Thursday, 11 April 2013

Opoutere YHA

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Pipi and Green Mussels

I spent three days at this wonderfully secluded YHA at Opoutere. The ride from Hot-Water Beach was fairly short but included two long and steep climbs. The rain held off. Everyone seemed friendly at the YHA and the facilities were excellent. In the afternoon I walked up the hill behind the YHA and examined the view over the bay, looking down on a river making its way to the sea. The endangered NZ Dotterel nests on the sand spit where the river meets the sea. The evening was cosily spent in the living room with a big log fire and a chat with some of the other residents.

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In the morning I packed early and left only to get as far as Whangamata. Here I bumped into Rick (last seen on the Milford Sound road) and I decided to go back to the YHA as he was travelling north. In the afternoon we went wading for Pipi (a kind of mussel) with Rory who is almost a permanent resident of this place. I think he's been 17 times! We got a bucketful of Pipi and cooked them for our evening meal in garlic and wine. Very nice. After going fishing in the rowing boat in the evening, catching nothing, we spent the night chatting and playing Scrabble.

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I decided to spend another day here, but Rick after another walk up to the summit, left that day. Rory and I played some badminton. In the afternoon we took the canoes out (with Rory and Jo) and managed to catch three fish! We also dived for a bucketful of green mussels. For dinner I make bread and Chelsea buns and Mussels Provencal. Sumptious. Another perfect day.

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The next morning I managed to drag myself away, but consoled myself by buying a couple of surf T-shirts in the sales at Whanagamata. Today's ride was long and cold with a strong southerly breeze. After lunch at Waiki I rode through the Karangahake Gorge, partly along an old railway line, then through Paroroa. It was flat all the way then to Te Aroha where I stayed at a YHA again. I was alone. As usual I visited the spa pool in the evening.

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