6&7/12/15. Sunday is “pill day” for Christine which means that we cannot go anywhere for most of the morning so we decided to take it REALLY easy for the whole day and not go anywhere other than the superette (=small supermarket/convenience store) just around the corner. We spent the whole time reading, catching up on the blog (hence two posts and many photos added yesterday) and playing Ticket To Ride (a board game) on the iPad.
Today (Monday) we left Awanui after 4 nights there for a short ride of 30km via the major town in the area Kaitaia (population 6,000) as we needed to stock up on a few things including money. The direct route was down the main SH1, about which we have heard several horror stories (although in truth these relate to the road nearer Auckland rather than in the sparsely populated Far North, so we took a minor road which was prettier and quieter but which was a gravel surface for most of the way.
After topping up the money supply and doing the shopping we found a cafe for coffee and hot chocolate. Stephen is very much enjoying the Long Black coffees in NZ – they are a great middle way between espresso and americano – and he is yet to have a bad cup in a week and a half. While we were having a drink the rain which had been coming and going all morning appeared to stop and the roads began to dry. However, once we started again the rain decided to return and was more serious for a while. In addition, after a pan flat first part of the day, we had to go up a few hills although they were thankfully not as steep as a few days.
As we approached the coast and our destination of Ahipara blue sky started to appear and by the time we started pitching the tent the sun was out and we were able to get things dry before taking a walk on the beach (another beautiful stretch of deserted sand). At the campsite we met up with two blokes who we had met on the bus trip to Cape Reinga and who had left the bus there to walk down Ninety Mile Beach. They had walked the 120 or so km in 2.5 days! Impressive. (Although they did confess that it had been pretty tough and they were walking very gingerly!)