Motueka: she'll be apples...

Hu Ha Bikepackers is only around 4 kilometers from the Hope Saddle. Setting out in cool air and low cloud, I crested the saddle comfortably. Looking back, Hu Ha is in the dead centre.

As I approached the top I was surprised to see another cyclist rapidly overtaking me. We both took the short side track to the lookout, and I remarked how strongly he had ridden up to the saddle. He was a young Swiss, with the dark good looks of a Fabian Cancellara. He explained that his legs were strong as he had been cycling around the South Island for two months. He was nearing the end of his visit and had to be back in Christchurch in nine days.

Leaving the saddle we had a high speed race down the other side for about 16 kilometers, then he powered away over a small hill and disappeared from view. 

The downhill running continued and soon I reached the turn off to Motueka. The Flat Rock Cafe at the junction was highly recommended by the people at Hu Ha, and so it proved as I stopped for an early lunch.

It's a lovely ride down the Motueka Valley, punctuated only by a nasty little hill just after Tapawera. The upper valley is mostly grazing land but I passed by a huge rose garden. Further down the valley there were hop gardens and orchards. The hops were being harvested and the aroma of hops filled the air as I rode past the drying kilns. The apple trees were groaning under the weight of the crop, and huge stacks of crates stood at the ready for the picking to begin.

Arriving in Motueka it was something of a shock to see bumper-to-bumper traffic through the town centre. I quickly found the holiday park and set up in a cabin to be my base for a couple of days.

Despite being mostly downhill it had been a long and tiring day, and after a hot shower and a meal it was not long before I was ready for sleep.

Click here for a Doarama visualisation of the route.

No comments:

Post a Comment