Cape Reinga

Good things come to those who wait

To say that I was in two mind about today is really an understatement. I had initially not even scheduled a leg toCape Reinga and only changed my plan shaded by Shirley and Andrew. The reason I was not sold on the idea was that I very much saw it as a costly detour with 100 miles of state highway devoted to ticking the box of having been to the topmost place in New Zealand.

To add insult to injury the weather forecast is putting northernly winds all of today and torrential rain for tomorrow morning from dawn to noon raising the spectrum of a wet decamping operation. So to summarise we have: long ride up into the wind, rain and wt ride down. What is there not to love.

Road by Te Kao Bay
Lovely white sand dunes in the distance

So with my mood definitely scoring medium-low I set off this morning in lovely sunshine. To add to the delight 5 miles into the rid eI found both a shop and a caffe so I had breakfast, got some supplies and in particular a bottle of red wine which, since I have decluttered, I have realised I have space for.

All was going ok, wind not being too taxing and sky looking good but then, without any warning, the walls came tumbling down and I spent the second 25 miles of the ride battling the wind and getting drenched with an hourly frequency.

Not sure what it’s meant to mean but it looked fun
And this is what I had to contend with. These Pampa’s Grass must have felt right at home.
Looking with dread at what was going to hit me.
Reporting on casualty of the rain

The terrain up here is not really that interesting, lots of fields and lots of cows. There ae very few people, less than in the Cattlins, but this has the obvious good side of making the SH1 rather easy from a traffic point of view.

Andrew suggested this morning that I give a try to the dune surfing and, while I saw along the way a few places that rented equipment, I decided to give it a miss and just focus on getting to the Cape with as much time in hand as possible to see if I could spend some time just relaxing in such a spiritual place.

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So it turned out that ti got there round about 14:30 but I was both hungry and knackered. I quickly realised that this was the worse condition to be in as: to get to the cape observation point I had to walk, bike in toe, down and then inevitably up a steep hill, on top of that, to respect the spiritual nature of the place, it was not possible to eat at or around the cape.

View over to Motuopau island
The view improving as I got closer to the cape

Undeterred and cheered by the glorious sunshine I started my descent to the lighthouse observation point. On route I realised that there was not going to be an opportunity to experience much spirituality a the place was crawling with tourists.

As usual the appearance of the bike, and especially the solar panel created some serious interest and started at least 4 different conversation in the 300 yards between the car park and the lighthouse. In one of those conversations two Australian girls also commented on the striking bike tan I have developed in the legs as the biking trousers were a bit rolled up and showing the white they normally cover.

Stunning views from all of the path to the lighthouse.
And there it is, in all it’s glory, the gateway to the spirit world.
I love the pohutukava tree perched on the rock, apparently it has never flowered.
That was the only place where I was relatively confident it might not have been blown away.
Curtesy of a nice chap, who volunteered, me and the cape
Where would you like to go today?

After no more than 30 minutes I decided to leave. As I said it was a bit of a struggle not to be in the background of to many pictures and the wind was really quite fierce.

I still had 4 miles to ride ahead of me to get to what was going to prove the best DOC site I’ve ever stayed at. The road was unsealed and it was taking me in 4 miles from 600 feet to sea level, as I cycled down the only thing I could think of was “I’ll be sorry in the morning.”

Clouding over but, what a setting.
The bay in front of me.
And the view from the beach.

When I got there I had some food, a walk on the beach and started doing some work on he computer but round about 18:00 it started to drizzle and that was my get in the tent signal. It also reminded me why I have already ordered a new larger and taller tent as well as compact chair with a back rest, there are times where you end up spending a lot of time in the tent and doing activities laying down is only fine for a very short time.

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