Kōpiko Aotearoa – Day 8 and 9


Kopiko Day 8, sketchbook 1 is complete!
What a different start to the day – rather than waking to gunshots, we wake to the sound of Ross making scrambled eggs in the Tuahu station kitchen. Great breakfast, my clothes hand washed last night are dry clothes (yes!), so just enough time for a quick sketch of the deliciously decayed old shearers quarters and we’re off again. 

The original Tuahu Station shearers quarters, a roadside break and Taaheke woodshed.

Not much time for sketching today, just pedalling with the odd break. We stop for coffee and ice cream at Tinaroto pub, and looking at the map I'm surprised to see we’re only 35 km from Gisborne, despite being so remote we're not far from the largest town in the region. Further down the road we call in to Taaheke Station farmstay for a chat, some welcome food and drink, then on to Mokonui Station some 120kms later. Turns out Ross has booked us in and our dinners being prepared – I could get used to this! Certainly a change to sleeping in my tent and eating dehydrated food which has been our thing for most of the trip. The dinner was awesome, a big thank you to our host Tasmin!

Last nights delicious dinner, the Mokonui Station woolshed and the long climb out of Rere Falls.

Kopiko Day 9
Another cooked breakfast courtesy of Ross – and a real coffee courtesy of Mr Bialetti. We climb (and climb and climb) out of Rere Falls and bump into Chris and Charles, the first wave of this weekends east to west riders. They must have been flying to have reached this point already. Next we bump into Lou at Te Wera station, she has a roadside pop-up tent with food and water for cyclist. She's chatting to a big bunch of east west riders, one announces it’s his 71st birthday tomorrow – if I’m half as fit at age 71 I will be very happy!

Rider and a road sign, Lou at Te Wera Station and an attempt to draw the Pou.

On past an impressive pou whenua, 6 metres tall, steel, white, and reflecting the history of the local Te Aitanga a Mahaki people (my quick sketch does it no justice whatsoever), then to the village of Matawai, the old pub is long closed but the cafe over the road is open and has all the important things in life such as Peanut Slabs and great coffee. We sit for a while and chat with a bunch of recalcitrant old motorcyclists sitting around in their leather. They do their best to 'wind us up' with jokes at a cyclists expense, jokes about lycra and the lack of 'real' power of choice of transport, etc. They are very funny and seriously crack me up!

If only I'd had time to sketch all the cool bikes we see on this ride. Cameraman Dylan on the right.

Riding on to Motu village I come across this lovely old Morris 8 sheltering under an old shop awning. The Motu community centre is full of east to west riders inhaling bowls of noodles, looks like they’ve had a tough morning climbing up the Motu Road from the coast!

Further on we come across Dylan, official cameraman for the Kopiko Aotearoa he's accompanied by a couple of riders looking a bit worse for wear. One has been attacked by a dog with nasty wounds to prove it. Dylan pushes the camera in our faces and asks questions like ‘What have you learned on an emotional level on the trip?’ The questions dig a bit deep for a couple of riders only thinking of the trail ahead and what they're going to eat next! We spend the rest of the morning realising what we should have said in place of the unintelligible mutterings he actually filmed.

Urewera native bush beside the Pakihi Track, and The Pakihi Hut

Part way down the Motu road we make the call to ride the Pakihi Trail. It will be longer but we've heard rave reviews of the Pakihi. It turns out to be great decision, what a superb trail! A very narrow track with a huge dropoff down one side, but you don’t really notice it as the bush is so dense. The trail is so good we didn’t want to leave and decide to stop early and stay at the Pakihi hut. It's a good chance to do a couple of sketches while in some beautiful native bush.