What could add more fun to a 30th wedding anniversary weekend in Martinborough with our good friends, Susan and Darryl? You guessed it, cycling.
But first, an amazing meal at Karahui Wine Bar and Eatery with the wedding party – Susan, Darryl, Greg (Darryl’s brother, the best man) and myself (bridesmaid) and our partners, Lynn and Matt.
Karahui describes itself as “a modern dining destination, offering great food and wine served by happy people.” And they are completely right. Anh Le was happy (and knowledgeable and attentive) and the food was wonderful and beautifully presented. They had interesting wines, including my first try of an “orange” wine, which comes from a white grape which has been macerated with the skin. Mine was a reisling/gewurztraminer blend with a great colour and interesting flavour which grew on me. Then an unusual and tasty red dessert wine, Clearview Sea Red from Hawkes Bay. A perfect dinner out to celebrate the anniversary.
The next day started with light drizzle and wind with the threat of worsening conditions. We chose a short, wild, coastal ride at Ocean Beach, and a ridiculous but practical head covering option for myself.
The Motom managed to ford the river well, without Matt or I having to get our feet wet. Times like this, pedalling gets in the way and the throttle is the better choice.
This wind-swept South-facing coast (reminder for Northern Hemisphere people, our South is like your North) on a grey, wet day provided a rugged beauty in contrast to the pretty, sunny Marlborough Sounds where we had just been, despite being so close. The baches (NZ holiday houses typically at the beach) were how NZ baches used to be, small, practical, unpretentious and sparse in number. Ancient but functional tractors and bulldozers were lined up for launching boats.
A large slip on the trail was unmotomable (by my reckoning), so Susan and I turned back while Darryl and Matt went over it and towards the start of the trail, before rejoining us later, cobwebs blown away and ready for a vineyard lunch in Martinborough.
Ride: 11 km, 530 km for trip.
The second ride of the weekend was also part of the Remutaka trail, a trail I would love to return to do completely. This saw us follow a beautiful rail trail in a regenerating native forest. A lovely ride in green surrounds, with sounds of waterfalls, birdsong… and a shooting range. Several tunnels were there to ride through, one of which had beautiful waterfalls on either side as we emerged from the darkness, with a pretty, unexpected arch over one of the waterfalls. We started at Kaitoke, riding to the summit, a little beyond, and then back. When I couldn’t see Matt in my rear-vision mirror, I turned around to look for him without stopping and managed to ride into a smelly, wet, muddy ditch which he had to pull me out of when I couldn’t ride out forwards or backwards.
With other plans for the weekend, this was an enjoyable shorter ride at 22 km, totalling 552 km for the trip.
The next day we would return to Auckland to find out what happened with the flooding there. It was surreal to be away and first hearing about it 10pm on Friday night. Our drive to Auckland took nearly 8 hours, with over 4,000 km driven in 3.5 weeks, about half of the usual annual mileage for that car.
The weekend in Martinborough with special friends celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary with their wedding party, great food and wine, and a couple of enjoyable cycles was the perfect end to our whirlwind adventure of cycling and travel in January.
Only perfect and end don’t quite go together – in this instance, perfect would be better matched with continuing. So, more rides are planned, including Auckland, Rotorua, Waikato and Taranaki over the next 3 months. We look forward to interesting rides, marvellous company and great scenery. I can’t wait.