Woke to another stunning day; clear blue sky and already 22 °C by the time I was ready to ride. The agenda was exploring around Tākaka, get to a beach for a swim, and take the gravel bike out to test the repaired rear hub.
However, despite the late start, the desire to see 'just over the next hill' a couple of times led to riding ~76km.
Leaving Tākaka on a perfect day.
I found the coast at Pōhara Beach, there was some bike path alongside the highway but not much traffic anyway. Thought about a swim here, but such a long walk to the water! :)
Love the Pōhara Beach Penguin Crossing animated sign (video below) and shared path on this road section.
A view from Pōhara Marina to Kahurangi National Park in the distance.
Next stop was Tata Beach, another potential place for a swim but a little crowded today...
Last night I watched Jonny Smith's 'The Late Brake Show' drive an electric converted 1980's Blue Nissan Bluebird. Although once common, they were not much regarded and are now rare in the U.K., everywhere.
What are the odds of encountering a mint looking one, the same colour, the next day, in Golden Bay, NZ? Judging by the exhaust note it had been modified, but not electrified!
I'd only ever seen Wainui Bay in tourism photos!
The shallow bay and low tide expose vast areas of golden sand.
To give an idea of scale; the dark pixels in the middle of the photo above are people wading.
Maybe I'll just go around the bay and see what's there...
The lure of Pizza, and what's over the next hill...
A little sign, just another 3km, is two in the afternoon lunchtime?
3km and ~310m up a hill but, sadly due to COVID, Toto's was temporarily closed. But just over this crest... another beach beckons...
Besides, who could resist a downhill like this?
Love the shaded entry into Tōtaranui Beach DOC campground.
And it leads to this!
A swim and a strange 'lunch'
The camp is large, caters for up to 850 people, but nicely set out into small glades so still quite natural looking. I biked along the beach to find some shade, eat, and have a swim.
I had some snack food with me but hadn't really planned to come this far. There's no shop but the DOC office had a few basic supplies more aimed at campers (canned food etc) and kids.
'Lunch', at 3:00pm, was the banana, apple, biscuits I was carrying, a couple of Whittakers Chocolate Peanut bars and the only cold item left in the DOC shop. They had small frozen 'Juicies' pouches, locally sourced from Tasman Bay, that I've never seen before and meant for kids as 'sold in school canteens since 1990'. They were nice, refreshing and plenty of natural sugar fuel.
There was a bit of a double take when I, alone, asked for eight... Melted a few in my water bottles for the ride home.
Image from Juicies – Tasman Bay Food Co.
The long beach means even in summer it wasn't crowded; this was the view while I 'dined'.
It was hot, and so nice, spent several hours lazing, swimming, listening to podcasts, before heading back.
An evening ride home
Was about 6:00pm by the time I set out for 'home'. There hadn't been much traffic coming in; good because the fine white powder dust just hung in the air after vehicles passed. The camp gates close at 8:30pm, but few were leaving or returning so the ride home was also largely traffic free.
Was still amazed how well the minimal tread 'G-One Speed' gravel tyres were performing, grippy even when out of the saddle climbing.
It was still warm and there was no breeze, the evening shade was a nice relief while climbing out.
View of Wainui Bay on the descent.
While it looks peaceful this short video captures the reality of summer sounds!
Looking back to the hills I'd just ridden, missed seeing the tide in at Wainui Bay.
Looking towards Tata Beach and Tākaka in the distance.
Another penguin warning, but a low-tech sign this time!
The best sign
With lots of places still closed, or operating limited hours, due to COVID I was pleased to see this sign still out at Pōhara Beach. They were doing contactless order/collection and still quite busy. I didn't mind waiting but wonder why a local had to sit in their battered old diesel Ute, idling noisily, for about 20 minutes right outside the store. Wasn't for air conditioning, doubt it had it and they had the window down. I wonder if it wouldn't start again if turned off?
Dinner on the beach was nice, but the crowd who arrived were a bit noisy...
Sun setting, it was after eight in the evening as I rode home.
Tākaka evening glow
I didn't spend much time in the village other than cycling through and some food shopping. Love the bike shop sign!
Home, tired legs, a dusty bike, the end of a brilliant day. Thought about trying out that bath but took the quicker shower option as still had to make dinner!