D’Urville Island Bike Packing

I tagged along with Pat and Georgia and their friends on an overnight bike packing trip to D’Urville Island. It was both fun and tiring and we had great weather.

On Sunday we drove out to the Rai Valley and loaded up our bikes. We rode out towards Tennyson Inlet. The windy road took us up to the saddle in the cool morning and we dropped down to the sunny side. We then followed it around the coast to the “World’s End” before riding Archer’s Track to Elaine Bay. The trail was a nice single track with enough roots to make me get off fairly regularly. We had the occasional view out across the water into the sounds. It was blue and sunny and looking good.

From Elaine Bay we climbed back up to the road along the hills and had a fast paced ride out to French Pass. Fast paced for me at least. From there, the road changed from seal to gravel along the way and we had amazing views down to D’Urville Island and into the ocean. The gravel road was dusty and the grass golden and sun baked. It felt very much like summer – which it was. We had a quick descent down to the coast, stopping to look at the narrow strip of water between the mainland and D’Urville Island. It was boiling and churning and creating white water whirlpools due to the changing tide.

We met Dulkara and her partner Kaleb at the road end and after an ice cream to help cool us down we jumped on the cargo ferry that we had chartered and floated over to the island. The driver took us via the swirling white water on the way and we marvelled at the currents the tides can create. The water is rough and swirling for quite a distance around the narrowest section between the mainland and the island. Apparently it has claimed lives in the past. I’d like to kayak around D’Urville island but this would be something to hit squarely between tides.

We got fresh water from the tap on the wharf and then began the very hot ride up to the top of the island. It was a pretty sustained climb with patches of shade and sun. We rode along the tops dropping and climbing before taking a left and riding to the West of the island. We descended to the Moawhitu campsite in the evening. We pitched our tents in the open grassy area and headed down to the sea for a look. We had a great sweeping view out across the bay.

Dinner time back at camp and then we walked down to watch the sunset out across the bay.

We reversed the ride in the morning. It was a little cooler as we climbed back up the hill. Back down to the water and then across on the ferry. After a quick decision the plan became ride hard to try and get to the road works along the road to Okiwi Bay by the 3pm cut off. Dulkara and Kaleb bowed out. They had their car at Elaine Bay and decided they’d catch the 5pm road opening. I struggled to keep up with the train. My legs didn’t want to start again after the ferry crossing. Pat slowed the others down and I caught up. I rode hard to keep up. The others appeared to be cruising. Old age? Too much gear on a heavy bike? Unfit? All three? Who knows. It was quite fun riding fast anyway. At the Elaine Bay turnoff it turned out we’d have to ride further to get to the road works on time. The game started again and we rode tempo not knowing where the roadworks were exactly. We managed to get there with a few minutes to spare and topped up on dinosaur jubes.

We had a nice long descent into Okiwi Bay where we stopped for ice creams and pies. Then it was a short-ish climb up the road. I stuck to Martin’s wheel like glue and puffed away while he cruised. After descending we moved into roadie formation and with a good tail wind pedalled back to the car. We had a quick dip at the river in the nice refreshing water.

A good trip.

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