It was another day when weather changed the plans. Having a Whangarei local on the trip helped scope out a ride almost opposite to the route map which looped south towards Managawhai Heads. It would have been a bash into the still strong South Easterly wind. Instead we shuttled East out to Whangarei Heads and rode North up the coast and back into town.
The surf at Ocean Beach was pretty impressive, for the East Coast, with the easterly providing a nice tailwind for the first part of the ride!
It was great riding and I made good time with the combination of downhill and tailwind. It is over a decade since I have been in this area and, although not too developed, there are some lovely new houses dotted on coastal ‘Lifestyle blocks’. One had a rather unusual mailbox (below)!
We rode back towards the Pacific coast to Pataua Beach, an ocean beach with large estuary/lagoon. I remember a family holiday there in 1974 when the ‘British Commonwealth Games’ were held in Christchurch, NZ because we took a TV.
Pataua has changed a but not beyond recognition. I remember we stayed near a grass reserve on the inlet but couldn’t pick the actual bach. Suspect it may have been replaced by more a modern house (below).
I was amazed to find one thing hadn’t changed. I remembered a long dilapidated footbridge connecting Pataua North & South. It seemed old when I was eight and is still there (below) today, if only just judging by the scaffold props, and now quite a bit older! Without a boat, or swimming, this link is the only alternative to a 49 km drive. That was once a rough gravel road but we zipped across the footbridge and I was pleased it has been sealed.
The ride toward Whangarei was pretty. It initially follows an inlet before climbing to farmland with patches of bush and, eventually, the outer suburbs of Whangarei. I had a short excursion to Whangarei Falls before discovering the rendezvous was back at the harbour basin. By this time is was raining again but a post ride change of clothes made the bus trip to our evening accommodation at Mangawhai Heads more comfortable. We stayed at some lovely holiday chalets and had a great meal to finish the day.