Nikau Cave Cafe

Day 71, Tuesday 31 October 2017

Nikau Cave is a commercial glowworm cave in the Waikaretu Valley, near the coast south of Port Waikato. I’ve never visited the cave itself, but there’s a cafe set in very appealing surroundings which does good food and coffee. The road to Nikau Cave is a nice twisty country road with a few uneven surfaces and narrow parts to keep one on guard.

I was there today with a group of Ulyssians. After lunch some took the gravel road to Port Waikato, but I stuck to the sealed roads back to Highway 22 and Mercer.

Distance travelled: 265 km. Total distance so far: 10,544 km

Tāpapakanga Regional Park

Day 70, Monday 30 October 2017

I have often passed the entrance to Tāpapakanga Regional Park, which is on the Kaiaua loop, but today was the first time I visited the park. It was a farm until 1990, when it was bought by Auckland Regional Council and turned into a park. There’s a rocky beach lined with pōhutukawa trees, which are just beginning to flower. It’s a lovely tranquil spot.

Distance travelled: 142 km. Total distance so far: 10,279 km

Mangawhai Heads

Day 69, Sunday 29 October 2017

Ten thousand kilometres on this streak, and I’m now a month ahead on my minimum average distance.

Today I planned to join a North Harbour Ulysses ride, but only two of us turned up, so I took the leadership. I went to Mangawhai Heads surf beach, a very popular destination where parking was at a premium. After that, we rode north, with lunch at Waipu and then took the very nice country road from Oakleigh to Paparoa.

Distance travelled: 344 km. Total distance so far: 10,137 km

Chelsea Estate Park and Kauri Domain

Day 68, Saturday 28 October 2017

I explored the coastline between Northcote Point and Chatswood today. I visited Birkenhead Wharf and the Chelsea Sugar Refinery, then stopped at Chelsea Estate Park at the end of Onetaunga Road to follow a trail.

The path was very good at first, winding through forest with lots of ferns, and birds singing. I was thinking how nice it was, but then the path started to get muddy, and then it deteriorated further, and after a while it was like an obstacle course. Eventually I gave up. This might be a nice walk at the height of summer, but it’s hard going at this time of year.


I went on to Kauri Point Domain, which had a very good path, leading to Fitzpatrick Bay with views across the Waitematā Harbour. The path has a very steep slope – pretty much a cliff – down to the water, and a couple of dogs had become stuck down the slope the night before, and I watched a group of firefighters rappel down the cliff to rescue them.

Fitzpatrick Bay

Distance travelled: 37 km. Total distance so far: 9793 km

Otaua

Day 67, Friday 27 October 2017

I went looking for a view over the Waikato River mouth from the north side today. There are a network of forestry roads in the area, and I’ve previously gone looking for access along Lookout Road from Maioro, but found only a locked gate on a forestry road. Today I tried to find access from the eastern side, via Ghezzie Road. That road ends in a security gate for NZ Steel, but there’s an unsealed forestry road going off to the right which looks promising. The gate into Otaua forest was open but closes overnight. Alas, there was a sign saying “Motorcycles Not Allowed in Otaua Forest”. They’re probably meaning trail bikes, which might churn up their trails, but I respect these signs and chose not to take my adventure bike down the path.

Distance travelled: 163 km. Total distance so far: 9756 km

Goat Island

Day 65, Wednesday 25 October 2017

I went to Goat Island Marine Reserve today with a group of North Harbour Ulyssians. This was the first Marine Reserve in New Zealand, and it’s a lovely spot for a picnic.

Goat Island is a common name for an island just offshore which is capable of supporting a population of goats. Goats are released on the island to provide food for sailors who might subsequently be marooned there. I’m not sure if there ever were goats on this particular island, but there aren’t now.

goat island1

Distance travelled: 252 km. Total distance so far: 9568 km

Wattle Bay

Day 64, Tuesday 24 October 2017

I led a group of six Auckland Ulyssians up the Awhitū Peninsula to Wattle Bay today. We took back roads where we could, including Te Toro/Lees Gully Road going up, and Boiler Gully/Manukau Heads/Kemp Road and later Kohokohe-Kariotahi Road on the way back. Lots of corners, varying road conditions and great views.

Distance travelled: 228 km. Total distance so far: 9316 km

Native Tree Cafe

Day 62, Sunday 22 October 2017

A wet Sunday, but ten Auckland Ulyssians were undeterred and went for a ride. I understood we were going to Te Aroha, but at some point the rider in charge must have changed his mind, and we had lunch at the Native Tree Cafe in Mangatarata (close to the intersection of State Highway 27 with State Highway 2) instead.

Native Tree Cafe

Photo taken by David Tantrum

Distance travelled: 264 km. Total distance so far: 9071 km