The nice thing about having other services linked to Facebook is you never have to use their awful website. The annoying thing is those links appear to be fragile. My TypePad > Facebook link needs fixing at least monthly.
Given currently TypePad, Microsoft Windows 8 People & Tweetdeck can't connect suspect the problem is Facebook.
We arrived in Kaikoura early evening and the weather was a bit gloomy. Although it was ‘the last supper’ (the trip ended the following afternoon) the atmosphere was the exact opposite of the weather. It was a nice way to end a great day, of cycling, wining and dining.
Although Kaikoura offers a host of activities — Whale watching, ocean swimming with dolphins and more — I did nothing. I have done the whale watch before and the prospect of a very early start to plunge into the northern Antarctic Ocean to swim with a dolphin was trumped by a lie in, leisurely breakfast and coffee before the last ride.
The inland road South of Kaikoura is a state highway but the vast majority of the traffic use the coast highway. It runs between the alps & coast ‘undulating’ from ridge to river valley. Although not high the hills and twisty bits plunging down to river crossings are enough to put off most traffic making for nice cycling.
I love this little zigzag downhill, below, seen looking back after climbing out of the valley. As we rode the weather got better & better finishing with blue skies and sunshine.
Our last ride finished in Waiau. I can recommend the hand scooped Hokey Pokey ice cream from Waiau Dairy & Tearooms.
It was huge and probably instantly replaced all the kilojoules burnt off getting there, and more, but who cares! Then it was on the bus for the drive back to Christchurch and farewells at various drop off points.
My ninth Adventure South trip was over but probably not my last. There is still Japan, South America, and maybe even some bits of New Zealand left to do if they invent a route I haven’t done already! You never know where a surprise Facebook message will take you!
PS: This post revealed one of those bizarre small web world connections. I wrote about Waiau Dairy & Tearooms but did a web search to check the name. It showed a great photo on Flickr taken by another “Capper” who lives in Wellington. Although no relation, as far as I know, Phillip and I had already made a contact through Flickr some fifteen months ago. Quite why he photographed the place I got off the bike & devoured an ice cream I don’t know, other than it being a classic Kiwi Dairy.
After a quick look at the lake, departure hastened by sand-fly attack, we got on the bikes. The morning started with a 30’ish kilometre run down the Wairau Valley. Although I have been to Saint Arnaud before this ride was new to me. It was a fast downhill run beside the river which made the kilometres slip past quickly. That said lazy legs, after yesterday, and photo stops meant I was far from front of the pack today!
We bussed through to Havelock, skipping some rather dull flat riding, and then it was a reprise of the lovely Queen Charlotte Sound ride. I have done this road twice by bicycle and once in the car.
It is one of my favourite rides so repeating was no chore. For us it started with a fast downhill, lazy bussed to the top of the first hill, before heading across to Linkwater. The letterbox collection at 1695 was worth stopping to photograph! Although the weather looks a bit gloomy in the photos it was warm and quite nice for riding.
From there you skirt the sound climbing around bluffs, descending into bays until a final climb to a rewarding twisty downhill towards Picton. Although it is a main road the traffic is pretty light as most, and all large trucks, take a more direct route towards Nelson. The ride finishes with a twisty downhill blast into Picton. Great fun!
It is a neat ride and for us led to a nice finish as we bussed to St Clair Vineyard for lunch and, since there was no more riding, a glass or two of very nice wine. The drive to Kaikoura can not be completed without stopping to visit these fellows, just a few steps from the main highway.
Today was another repeat ride for me and some others in the group. No pain because the Motueka Valley is a lovely road parallel to the main highway. It follows the West bank of the river and has almost no traffic. In parts groves of trees create green tunnels and frame views of the surrounding hills. Once out of the valley we were back on the highway but even there traffic was sparse.
A roadside coffee stop fuelled the climb over a hill to Tapawera. On the way there we passed another Adventure South group heading in the other direction.
I also grabbed an iced coffee milk and the combination of sugar, caffeine and calcium boosted my legs to turbo mode. There is a fairly dull few km, scenery wise, as you pass through some pine plantations and a lot of logging had done little to enhance it. However the riding and road was great and it was easy to zip along at 25-30 km/h. Bas found a sheltered roadside spot for one of his legendary lunches. It had clouded over and I felt a few spots of rain but it was still dry when we started riding.
After lunch the terrain got more interesting again with a climb to a ridge, then descent into a valley before the last climb towards “Top House” junction. I had two roads to find; BIM Rd related to an old post on my CAD Blog and “Robins Road” (above right). After a quick photo stop at both I raced for the last twenty kilometres in hope of beating the rain evident on the surrounding hills.
I didn’t quite make it as the rain caught up with me on the last couple of kilometres into St Arnaud but it was warm and there was a motel shower waiting so no problems. We are here for the night, tomorrow is a ride towards Blenheim and a St Clair vineyard lunch. I’ve been there before and am looking forward to returning.
We arrived in Motueka, from Westport, about 17:20 and headed for the Abel Tasman office to arrange the next day for those doing the ‘walk in the park’ option. It happened to be right beside a cycle shop — Coppins Great Outdoors Centre — which was about to close. Bas had glued my detached sole, Adventure South Cobblers?, but said “See if they have any shoes!”. After Motueka we were heading into country which hardly has any shops, let alone a cycle specialist.
I wasn’t expecting much luck as prefer hybrid road/trail cleated shoes. I hate riding without cleats, want a shoe I can walk in and don’t like those running shoe style ones.
I was still wearing my faithful, they had lasted about 8 years, Diadoras so when they asked what I wanted just said: “Something like these but without a sole which falls off”.
I zipped in to find some nice Specialized shoes, put on the display one, it was the right size for me, sold!
There was a comment about ‘male shopping habits’ when I emerged from the store about 3 minutes after entering carrying a shoe box and got on the bus!
Today’s plan was a café breakfast followed by “the hill”. Every time you mention planning to cycle up the Takaka Hill those who know it seem impressed, or consider you crazy.
I have already been down it once as we bussed to the top last year after a slow’ish, but awesome, flight over from the West Coast ate into time. I felt rather guilty to do the downhill without the climb and remember mentioning to Bas that I had an excuse to come back. At the time I didn’t realise it would be so soon but Takaka hill was one thing which attracted me to this trip.
The weather was hot, fine & sunny and there was a clear view of the hill ahead as we cycled out of Motueka. Takaka Hill is a steady 14 km climb from near sea level to a 791m high summit. The road is twisty with a good surface and quite a few slow vehicle bays & passing lanes. The traffic was pretty light with only the occasional heavy truck & trailer hauling freight over to Golden Bay. I enjoyed the climb but had to keep a steady pace up to match the amazing “B”, & James, even though I had a 25 YEAR head start.
A spectacular view looking towards Abel Tasman was part reward for the climb but the descent is the real payoff. Although not especially steep 13 minutes (according to Bas) flying down a beautiful smooth road stinging together serpentine cambered corners was great fun. Almost, but not quite, enough to consider climbing it again!
We took the coastal route back to Motueka, towards Marahau with a lunch stop at Kaiteriteri. The climb from the highway toward Marahau is only about 5km but much steeper gradient than anything on Takaka Hill. It also blocked the coastal wind so we climbed in still hot sun. In some ways it was more challenging than “the hill” itself. Again the reward is a downhill followed by a lovely coastal ride towards Kaiteriteri.
Arriving there it was clear that summer had arrived in New Zealand. The beach was busy with ferries, water taxi and kayaks servicing Abel Tasman and already pretty crowded. Give it a week and it will be packed.
Tonight we dine in restaurant which is a converted church. Not often an atheist goes to church but if The Gothic matches our evening there last year it will be good.
PS: Whitebait fritters and a tender rare Angus Sirloin Steak — too full to try the desserts which sounded nice — it was good.