52km from Tologa Bay to Te Puia Springs, total elevation gain 649m
The weather today was perfect for cycling – cool and overcast but not raining, only a very light drizzle after the first hour or so. The first part of the ride was on easy, meandering roads through valleys, alongside cornfields and grazing sheep.
The first big hill was just before Tokomaru Bay, which involved some pushing of bicycles. The crank on Kris’s bicycle was clicking (unfortunately this only started on the tour, not on our test ride at home), so he is treating it gently by pushing on the steep parts of the hills. This is not actually slowing us down much, as Kris can push his bike just as fast as I pedal up a steep hill with a laden bike. William goes faster but stops to rest more often. Our pattern on this trip is to have a water stop and wait for each other at the top of each long hill, so we stay together.
The long freewheel down the hill into Tokomaro Bay was especially beautiful. A little Jack Russell ran out to greet us – running across the road and behind a fence before beginning to bark bravely to defend his territory.
We stopped at the Tokomaro Bay Four Square supermarket (the only shop along our route) to buy a snack and food for the evening meal.
We noticed that some motorcyclists had stopped at the cafe, so we stopped there too for a coffee. Then we went to have a look at the beach. There was a sudden shower, which sent us quickly back under cover by the cafe for a few minutes until it cleared.
The road after Tologa Bay meandered easily for a bit before a long climb to Te Puia Springs (which is basically at the top of a hill).
We arrived at around 1.30pm. There is nothing in the town except the hotel, a small store, a derelict district council building and a hospital. The few houses around town all have utes parked outside and a few have boats.
The hotel didn’t have great reviews online so we were a little apprehensive. However it turned out to be quite good – it is in a grand old building that has seen better days. There is a mineral smell from the hot pool alongside the hotel, which you soon get used to. The manager was very helpful, even offering to go buy us some food in Tologa Bay as the hotel restaurant was closed. He must have experienced cyclists arriving without food before – luckily we had already shopped. We ate our food on a deck at the back of the hotel. We also chatted to a retired Australian, who was very keen on the hot pool and some returning hunters who parked up back of the hotel. There was not much to do in the evening. Jenny soaked in the hot pool, Kris played chess on his phone, Jenny and William walked around town and sat on the front veranda until the sun set.