Cycling New Zealand Part 7: Through Mudflats and Sounds

 

The Great Taste Trail on the way to Nelson

The Great Taste Trail on the way to Nelson

Cycling New Zealand Part 7: Through Mudflats and Sounds

Country: New Zealand

From Motueka to Wellington

Lesson learned: An average cow can give up to 36 liters of milk

Laughed about: Alex’s and Jana’s travel route was nearly the same as ours

Most wonderful miracle: Winning the raffle

Greatest challenge: Logging trucks

Days on the bike: 3 and a few minutes

Kilometers cycled: 174.8

Average Kilometers per day: 58.27

Total Kilometers cycled till Wellington: 18,640

Golden Beach

Golden Beach

Beautiful Golden Sand

Beautiful Golden Sand

Cycling New Zealand Part 7: From Motueka to Wellington

Ken knew his area inside out and took us on a ride through the beautiful towns and beaches of Kaiteriteri and Marahau. This area of the Country was called Golden Beach and we perfectly understood why. Ken dropped us at a crossroads, where we hitched a ride over the 700 meters Takaka Hill.

That's why they call it Golden Beach

That’s why they call it Golden Beach

Our driver, Brendon, was a dairy farmer and he explained us everything we had always wanted to know about cows and milk. Did you know that an average cow can give up to 36 liters of milk in a day? Or did you know that most calves were handfed, so that farmers could take the mother’s milk? Or that many calves were butchered only few days after they were born? Or that few bulls produced the sperm for all of New Zealand’s cows?

Brendon the Dairy Farmer

Brendon the Dairy Farmer

We reached Takaka, where we drank a beer with Brendon, while we waited for our friend Colin. We had met him back in Australia, then he came to visit us in Christchurch. Colin had visited many community centers in Australia and New Zealand, but liked the one in Wainui Bay so much, that he decided to stay.

On the way to the Tui Community we stopped at the milk machine. For $2.50 he filled up his bottle. Great idea! Apple harvest was going on all over the area and the people in the community were all busy in the orchards. We helped bringing the boxes back to the community house.

Raw Milk Machine

Raw Milk Machine

The community was a bit like a small village, just with the difference, that residents could choose the people to move in. Everybody lived in their own place that they rented or bough, and most people had their own garden. But the sense of neighborship was stronger than in most places. There was a community fund and everybody decided together how to spend and increase it. The community organized festivals and workshops as well as their own little shop and the community garden.

The Beginning of the Abel Tasman

The Beginning of the Abel Tasman

Upps No Chance to get to the trail

Oops No Chance to get to the trail

Our Dear Friend Colin

Our Dear Friend Colin

Wainui Bay was the one of the start points of the famous Abel Tasman hiking trail. Our plan had been to hike it for a few days, but time was running short and we only walked along the beaches for a while. The tide was high, so in order to get from one beach to the next we had to walk through the sea.

Rehearsal Time

Rehearsal Time

In the evening we drove back to Takaka where we joined the final rehearsal for an event called storytelling, that Colin and his neighbor Aralyn joined. Every participant had prepared a seven-minute story to the topic “Too late to turn back”. We heard stories about an adventurous road trip through a blizzard in Alaska, a cruise to England, the first experience abroad, that ended right at the airport, an afternoon in the Netherlands, the out coming of a gay man, a deep-sea diving experience, and a road trip through Europe. The stories were very personal and touching and in the end we felt as if we had known every single storyteller for years.

Chicken eating apples

There were so many apples at the community, even the chicken got their part

We spent the following day around the community terrain, ate plenty of homegrown vegetables, and learned a lot about solar electricity. The community also ran a balm factory and Colin made us a present of three cans of “Tui Balm”, one of them against mosquitos and sandflies. It worked like a charm!

Sweet Kiva

Sweet Kiva

Colin and Inna

Colin and Inna

After two nights, Colin gave us a ride back to Takaka, where we got another ride with a retired newspaper deliverer who made the ride over the “hill” (from 0 meters up to 700 and back to zero) twice every day and took hitch hikers every time.

Our Main Man Ken

Our Main Man Ken

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After another night at Ken’s place, we started the ride to Nelson in perfect weather. Most of the time we followed the beautiful Great Taste Bike Trail. For a while we had to follow the highway though, and there was a lot of traffic and many long hills. Our favorite part was a long row of boardwalks that led over the mudflats. The tide was low and the smell reminded me of home.

Through the mudflats on the Great Taste Trail

Through the mudflats on the Great Taste Trail

Light vehicles under one ton

We are officially NOT heavily loaded

The long boardwalks on the Great Taste Trail to Nelson

The long boardwalks

We reached Kristin’s and Marty’s home by sunset. Kristin grew up in Berlin and studied in Bremen, just like me. Marty grew up in Christchurch. Now they lived in beautiful Nelson. Kristin had invited her new workmate Jana and her boyfriend Alex for dinner. The two had just reached New Zealand after a 2 ½ year bike travel through Eurasia. Now they were ready to settle down for a while.

Marty, Kristin, Alex, Jana and Roberto

Marty, Kristin, Alex, Jana and Roberto

We talked and talked and later found out that we had all followed nearly the very same route, stayed at the same places and even volunteered at Adrenalin Village in Fethiye, Turkey! Roberto and Marty prepared delicious vegetarian Enchiladas and we had a great evening.

Fruit! WHERE???

Fruit! WHERE???

Apples for Everyone

So many apples! And as they were situated on the Great Taste Bike Trail, they even sold smalleermixed “Cyclist’s Packs”

An Apple a Day Keeps the Cyclist Going

An Apple a Day Keeps the Cyclist Going

Beautiful Trail

Beautiful Trail

Loaded Up

Loaded Up

Through the Marsh

Through the Marsh

Nelson! HA HA!

Nelson! HA HA!

Beautiful Nelson

Beautiful Nelson

We spent another lazy day in Nelson and met with our friends Mark and King, who were going in the same direction. Hopefully in the following days we’d finally cycle together with another couple. We had wanted that for a while but everybody else usually went to the other direction.

Alex and Jana

Kristin and Marty

Alex and Jana

Kristin made delicious cinnamon rolls

We got up too late to be biking with them though. For the first couple of kilometers we rode on bike paths, then we had to follow the highway again. The trees around us had bright yellow and red leaves, but the higher up we cycled, the more needle trees surrounded us.

A brand new part of the Great Taste Trail: Panoramic Pictures show what you are seeing.

A brand new part of the Great Taste Trail: Panoramic Pictures show what you are seeing.

The road was quite windy, but luckily all the logging trucks were driving in the other direction. In the small village of Canvastown there was a hotel with a pub. It was time to find a place to sleep, so I just asked if it was possible to camp nearby. The waitress allowed us to pitch the tent on the field behind the hotel. So in exchange we promised to come back and purchase something.

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Big Winner!

Big Winner!

Our Camping Spot

Our Camping Spot

Annika Reading the Map

Annika Reading the Map

Somehow village pubs were the same everywhere we went. Everybody seemed to know everybody, and it was a highlight if there were strangers from abroad. Tonight there was a raffle, the money went straight to the local event’s club. We bought a ticket each and were rather surprised when we actually won a pack full of mutton and beef steaks! The night was cold enough to keep the meat inside the cool tent, so we wouldn’t have to fear for cats, rats and possums.

Wechsel Intrepid Zero G Line

Foggy morning

It was a foggy morning and we didn’t bother waiting for our tent to dry. That would have taken several hours. 14 kilometers later we reached Havellock, where King and Mark had spent the night together with three other cyclists.

So many cyclists in such a small town

So many cyclists in such a small town

Together we watched the Anzac Parade, that was held to honor the Kiwi soldiers, that were killed in action during World War I. Many soldiers from Australia, Tonga and New Zealand had lost their lives during the battle of Gallipoli, Turkey, on June 25th in 1915 (exactly 100 years ago). Today was the day to mourn for them.

Lest Not Forget

Lest We Forget, tremendous feeling of remembrance and honor for those heroes.

The Piper Musician

The Piper Musician

From Havellock we followed the beautiful Queen Charlotte Drive to Picton. It was hilly and beautiful and we saw the Marlborough Sounds and many creative letterboxes in shapes of dinosaurs, cars and cows. Unfortunately it was so grey and rainy, that we couldn’t really see far into the Sounds.

View into the grey Marlborough Sounds

View into the grey Marlborough Sounds

In Picton we decided that it was time for a hostel bed. Camping would have cost us nearly the same money. We invited Mark and King to share our steaks and had a really comfortable night in the dorm room. Not a single person snored or farted aloud, nobody made their bed in the middle of the night and no drunk and loud people. Wonderful.

Group Ride to Picton!

Group Ride to Picton!

Our Good Friends Mark and King

Our Good Friends Mark and King

Picton!

Picton!

ALL ABOARD!

ALL ABOARD!

North Island Here we Come!

North Island Here we Come!

The ferry over to the North Island took three and a half hours and usually was a beautiful passage, but the day was just as grey and rainy as the last one and we couldn’t really see anything. In Wellington we stayed with Roberto’s ex-workmate Stuart and his girlfriend Abby, who had moved from Christchurch four months ago. The big city feeling was rather strange for me, since we hadn’t seen any big city apart from Christchurch (300.000 inhabitants) since Sydney, 15 months ago!

Stuart, Abby and Annika

Stuart, Abby and Annika

Most museums are free of charge in New Zealand and the “Te Papa” was famous all throughout New Zealand. Perfect for another rainy day. In “Te Papa” we met Dania, who I knew from back home. Her boys and her had moved here for half a year.

Jasny, Elias, Dania and I

Jasny, Elias, Dania and I

I still remembered walking Jasny up and down the fields on a Shetland pony when he was just a toddler. Now he was 14 years old and his brother Elias was 10. I had to control myself so that I wouldn’t squeeze their cheeks and shout out “well you boys have grown soooo much!”.

Wellington!

Wellington!

Wellington weather didn’t get any better throughout the following days, but we couldn’t care less. With a warm and dry place for our sleeping bags, weather didn’t matter

 

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