Today we got to have fun while Bas did the 400+km drive from Karamea to Takaka. It was also sad as Pep (from Adventure South) left with him heading back to work at the Christchurch Office. She will be missed!
Former Adventure South’er "The other Robyn" put her guiding hat back on for a few hours and was assisted by Karamea local Dave. I thought he was just driving us out to the Oparara bush/cave walks but he stayed & walked with us. A lovely guy whose local knowledge, yarns and humour really made the visit memorable.
Dave dropped us at Karamea Aerodrome for the next leg of our journey, a short flight to Takaka. It was another spectacular day so we saw Kahurangi National Park looking at its best from the air.
I like flying and swooping around mountain peaks (in a small 4 seat aircraft) was awesome. We soared thermals up the western mountain faces, picking our way through the peaks, then popped over a ridge to see Golden Bay appear before us. The weather was so clear you could see from Farewell Spit to beyond Nelson!
A quick descent and smooth landing later we met Bas again. His 6 hour drive (with bus, luggage & bikes) had taken us about 30-40 minutes.
Unfortunately the need to do a couple extra shuttle flights ate into the time we were supposed to spend climbing the Takaka Hill (which also had one stretch of roadworks). One advantage of a supported trip is you don't have to cycle every kilometre we so skipped the 10km, 930m high, ascent but not the descent on the other side! The bonus was it also meant had the chance to visit the amazing Pupu Springs. A cold fresh water spring which is said to have the clearest water on earth. So tempting to take a swim but it's not permitted to preserve the pristine water.
I must admit my guilt about riding down a hill I hadn't ridden up vanished by the time we got to the top of the Takaka Hill. Although would like to do it one day we didn't have the time really doubt I had the legs for it anyway!
The downhill was awesome, twice caught the same car even though I stopped for a photo (& they didn't). Not massively steep but kilometres of swooping smooth tarmac curves & hairpins where maintaining 40-70km/h meant you were going as fast as those vehicles with motors.
Adding a loop to the coast via Marahau/Kaiteriteri added a few hills and meant we'd cycled about 45km by the time we arrived in Motueka.
Thai dinner tonight and then it's time to pack a day pack for tomorrow's tramping and kayaking.