NZ Day 5 Opoutere

We are becoming better at understanding the wiggles on NZ maps. They mean hills.
Today we started with a short ferry ride at 7.30 am and then 18 km of cycling to aptly named place called “Hot Water” beach. We wanted to be there for the 8.30 am low tide so as to bask in the hand dug hot pools made during the low. Wisely, Mike & Robert predicted that the hot water would not be working as a cyclone (bearing down from Vanuatu) was predicted to bring heavy rain, wind and huge swells today, making low tide not really obvious. Sadly, they were correct. Still, it did not stop Rayner, Michelle, Don, Phil & Mark from leaving early. Ed had some catching up to do with 2 blown inner tubes – even before leaving the motel.
Mike, Liz & Robert decided to head direct to our meeting point at Tairua, rather than go via Hot Water beach. This put them far in front of the rest, so they continued on to our night stop at the YHA Opoutere.
Whilst the hills were not as challenging as yesterday, they still hurt. The first “biggie” being in the lead into Tairua, called “Pumpkin Hill” and the final couple just before the turnoff to Opoutere. Worse than the hills was the increasingly stronger headwinds and an imminent sense of rain (luckily we finished the ride before it really started). And there was the challenge of sharing the road with thousands of cars towing boats, as holiday makers rapidly tried to leave the potential cyclone areas.

P.S.  Photo is Rayner & Phil battling the headwinds!
Distance: 71 km
Highlights: The coffee shops – not that they were anything special, but hey the attractions did not happen and the weather was very iffy. At least it was coolish day for riding (22 degrees) and the ferry pleasant (if short).