Touring and Hiking the Heaphy Track in New Zealand

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    New Zealand
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A ride from Greymouth to Hamilton along the west coast. This included a flight from Nelson to Wellington. There is no road around the NW corner of the South Island. But there is a walking track that takes 4 days. We had the bikes bussed around. This was our fifth New Zealand tour and I am sure there will be another. It is such a good country to tour on a bike.

Having flown into CHC, stayed at the airport Jucy Pods, bussed across the island on Atomic Coaches, stocked up at the Four Square, we are heading north 200km before the start of the walk. In Karamea we stay at the Last Resort and the Heaphy Bus Co picks up our bikes and panniers there to take them the 425km by road to the other end of the Heaphy. On the ride to Karamea we have the extra luggage of backpacks and hiking boots.

We are on the Heaphy now. The first day is coastal with amazing palms flowering and wonderful views. The idea of including one of New Zealand’s Great Walks in a bike tour is looking good.

New Zealand prides itself on being so “natural” however most native forests were ripped out and many other disastrous things happened (including at the hands of the Maori 600 years ago). Along the Heaphy though, things are as they were.

The Dept of Conservation (DOC) runs several huts. You have to book well in advance. It means you only need to carry sleeping bag and pillow and food and water during the day. This is Saxon Hut, leaving in the morning.

A side-track to one of the lookouts.

Weka. Watch out for your food!

Love the Heaphy Bus Company. They arrived on Schedule after we arrived from Brown Hut. We put the bikes together and continued North on gravel and then tar.

Riding down the Aorere Valley to Collingwood.

Bike friendly. Press the button and traffic behind you gets warning lights for a few minutes. This is in the Golden Bay region, arguably the best in New Zealand. A bit isolated because there is only one road in and that is over the scary Takaka Hill.

We’ve been over the hill before so this time we are going round it.

There are a lot of eels in New Zealand although there used to be more. Their lifecycle is amazing. When they are decades old they swim out from rivers to the ocean and to the tropics where they breed and die. The fertilized larvae float back on the ocean surface. They grow and swim back up rivers into small streams like this.

A land of plentiful berry fruits at roadside stalls.

Approaching Nelson. We will fly tomorrow. A few years ago, when riding in this area, I went to the airport to ask if they carried bike cartons and they did. Today on the way into town, I check again and yes, they have stock.

On the North Island now. Heading around to Whanganui and passing cycle tourers regularly.

The cows dutifully line up to be milked.

Often licked. Never beaten.

Mt Taranaki, close to New Plymouth. It is a first time for me to see this corner of New Zealand.

Heading up the Awakino Valley. This region is quiet and beautiful. These days mainly beef cattle and sheep.

Wild turkeys. There have been several rafters over the last few hundred kms.

After coming out of this valley we will be in Hamilton, and at the end of another great bike tour.

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