New Zealand Day 4 – McLean Falls to Curio Bay

April 27, 2013

Was up by 5:15 hoping to get an earlier start. Took a little while to get things cleaned up and packed as it had rained through the night.

My first stop for the day was Cathedral Caves which are only accessible at low tide. On this morning low tide was at 9:20 and you had to off the site by 2 hours after low tide when the gates were to be locked. The caves were several hundred meters back up the road from my camp site followed by a two kilometer bike ride and then about a 15 minute walk down to the beach.

I was quite impressed by the caves and the surrounding area and spent quite a while there exploring and taking pictures. The caves themselves were enormous and connected in the rear. I would recommend taking a light though to get to the back (I did not know this and left mine back at campground). I tried to capture the long sandy beach with the waves rolling in and the clouds overhead on my GoPro as it it has a very wide angle lens.

Even the walk through the bush to reach the caves was quite appealing and I could have spent more time but had to get on the road

The walking track on the way back out from caves


I was prepared for more rain but by the time I got back to the campground, had lunch, and was on my way the rain had stopped. Through the day there was bit of a head wind but overall the terrain provided enough shelter. Once I turned south towards Curio Bay the terrain was more open but may have had a tail wind for the first time and was making good speed. Made a quick stop to look at Niagra Falls but not quite as impressive as the as the North American version.

Sunny weather on route to my next stop

Turn South where I picked up my tail wind or at least got out off head wind

Stopped for some information at Waikawa and they called ahead to Slope Point to make sure there were accommodations available at the back packers (the backpackers said they were very slow so not an issue).

I arrived at Curio Bay and took in the sights and bought some additional food at the little shop.


While I was there the wind was picking up and was straight out the West. Headed off for Slope Point which started off with 13 kilometres of gravel, but did not make it too far. The wind was now what I would call gale force. I was in my lowest gear and found it difficult to handle the bike on some especially exposed spots while also negotiating the loose rock on the road. Even tried walking for a bit but could barely push my loaded bike against the wind. I stopped to take a video and thought I had secured my ~100 lb loaded bike against a fence at a sufficient angle, but an especially strong just was able to blow it over. A camper van traveling the other way informed me that with the combination of high tide and high winds there was over a foot of water over the road ahead of me. I considered going on if only to see the water on road, or hoping by the time I reached that point the water might have receded. Stopped at roadside veggie stand to buy some potatoes for supper and asked the owner about the forecast and she said that it was supposed to blow strong all night. At that point I gave up and headed back to Curio Bay, with an incredible tail wind. Found it much easier to handle the bike with the wind behind me unless the road turned to make it a cross wind.

Vege stand where I got advice and turned back to Curio Bay

The campsite was quite accommodating and put me up in one of their more sheltered camper van spots amongst the flax and loaned me a few extra tent pegs in cases I needed them to hold the tent down over night. Believe I was the only person in a tent, which seems to be the general theme as the only other tent I have seen was back on my first night. I did notice however that all of the camper vans were rocking significantly as they were taller than the flax, while my little tent was quite secure and comfortable.

Sunset at Curio Bay

Camp site in flax

Settling in for the night and was invited over for tea by a couple that had just finished a six month walking trek of New Zealand. Overall quite an interesting and friendly group of campers in the campground that night.


One comment

  1. Peter Versteeg · · Reply

    More really great pictures Brent!

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