Orongo Bay to Whangarei via the Rawhiti coastal road

Day four

Tonight I’m staying with whanau in Whangarei for the night. So instead of taking the direct route South, I’ve chosen instead to take the coastal road and see the sights. It will put another 10 km on the day, no big deal.

It’s such a perfect day…

I got up at 6:00, the sky calm with a paperthin whitewash of colour. “Right, breakfast!” Coffee and a double ration of porridge awaited, so I went for water. Now where is my coffee… come on where is it? I’d only been away a minute, but it’s vanished. I’m not happy, nothing comes between me and a Jed’s extra strong bean bag to get my plumbing working before hitting the road. “It’s been nicked” I said aloud. That’s when I heard the rustle.

It was coming from somewhere in the manuka reveg’. With few choices and less time I immediately dove in and nabbed what was now a very empty supply of Jed’s extra strong bean bags.

Oh and I know who took them, there is only one. I heard him all last night, stomping through the reveg’, boom, boom, boom, so close I could almost smell his grubby breath. Oh yes I know who it was… IT WAS WEKA!

He’d stolen my Jed’s extra strong bean bags within seconds of me going for water. Leaving me with only the double ration of porridge and an empty mug to start my day. I wasn’t happy, continued to pack, got on the beastie and headed for the gate.

I couldn’t help drawing a little smile though.

If Weka gets into that coffee he’s going to have a different outlook in the next few days… so rather than sensing the natural delights of a night camping in the reveg’, perhaps the next visitors will sense something very amiss. A weka chilling out to a brew of Jed’s extra strong, with perhaps even a whiff of a gauloise and the low distant sound of a recently rereleased Lou Reed album. It’s such a perfect day.

On the road

So instead of turning right for the Opua ferry, I turned left for Rawhiti and crawled up the hill. I had this feeling at the top that should I go down the other side there would be no turning back. The wheels involuntarily inched forward with a little help from Sir Issac Newton as I slowly built up speed to the bottom. I was off, and maybe, just maybe I might regret it.

The place is pretty. Lovely little bays and beaches with pohutakawa dripping down to meet the sea, gorgeous wooded valleys strewn with white wild flower meadows, backed by steep inaccessible ridges.

Yes, ridges and valleys, ridges and valleys, ridges and valleys… one after the bloody other. If you want to see it.. awesome, do it, you won’t be disappointed, just take a car!

This little side road ditty ended up being an epic mission to rejoin the main highway back south to Whangarei. One very memorable (etched in my sit bones until the end of my days memorable) was the climb out from Helena Bay. Biggest climb I’ve done since Ajusco back in the big city. Needless to say I made it, next time I won’t put Sir Issac Newton in a position where he makes the decisions!

Ritu, the stop go lady

Oh the back roads and all those wonderful signs of bygone eras, all gone, including the store I needed to refill my reserves! I was pieless, completely pieless I was surviving on peanut butter sandwiches and half a salami. Worse still I was nearly out of water.

Turning a corner there in front of me was a road construction party and the stop go lady. So I stopped, waiting for the lick of a new layer of tar. I’ve never really appreciated the importance of the stop go ladies until I met Ritu. My parched voice politely enquired if she knew the whereabouts of a store where I could purchase a refreshment. “Nah!” “But you can fill up at the six pack.” The six pack was a double cab truck that carried the driver, two stop go ladies and the guy that leans on another truck with a radio and a shovel. The six pack was way off in the distance and between me and it was the steamy tar truck… waiting, waiting, waiting, then Ritu gave a shout… “go”. In a wake of sticky gravel I was off to top up my bottles for the ride ahead to the main road.

I will forever to this day be every grateful to the stop go ladies, I promise my maker to always wave and smile. I hope I get to see Ritu again.

I made the main road at 3:00pm, only 25km to Whangarei and there shining like a beacon to the faithful, calling in the worshippers from far and wide, it stood there, upright and proud. It was the BP 2go sign. I was there to repent, I was there to renourish my being and I was truly rewarded.

I was pieless no more!

3 thoughts on “Orongo Bay to Whangarei via the Rawhiti coastal road”

  1. This trip is starting to sound more like an odyssey in search of pies! I hope you are rating them for other future cyclists.

    1. “I ate another [apple] pie [and ice cream]; that’s practically all I ate all the way across the country, I knew it was nutritious and it was delicious, of course.”
      ― Jack Kerouac, On the Road

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