I had heard heavy rain in the night but was happy to find when I awoke that what sounded like morning rain was just the roar of the surf. The lodge at Punakaiki is close to the beach!
After breakfast there was time for a quick look at the pancake rocks, but not much blowhole action due to calm’ish seas and low tide, before getting on the bike. I have done the Punakaiki to Westport coastal ride a couple of times before but repeating it was no chore. The road one of the best in New Zealand no matter what your mode of transport.
This time the spectacular scenery combined with some sun and a handy tailwind made for fun riding. The ride offers glimpses of deserted surf beaches, some bush and river valleys. There are a few climbs, more challenging due to the length than grade, and a variety of terrain.
One feature of this road is some unusual, for a North Islander at least, road signs. I had take the obligatory “Penguin Caution” photo (above) but don’t remember the “Weka Caution” sign (below left) from previous rides. The “Slippery when wet” signs will forever mean “Grippy when Dry” to me after hearing Guy William’s skit about more positive road signs. It gives some idea of the terrain that there are corners on a main highway signposted 25 km/h but you can do somewhat more than that on a bike, in the dry.
We rode into Westport for lunch then it was a drive to Motueka. Unfortunately during a fuel stop at Murchison I as I stepped off the bus something felt odd. I looked down to see the entire sole of my cycle shoe had peeled off, cleat & all. They’ve given good service (used on every Adventure South Trip as well as home) but it was a pity they failed mid-trip. Only hope was to see what cycle gear was on offer at Motueka, if not maybe some contact glue to get me through!
Tomorrow the first truly challenging ride awaits, up the Takaka hill!