Kirsty & Nick's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Hawkes Lookout

Totaranui Beach

Depart Kaiteriteri: 1835 km (10.15)

I didn't sleep very well last night – too hot I think. Nick got up when the alarm went off at 07.30, but I stole an extra few minutes in bed. He had to wash up anyway, because we were too tired to do it last night and that meant we didn't have any cups for tea.

After breakfast and our jobs we set off back to the main road (highway 60) and then north to Takaka. We stopped along the way at a place called Hawkes Lookout to view the Tasman Bay and it was a fantastic lookout, you could see for miles, all across the bay and over to lots of mountains. The weather was sunny again, a bit hazy and cloudy (more so in the middle of the day), but generally very good again. We're slathering on loads of sunscreen.

At Takaka we turned off east and drove along to Clifton where we parked up and were (apparently) going to ride along to Totaranui (which is actually a place we stopped at briefly on the boat yesterday, but Nick seemed to want to go back there). However when Nick informed me it was about a 20 mile round trip I managed to persuade him to drive a little further along the coast (5km) to Tata Beach, and set out on the bikes from there.

We had about 5 miles of tarmac before the road turned to gravel. As I'm sure I've mentioned, we're not insured to take the camper on unsealed roads, so it's bikes or foot. Cycling on the gravel is pretty difficult and wears you out. The tyres slip sideways all the time, and you can't cycle out of your seat (which I often do on hills because it uses different muscles and gives tired ones a rest) because the back wheel just spins all the time. As soon as we hit the gravel the road started going up. And up, and up. In fact it was 3 miles up and it was really hard work. I didn't walk any, but I stopped to rest quite a lot. I worked out that actually 20 seconds is all I need to get my breath and strength back...then you get that great feeling when you start again and your muscles are rested and you whizz off. It lasts about 5 seconds I reckon.

I should mention that for all the hard work, we got some lovely views of bays/beeches along the way. The flora we were cycling through was of the tropical variety and we passed a number of meandering streams falling down the mountain.

Nick reached the top a minute or so before me and had time to whip out his camera and get a (no doubt very flattering) picture of me coming up the road. I was knackered. I knew at that point I could not go any further – beach or no beach.

We rested a few minutes and had some food. Then after a bit of gentle persuasion from Nick, carried on.

Actually the downhill was a load of fun – there seemed to be less gravel on the other side, and although the decent was longer (and hence the return climb!!) it was also less steep. We zoomed down all the way into Totaranui, which is actually nothing more than a campsite, a hut to register in, some toilets and 2 very proper, clean, modern phone boxes looking completely out of context.

We stopped for another rest and had a banana, looked at the beach (which was deserted) and out to sea for a little while, then we visited a tree stump that we could see. The tree had been chopped down, although it was hard to tell why, but the remaining stump was huge – 2 meters across I reckon. Such a shame to see really, but you have to hope that it was not a choice someone made and we merely cleared up what mother nature began.

We set off again on our bikes after about a 15 minute was hard work. It probably wasn't as hard as the way up, but of course we were pretty knackered by then – we'd been out for about 2 hours.

At the summit we had our last chocolate bar and then whizzed down the mountain in under 10 minutes – with a few lucky escapes on my part – still trying to work out what break to use when.

Then we just had the tarmac hill to climb and descend again – they were worse than I had remembered them to be, which is probably as well or I wouldn't have gone on, but it made for a struggle on the way back.

Altogether we were out for 4 hours 15 minutes and did 22.4 miles - 12 of them on the gravel.

We were lucky with the weather – again, and had sunny skies, not too hot.

Tonight we are in the Top 10 Pohara Beach, which is quite nice, best of the Top 10 by far. We're about to go wireless. We both had long showers, and then Nick made lamb chop curry, which was, of course, delicious!

Bit knackered now, but trying to stay up long enough to look at some photos.

Tomorrow I think we will go south!

Night, night!

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