Cycling trip Te Kopi – Cape Palliser
May 6, 2012
Gale-force winds postponed the scheduled cycle trip on April 29, but there was a much better forecast for the following weekend, so I took advantage of the cycling group Yahoo email account and re-advertised the trip. There were six takers, only three from the original list, unfortunately, but enough to make the most of the settled weather and head off for the Wairarapa. Vince’s enormous van carried four of us, bikes and all. We met Barbara and Don in Martinborough and enjoyed morning tea at a very pleasant café before setting off for Te Kopi. It is an interesting rural drive down Lake Ferry Road to the turn-off onto Cape Palliser Road. From there, the scenery is dramatic. Even from some distance we could see the towering pinnacles of the coastline.
We were at Te Kopi around 11.30. The quaint baches there are best-known for falling into the sea from time to time. It was fun to cycle out alongside the pinnacles that line the coastal road, keeping an eye out for rogue rocks. Don and Barbara set an impressive pace for the 19 km to Ngawi, where we stopped for a snack and photo opportunity by the sea. Then, through Ngawi with all its tractors, more established baches and homes. The road seal ends here, but it is still fairly easy biking for the final 9 km to Cape Palliser.
The number of steps up to the lighthouse hasn’t diminished, but it was warming to stagger up to the top after quite chilly conditions in the easterly breeze that swirled around the cape. Lunch was in the grass and coastal succulents below, snuggled against the boulders.
We’d planned to stop and see the seals on the way back but never imagined what a spectacular show they’d put on. Don and Barbara’s son was in the area surfing and he told us about a nursery pool where the young ones were frolicking about, diving and playing. They were truly awesome, dozens of them leaping out of the water like dolphins while the older seals stood sentry above, hooting warning sounds to any visitors. There were seals everywhere and we had to be really careful where we put our bikes in case we couldn’t get back to them as there seemed to be a couple behind every rock.
The final stretch back to Te Kopi was delightful, with glorious cloud formations and the golden light of late afternoon and the dramatic rocks of the coastline in stark profile. It was such a pleasure to cycle along in calm conditions, watching a straggle of surfers catching the occasional on-shore roller along the way. We were back at the vehicles at around 4 p.m. after a final swoop down past the pinnacles into Te Kopi.
- Party members
- Marg Conal(leader and scribe, Mike Arnold, Christine Ben-Tovim, Barbara Crump, Don Crump, Vince Jennings