Wednesday dawned fine and clear. I know this because, unusually for me, I was up. Although not leaving till 8:00 I decided to go into town early to avoid traffic hassles. It was good as just beat the Auckland rush, arriving in town about 7:15. After dumping my luggage in the bus trailer I had time to wander down to Rosehip Café for a nice coffee to start the day.
We drove out of Auckland to the base of the Brynderwyn Hills. The first ride turned away from them, thankfully, heading across country to Matakohe.
The first time I cycled this, about 30 years ago, we stopped & camped overnight at Pahi, in the upper Kaipara Harbour. I stopped to take a photo of it (below right) and shot this photo (left) of a truck obviously didn't think the "share the road" (with cyclists) signs applied. In the photo the cyclist is not even on the road, riding a minute verge to the left of the solid side line. Several of the group, all experienced international cycle tourists, commented that this truck had been aggressive. It was disappointing as the vast majority of traffic, I notice Fonterra milk tankers especially, are good at leaving a gap.
We had lunch at the Matakohe Kauri Museum. It has been a few years since I last visited this and it has expanded immensely. It covers the history of the Kauri industry with displays of the lifestyle, machinery and products and is well worth a visit.
From there we rode to Dargaville across the river plains. Last time I did this was after a damp sleepless night in a tent at Pahi, we set out into a howling westerly headwind on a cold, wet December day. Although we were supposed to be camping that night the ride was so hard and miserable we found a motel with spa pool and blew our modest travel budget!
In total contrast Adventure South had arranged perfect conditions with sunny skies and a strong (mostly) tailwind for the 50km haul across the flat to Dargaville. It was such a pleasure to be zipping along at 20-30km/h on a nice light bike that in spite of — it must be said — rather dull scenery it was a lovely ride. The road follows the Wairoa River until crossing a rather large bridge into Dargaville.
We rode through the town on to Baylys Beach. Some of the visitors were surprised a ride to the coast could end with an up hill section! Baylys beach is accessed via a rather steep cutting which opens out to kilometres of pristine West Coast surf beach.
The Sunset View Lodge view over the Tasman lived up to it's name but cloud on the horizon muted the sunset. We dined at local restaurant, "Funky Fish", and I had superb fish (John Dory) & chips.