After a choice few days digging spa wholes in the sand at Hot Water Beach, walking to Cathedral Cove and learning to both Slackline and surf with Claire, Tim and Jackson I [Andy] couldn’t resist a bespoke fully vegan cooked breakfast courtesy of the team at Hot Waves Cafe before mounting up and riding North.
It was Sunday morning and avoiding Highway 25 traffic was light even for the Coromandel. After a few km we pulled over to slap on some sun cream and were passed by a local also out enjoying a morning ride. As we started up the main climb of the day we soon caught and passed them again before turning off into the holiday park style town at Cooks Beach.
One of the things we have noticed here is that due to the long sang beaches boat owners must use tractors to launch their toys and as a result it makes for an unusual selection of vehicles in the carparks.
Back on course and we took a recommended side trip up Shakespeare road (steep with a gravel surface) to a view point taking in the whole bay.
We could even see Whitianga in the distance to the north.
The last stretch to Ferry Landing, and yes you guest it a short ferry crossing to Whitianga, we got passed by a small bunch of friendly roadies, always a good sign your on a nice road, and despite trying to keep up I had to watched them crest the first hill and disappear off to the next cafe.
Though being a bit pricey for what it was ($4 per person for a single + $1.5 per bike) the ferry was fun and gave us a chance to chat with a few locals off for a spot of shopping and a cuppa or two in town.
Whitianga is the first town since Thames to have a real full sized supermarket, in fact much like buses they have two right next to each other, so we headed there first to restock and grab some lunch. Just as we pulled in so did Nevile and Heather, a Canadian couple who were also coming to the end of a cycle tour around NZ. We chatted for ages about our experiences and swapped advice about what was coming up. Hopefully we will see them again in England or on a future tour in Canada! We hope you enjoy Waiheke guys and wish you a safe journey home.
As Whitianga is such a nice town and the day was already flying by we took Nevile and Heathers advice and headed to the local holiday park.
After a quick lunch I left Alex to set up camp while I headed off (pannier free) in search of the local mountain bike park. The park is a great concept with lots of different section from skill zones to trails and dirt jumps to a pump track so sorts. It even has a disc golf esq course (Thomas Hash you would have loved it), BBQ area and lots of space for spectators as well as a healthy looking vegi patch. However, it isn’t very well maintained and is in need of a fair bit of TLC if it is to live up to its potential. That said I still had a great time.
After dinner we took a walk into town in search of a bar called On Fire and the promise of some live music. As it turned out it was the venues last night and we were treated to some excellent world music by a very eccentric Spanish chap and the band. Even the owner was part of it playing the drums and the didgeridoo simultaneously!
But when the conger line started we said our fair wells and headed back to the tent.