cliff side.
There is supposed to be 90 mile beach and dunes access by driving down a gravel (or as they are called here metal road) and then down the stream at Te Paki. We arrived down the 5 km road to the base of the big dunes.
Here the energetic climb up and sand board down the slopes. There are off road buses heading at full speed down the stream to the beach. Dan decided to scout the water before we ride down with low low Lulu after the heavy rains this week. It started out well with water at most a foot deep, but it got very deep in some spots and Dan turned back when he had water almost to his seat.
We rode out again to the main road and then out on another “white” road 10 km to Te Hapua to see the locals fishing. You can see the white Silica dunes in the distance.
After another 20 or so Km on the highway we took the gravel 8 km down to Henderson Bay. This is again a beautiful beach with cliff access only and we decided in the heat we were not keen on the hike back up.
The last road was 10 km of at times deeper gravel to Hukatere. Here there is easy beach access with firm wet sand that leaves off from the gravel and you can ride all along the beach. The tide is receding now as it is after 4 pm.
When we arrived back to the home stead Roscoe was frying up some tuatua (clam) fritters for us all!! This included Rosco’s sister Connie and her husband John as well as his long term rider friends David and Sally. What a fantastic group of people who so warmly welcomed us!
It is like Hotel California here and you never want to leave, but leave we must.
We rode just down to Kaitaia to a cafe for brunch and then took a ride out onto the Karikari Peninsula. The road is paved until the last 10 km and you drive thru the campground and can park on Maitai Bay.
This is a very sheltered large bay with no surf and very shallow water for swimming. We stripped off and enjoyed the beach for an hour or so.
Then it was back to the scenic “Costal Discovery” route south with a side trip out around the peninsula to Matauri Bay.
Most of the bridges here in NZ are one way only even on the main roads.
The road initially follows the coast before turning inland.
The road around here is narrow and windy and steep at times, but there is very little traffic. You can stop on the way to admire the vista of the farmland, islands, and bays.
For lunch we had some burgers at a take away and Kiddie cones as this is what single scoop looked like!
It is now 3 pm and we have 177 km to go to get to Janet and Charlie’s batch in Mangawhai Heads…we will be late!! We stopped in Whangarei to get some meat and garlic bread for the bbq and unfortunately they all had to wait for us to arrive after 630 for dinner. We pitched the tent in the yard as they had a full house with all their kids and grand kids. We had a very quiet and comfy night.
This morning we headed to Mangawhai beach for a walk before we headed out again.