Awoke to better weather, still overcast but warm, no rain and still no wind from the threatened tropical storm. Opononi Lighthouse Motel was great, quiet, clean and right on that beautiful harbour front. It was straight back on the bike, I skipped breakfast in Opononi as had another destination in mind for that.
Although the weather was fine I was wearing SealSkinz waterproof socks again, makes putting on ‘still damp’ bike shoes from the previous day no problem.
The first 20km ride back to the Rawene turnoff retraced yesterday but no rain made it more pleasant. Another, better, chance to take in the scenery still cloaked in low cloud. This brick art wall, on the road near Opononi, made me laugh; “Contemporary Art is not real work, get a proper job”…
I was headed for a café I’d enjoyed on previous visits; Boat Shed, Rawene. It has a great location, cantilevered over the harbour, and I hoped the food was still as good as I remembered. It was more like brunch by the time I got there, so had a salmon bagel and a couple of cups of the excellent coffee while taking in the view. It’s nice to go back to a favourite place, several years later, and find it as good as ever!
Bagel, and accessories
‘Jonathan LS’ watched me eat, while I took in the view and watched back…
It’s a short ferry ride from Rawene to Kohukohu but having lingered over brunch and missed a sailing I had a bit of time to look around before boarding the next. Had been to Rawene before but never really stopped for long. Checked out the main street art and rode the mangrove ‘boardwalk’, narrow in places but managed not to fall in the harbour!
The ferry ride is short, 15 minutes or so, with quite a few cars and camper vans onboard but I was the only bicycle.
This rather understated structure in Kohukohu is apparently NZ’s oldest bridge. Built from Sydney sandstone used as ballast in the ships which visited Hokianga Harbour. It was sign posted, and had the history on a sign, but the local bowls club fence didn't seem very sympathetic!
Main Street Kohukohu between ferries.
The road from Kohukohu is a nice country ride, occasional bursts of traffic then nothing for ages as it nearly all comes from the ferry. Northland was looking very green! I had ridden some of this road in a previous trip but we carried on North to Broadwood and Ahipara, the bottom end of Ninety Mile Beach.
The road skirts around the upper reaches of the Hokianga harbour before climbing a few hundred metres to Mohuiti. There I turned East to join State Highway One at Mangamuka.
I passed the Mangamuka media centre! Noticed the very wet road in this photo but I don't remember that much rain so suspect I missed a shower.
Most of the tourist traffic sticks to SH10 on the East coast. Although it was Saturday afternoon and this is SH1, the main highway, in 30km only a few cars and couple of trucks passed me.
I cycled past ‘Happy Valley Rd’, hope it is a happier valley than the (excellent) British TV drama of that name!
At Okaihau I re-joined the cycle trail to retrace the last ~10km to Kaikohe. Met a roaming horse on the track, but it retreated back towards its paddock looking a bit put out that someone was on its trail!
The Kaikohe end of the trail features a ‘bike fence’. I think it is art, or maybe just a lot of parked bikes!
I was surprised the return distance 99.9km was only a few hundred metres longer than yesterdays 99.4km ride. Different route, the other side of the harbour and, apart from the last 10km, nowhere near the trail!
Friday vs Saturday ride route. Part of the Friday ride is mapped straighter than it was (due to GPS failure on both phone and band) but this wouldn't have impacted the wheel odometer distances.
It was back to ‘home base’, Left Bank Kaikohe, for the night and Mint Restaurant for dinner. I had calamari for entrée followed with pan-seared chicken breast stuffed with brie and herbs on a bed of risotto. It was lovely but I managed to drip some of the fresh tomato on my near new light blue Icebreaker shirt. Dealt with that by dashing up to my room, leaving it soaking, coming back in another orange shirt which had the restaurant staff a bit baffled until I explained why!
Finished off with an item the “Grown-up Dessert” menu (they have a Kids Dessert too): A chocolate cake like the one captured later in this photo. Yum! Day two, done!
Northland Twin Coast Trail Cycle 4 | Kaikohe to Russell, via Opua