We left Wairoa after watching Chris’ team Spurs stroll into the final of the Champions League curtesy of pay TV in our motel. We were headed inland into the wild and rugged Lake Waikaremoana where we planned to do a days hiking before continuing up to Rotorua. Our map showed about 40ks of gravel but in fact it turns out there is about 120ks of it. After 40ks of following a river up a narrowing valley we hit the gravel which was loose and corrugated. With panniers it made it almost impossible and after a few near falls we made an executive decision to retreat back to Wairoa.
So, new plans. We’re catching a bus this morning down to Napier which is about 120ks. From there we’ll cycle up to lake Taupo and back to Rotorua which should take 3-4 days. That is assuming the bus driver lets us put our bikes on his bus. Luckily, as the booking attendant checked the roster, the angry bus driver was not doing today’s run, so our chances are greatly improved.
Tolaga Bay May have the longest wharf in New Zealand but Wairoa has the only inland lighthouse situated on the Main Street. It was a marketing stroke of genius when the local mayor relocated the decommissioned lighthouse into the town hoping the tourists would flock in by their thousands. Whilst that didn’t happen, a positive unintended consequence was no reported shipwrecks in the town since it was installed
As you all would know Tolaga Bay is famous in New Zealand for having the longest wharf at 600 metres. Less impressive is the Tolaga Bakery which had no cakes or pastries, only dodgy looking pies! Not what you need at 10am. This was the only town with food today, which gives you an idea how sparse the population is on the East Cape.