Cycling 🚲 New Zealand: West Coast of Northland

Maungaturoto to Ahipara 296 km in four days (three days of cycling + one rest day)

welcome

I had a rest day in Waipu with my warm showers hosts because of the bad weather that was passing over New Zealand. That day it rained and the wind was too strong to even walk, let alone cycle. The next day the rain had stopped but the wind was still there. I had planned to continue north along the east coast but now the wind was coming from the east so it made sense to go west. It didn’t take long to make the decision and I was on my way to the west coast.

Kathryn, my host, gave me a ride over some very steep hills with heavy traffic and left me at Maungaturoto. From here I was flying with the wind. That day I made 115 km.
lamb landscape

arty farties

Kumara is the sweet potato that feeds a lot of people in the Pacific and was the staple food of the Maori. This part of NZ is the main kumara producer.

Kumara is the sweet potato that feeds a lot of people in the Pacific and was the staple food of the Maori. This part of NZ is the main kumara producer.

Wairoa river and TJ

The Wairoa river

The Wairoa river

I was going to stay in Dargaville which is the main town in the area but arrived there quite early so I pushed on to the Kai Iwi lakes which was a a bit of a detour but it was a beautiful place to spend the night. I freedom camped at a nice secluded spot thanks to recommendations from Geocaching.

At Kai Iwi lakes there was a campsite but pretty exposed and I preferred to camp next to a wall  that windy night. I stopped here to pick up a geocache and the cahe owner had written that he would freedom camp at this spot - perfect location next to the lake and some walks around.

At Kai Iwi lakes there was a campsite but pretty exposed and I preferred to camp next to a wall that windy night. I stopped here to pick up a geocache and the cahe owner had written that he would freedom camp at this spot – perfect location next to the lake and some walks around.

kai iwi tree

kai iwi birds

The next day I cycled through the famous Waipoa forest that is one of the biggest areas of native bush in NZ. It rained on and off that day. It was also the day I met Mark, an Australian cyclist in his 50s who retired, sold everything and went on to cycle the world. We cycled for a bit that day but then would cycle again for many days later.

Waipoa forest is a tourist attraction because it is a protected large area of native bush. When the westerners came they cut down most of the forest in NZ to do farming or plant pine trees for timber. Waipoa has some pretty old and big native kauri trees.

Waipoa forest is a tourist attraction because it is a protected large area of native bush. When the westerners came they cut down most of the forest in NZ to do farming or plant pine trees for timber. Waipoa has some pretty old and big native kauri trees.

kauri2 kauri3

After Waipoa, the road took me to the beautiful Hokianga harbor. I couchsurfed there for two nights, took a rest day and explored the area. By far some of the best views in Northland.

hokianga gopro

View from my couchsurfing host's place over Hokianga harbour.

View from my couchsurfing host’s place over Hokianga harbour.

The road then follows the length of Hokianga harbor and after a ferry crossing continues further north. It’s a quiet road, with some rolling hills, good for cycling. That day I reached the small town of Ahipara and the famous 90 mile beach.

Another place I stopped at thanks to geocaching. This is a pile of junk or a piece of art - I haven't decided yet, but TJ fits in perfectly I think.

Another place I stopped at thanks to geocaching. This is a pile of junk or a piece of art – I haven’t decided yet, but TJ fits in perfectly I think.

A closer look at some of it.

A closer look at some of it.

cow wanted NZ_Leg222

Many things cross the roads in NZ - kiwis, ducks, cows, sheep, drunk kiwis and barefoot children.

Many things cross the roads in NZ – kiwis, ducks, cows, sheep, drunk kiwis and barefoot children.

horse rug sale modern house

It looks less impressive now but it is still there.

It looks less impressive now but it is still there.

Ahipara is at the southern end of the 90 mile beach, which is actually around 85 km long and is wide enough with the sand hard enough at low tide for cars and buses (and bicycles) to drive on it. But that is another story...

Ahipara is at the southern end of the 90 mile beach, which is actually around 85 km long and is wide enough with the sand hard enough at low tide for cars and buses (and bicycles) to drive on it. But that is another story…

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