Today was the final day of cycling for the tour but certainly not the end of the New Zealand adventure. And a great final cycling day it was. We started out from our motel in downtown Motueka and had a nice flat 9 kms ride to the base of the Takaka Hill where the fun really started.
So let me back up and give you some facts on the Takaka Hill. You are starting out from sea level and climbing to 791m in 16.5 kms. This gives you an average grade up the east side of 4.7%. However the first 3 kms are close to 11% and then the grade slowly backs off so that the last few kms have almost no grade at all. Here is a link to the Takaka Hill on “World’s Most Dangerous Roads”: http://www.dangerousroads.org/australia-and-oceania/new-zealand/1085-takaka-hill-new-zealand.html The east side climb which we did compares to the Tour de France col of Alp d;Huez in that it is 13.2 kms and has a climb of 1071 m. The Passo Dello Stelvio is 21.5 kms with an accent of 1533 m. So Takaka Hill is not quite the same kind of climbs. In comparison to the Yarnell Hill from Congress up to Yarnell is 14.2 kms with an accent of 568 meters or 4.0%. It is similar just 50% more. Here is the google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/uDHKvNoR99J2
The views from the top were spectacular. On the one side was looking down toward Motueka and on the other you look down on Golden Bay. Looking east you can see the town of Motueka on the ocean and you say wow did I really climb up here. Looking west you can see all the way across Golden Bay and out to Farewell Spit which at this point is still 70 kms away.
The west side is a scary 10 kms down a narrow twisting road. I am not really fast on descents and once the I get to around 60-70 kms I am leaning on the brakes. My brakes were on full.
After the big decent we had a 70 kms ride across some low rollers out to Farewell Spit which is the most northerly point of the south Island of New Zealand.
Farewell Spit is this huge sand bar which runs for miles out into the ocean. It was a great place to complete our 1240 kms tour from the very furthest south point on the south island to the most northerly point. Lots of pictures were taken and congratulations handed out. Bottles of champagne marked this great bike adventure. It could not have been a finer day with blue sky and temperatures in the 20’s.
However there are still lots of adventures left on this trip as we make our way onto the North Island. WOW is all there is to say.