Another fine day, so much for the tropical cyclone forecast! Had breakfast in the motel (self catered) and set off for Paihia on the ferry from Russell.
I was the only one on the little ‘Waimarie’ ferry, not Fullers. The skipper, solo crew, was busy doing chores most of the way (paper work and polishing brass!) but chatted a bit once we got closer to shore and the engine noise reduced.
After a quick look around Paihia, several years since my last visit, I headed towards Waitangi to check out a possible route to Kerikeri.
Google maps shows some forest roads but I was unsure if they were really there, or useable. The views out over the Waitangi Reserve and Golf Course to the bay were lovely.
I diverted down the road to the, fairly new, Waitangi Mountain Bike Park. Although not on a suitable bike I was impressed with what I saw and had a good chat with one of the staff. On the to do list to revisit with my MTB.
It turned out the forest road was a private one, increasingly strident “no access signs” and the sound of logging trucks/machinery working in the distance made back tracking to the highway my only option. The road goes past the Huruhuru Falls, some people were kayaking in the spume below the falls but managed to avoid a swim.
I have done the ride to Kerikeri before (albeit the other way) so there were no surprises on this section apart from a relative (for a State Highway) lack of traffic. No visit to Kerikeri is complete without a stop at the old (1836, is old by NZ standards anyway) Stone Store. Not sure how many times I have been there but this was my third visit on a bicycle. First was in my teens, a proper touring ride from Auckland with a mate, and the second on a Adventure South trip.
I had lunch at ‘The Pear Tree’ restaurant overlooking the basin: a really nice burger, thick cut chips (the best) and a cider to fuel the ride back to Kaikohe.
I took the back road to Waipapa, and after a short section of the main highway a country road, Puketotara Rd, which skirts the edge of Puketi Forest. It was tarmac to start with but soon I was on gravel. Of course the CX bike was fine but one section, maybe 5km of the ~25km, was very recently graded so it was difficult to find a smooth ‘line’.
I checked out a forest scenic reserve but it was more a place to stay, DOC camp, and trek from than anything remarkable in the way of views.
Once back on the main highway I could have retraced the cycle trail back to Kaikohe but took the road around Lake Omapere for a change of scenery.
This was the last cycling of the trip, back at Left Bank for the night before heading home tomorrow (Tuesday). Dinner at Mint (again) was a lovely Herb Crusted Lamb Rump, with ample veges, followed by an indulgent Chocolate Marquise (mousse) dessert. It was a great meal which almost certainly replaced every kilojoule burnt off on today's 100.96km ride, and then some!