Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Takaka to Farwell Spit and Back 9th-11th January 2011

Farewell Spit turned out to be a very hard slog on the bikes. It was only around 40 odd km but as it turned out they were the most rainy and windy of any which we have cycled to date in NZ. Absolutely relentless head winds and blankets and blankets of rain which soaked everything we possessed almost to the core. We were so drenched by the time we arrived in the settlement of Pakawau that we had to book into a cabin for the night, just so that we could attempt to get everything dry. Mel left me outside the only cafĂ© in the area, which doubled as the booking office for the campsite and went in to ask if we could have a room as opposed to a tent site for the night. Once everyone inside the place realised what we had just been through in order to get there, she received a round of applause for her efforts. She arrived back outside and told me what had happened and we had a little chuckle on the way to our lodgings about it. The cabin itself is more of a shed really, although it does have 2 bedrooms and a kitchen, but no toilet, we would have to brave the wind and the rain in order to pay those a visit. We did mange to get everything dry in the end though, I set up a makeshift drying room in one of the bedrooms, using a ball of string and the frames of the 3 bunk beds as a makeshift clothes, tent and pannier drying area. Our trainers didn’t dry over night mind you, they had been so wet that you could literally pour the water out of them after we had removed them from our shrivelled up feet.

When we left the cabin the next morning it was a much brighter day. We walked down onto the beach and took a few pictures of ‘Farewell Spit’ from the sea shore, we decided not to attempt to cycle any further along the road and instead to head back to Takaka.


We phoned ahead in order to secure a tent site at a place called the ‘Barefoot Backpackers’. 3 hours later; we pulled up there and got set up for the night. It didn’t rain a drop on the return journey and the sky was almost clear. It gave a very different impression to the landscape that we had endured the previous day. Some great views over Golden Bay, plenty of sheep and cows to chat to on the way, and some breathtaking mountains bathed in sunshine.

That evening we picked up some fresh veg to cook from an independent farm shop on the outskirts of town, so much better than buying from a supermarket. 1 big bulb of garlic, spring onions, red cabbage, broccoli and a green pepper for $7 – that’s pretty good for NZ! During the evening Mel sat in the tent and wrote some emails while I played pool on the free pool table and watched ‘Cable Guy’ with couple of Dutch girls who were also staying at the hostel. I woke up early in order to listen to the F.A. Cup 3rd round match between Norwich City and Leyton Orient. I needn’t have bothered though as we lost 1-0, such is life.

We both needed haircuts when we arrived back in Takaka, we booked into a small hairdressers not far from where we were staying on the Saturday morning, a 10am appointment. Mel had been really looking forward to getting her hair seen to as we had not had the opportunity since before the wedding back in September. In booking the hair appointment we set the wheels in motion for one of the best weeks of the trip so far…

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