Lunch done so I head north and tick-off the clues posed by the organiser until Wairoa. Now there is a pie shop in Wairoa that is a must do destination. Oslers pies are legend but when I get there it is mid afternoon and there are none left. My diet is saved once more. After Wairoa the route takes me through Frasertown and Tiniroto or, if you like, the back road to Gisborne. I've been to Gisborne from Wairoa many times but never this way. I've been to Frasertown before also because it is on the way to Lake Waikaremoana and is a great ride if you don't mind the gravel. I had in mind to stay overnight in Gisborne but at 5 o'clock it seemed a little early so I filled up and pushed on. At Tolaga Bay the route has us go out to the wharf. You can read about the wharf here. There was an inviting camp ground next to the wharf and since I had my camp gear with me I was tempted but there was a howling wind blowing off the sea so I moved on. Besides I knew of a pub with accommodation 40 kilometres up the road at Tokomaru Bay.
Tokomaru Bay was a thriving place at the turn of the last century and boasted it's own wharf, a freezing works, a wool store and two banks. WWII robbed the area of it's manpower and improved roads robbed what was left. The works closed in the 1950's and even the banks have gone. The wharf is fairly dilapidated and the ruins of the freezing works give a glimpse of the size of the once prosperous operation. An enterprising couple have bought the ruins of the freezing works and have installed some cabins they rent out to tourists; me included. A totally unique experience. The rest of the evening was spent sitting on the balcony of the pub, beer in hand, gazing out to sea and watching the Maori kids riding their horses along the beach.
It rained during the night and the morning was overcast; so much for watching the sun rise. By Te Araroa the clouds had lifted and the ride to Te Kaha for lunch was just a delight; this coast is so beautiful. At Matata the route has us cut inland to the forest towns of Kawerau, Murupara and Kaingaroa. I can't recall ever riding the road that connects these towns but what came next came as a shock. While Kawarau seems to have survived the others not so. Murapara is not a town you want on a tourist brochure and Kaingaroa looks like an abandoned military base. These were once highly important towns associated with the giant forests of the area. The forests are still there but I didn't stop long enough to ask why the decline and to think I once considered taking a job around here. For me, this was the last of the questions to be answered so once on the main road I turned north and headed home, chain and sprockets all in tatters. And to think these items were replaced only in May, albeit in Bogota, Colombia.
|The fishing wharf (and cafe district) Napier|
|Napier wharf from Bluff Hill|
|Tuki Tuki river from Te Mata Peak|
|Capt Cook arrived here in Gisborne in 1769|
|NZ Shipping Co wool store 1921. Tokomaru Bay|
|Tokomaru Bay Wharf|
|My cabin at the ruins. Tokomaru Bay|
|The slaughter pits in the old freezing works|
|The country's largest Pohatukawa tree|