Day 40: Nelson to HavelockJournal for 2014-11-29 | Published on 2015-08-23 00:16:25
After all the kayaking yesterday, we both slept very well, and even slept slightly later than usual, waking around 6:45 am. Sleeping in! We didn’t have a super long day of riding ahead of us, so we took our time eating breakfast and packing up to leave. I did lots of laundry yesterday, and I think I lost a sock in there somewhere, but I’m hoping it turns up inside another piece of clothing later. I hope.
Anyways, it was a little chilly to start off, and we were pleasantly surprised to find a bicycle path that took us about 7 km to the edge of the city before we had to ride along the rather busy highway again. About 12 km into the ride, we came to the “warmup” hill, Gentle Annie Saddle, about 90 m high, took us 1 km to get to the top. Soon after we were climbing the first real climb, and highest, of the day.
I’m not sure if the roads in this part of NZ are just graded great, or if we’re really that much stronger, but we climbed up that hill with no problems, stopping to rest when we needed to, the temperature climbing with us. It was just a slow, pleasant climb up to the top. And then, we got to ride down our first big descent of the day. The shoulder was wide, and we cruised down to the bottom, grins plastered to our faces. We sailed down to the valley floor and across it, making great time.
We knew there was one more big climb for the day, and decided to tackle lunch before tackling the climb. PB&J on the side of the road makes for two very happy bicycle tourists. Once filled up, we started the climb, but even though we knew it was a big climb and the last 2 km were supposed to be steep, we were halfway into the steep section before we were even sure we were climbing the hill. Yep, we’re definitely getting stronger!
Almost to the top, we saw two cycle tourists coming down, and we paused to chat for a bit. They are Swiss, on the last leg of their 9 month tour. They toured all through Europe, then to the North Island, and now they are just beginning the South Island. They were super nice, and I hope they have a very enjoyable trip. They were a little concerned about the steep grades, but they’re in good enough shape after so long on the road it shouldn’t be a problem for them.
They assured us we were near the top, and sure enough, we reached the top, and got to experience our second grin-inducing downhill of the day. It’s just so much fun! We love it, and it makes the climbs so worth it. We had about 20 km to go, and we enjoyed the rest of the ride, as the wind was generally behind us, or to the side of us, but sometimes into our faces. But the sun was shining, and birds chirping, and eventually we could see the start of the Marlborough Sounds. We passed by some clear-cut forests, also, and lamented how awful it makes the hillsides look, but it’s probably for the best, as the trees aren’t native anyway.
On to Havelock, where we secured a tent site for the night, took showers, and are getting ready to prepare dinner. As the tour winds down, it’s amazing to think of how far we’ve come, both in distance and physically. These NZ hills will sure make your legs strong!
View of a bay near Nelson two days ago at high tide. Looks like an ocean paradise.
View of a similar bay during low tide. The tide flucuates up to 4 meters compeletly filling and emptying this twice each day.
Typically road as we climbed.
Large planted pine forests for the lumber industry.
In NZ the roads are only slippery when wet for set distances.
North end of Rai Valley
Havelock, NZ the green mussel capital of the world