Friday, February 3, 2012

Day 5: Waipoua Forest to Dargaville

Distance: 52.9k
Distance so far: 297.2k
Speed: 14.8k/h

Runkeeper logs: 1 2

Accommodation last night was at the huts at the Waipoua Forest campsite; basic but functional. I rose early again, and got on the road about 7:30.

Climbing up out of the forest took about 45 minutes. The slope was gentler than on the way in, and I didn't have to climb as far, either. The scenery was just as beautiful as yesterday, with several good views out over the forest, showing the large number of towering kauri trees dotted through it. After that, there were several more significant hills to handle. Fortunately, most of the slopes were fairly gradual, with only one or two steep climbs.

Just before the two hour mark I had the big descent of the day, descending 150 meters in only 2 kilometers, and continuing a slower descent after that. The guide, which describes this route going the other way, describes this as the hardest ascent of the trip, and I'm glad I was handling it on the downhill rather than the up. Caution and sharp corners mean my top speed on the descent isn't much to write home about, but it was fun all the same.

The rest of the way to Dargaville was pretty unremarkable, with no significant towns worth a stop along the way. As a result, I pressed on without a break - and probably at a higher pace than I needed to - and arrived in Dargaville a little after 11AM, significantly ahead of schedule.

Yes, really.
Welcome to the thriving metropolis of Dargaville.
Dargaville itself is nothing to write home about. It's one of the towns whose main attraction is being able to leave it. That said, I have discovered a couple of hidden gems: The backpackers, called The Greenhouse, is very nice. It's built in an old schoolhouse, and the dorm room is in one of the classrooms, as is the social area / lounge. Private rooms are in cabins out the back of the schoolhouse. The whole thing is well maintained, clean, cheerful, and colorful, with both murals dating back to its provenance as a school, as well as more recent decorations. The hosts are warm, friendly, and welcoming.

There's also a sushi place, called Sushi Nara, on the main street, that does surprisingly good sushi. And the cafe "Blah Blah Blah" reportedly does a good coffee.

All that aside, I'll still be glad to move on tomorrow.

Two other things of note accompany my arrival in Dargaville. First, my road support - my mum - who has been helping out for the first week, has departed. From here on out I'm on my own. Second, since I'm now officially in Northland, I can cross off the first province from my list; I'm done with the Far North!

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