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.
PPS: This is what we missed seeing, the lovely Abel Tasman (but I’ve been there before).