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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

‘Cause We got a Little Convoy (Day 113)

With roads being ripped by floods and Cyclone Gita, the highways organised convoys to get traffic from Motueka to Takaka, but we weren't expecting entertainment from Charlie and fed Apples as well!

We had already arranged an Airbnb in Collingwood by the Golden Bay and then discovered that the road from Motueka to Takaka was probably only open between 7-8am and 5-6pm. Ah, we will have to play it by ear. Our journey to Motueka was lovely. It reminded me of Hobbiton and I was expecting Bilbo Baggins to be walking along the roadside at any moment. There were Hops being harvested, Orchards, Vineyards, lush green fields to the river’s edge, mountains covered with pine trees to our right and the Wharepapa Range to our left. Getting towards Motueka we saw remnants of flooding, roads had been ripped, trees strewn down the hillsides and sand deposits edged the kerbs. Suddenly a cluster of pink lilies brightened up the scenery. How they survived I don’t know, or perhaps they have grown back since.

We arrived at Motueka and met Charlie, a very funny lady whose job for 14 hours a day was to inform travellers about the road closure. And yes, it was closed until 5pm when there will be a convoy. We offered her some water – she seemed a bit hot – she declined as one of the locals had given her and her colleagues some dumplings. She recommended that we went to Kaiteriteri.

After a wiggly drive we came across a very nice, but rather busy, seaside resort with its renowned beautiful golden sand beach caressing a bay. This was Kaiteriteri. We parked up and had lunch, then Tim went for a swim. I was tempted but the water was a bit cold. (Obviously I was thinking too much, unlike when I was in the Cave Stream!). I left Tim and walked along the beach, enjoying watching families playing by the sea, paddle boarders and kayakers enjoying being on the water. Tim meanwhile was, of course, building a sandcastle. He was a bit miffed that a child stamped on it when he went to sandbathe for a bit.

After a while we decided to have a short walk along Abel Tasman Coastal Track. Again, we could see the damage caused by Cyclone Gita. One of the bridges was bent and the boardwalk was at an angle, luckily useable though. We didn’t walk for too long as we need to get back to join the convoy over to Collingwood.

When we returned we met up with Charlie again. She was hysterically funny, telling us that she was wearing her husband’s pants and socks as she couldn’t see in the dark this morning when getting ready, and her t-shirt was tucked in her bra under her fluorescent jacket as she was so hot. Later, as we sat in the traffic, a lovely bearded old man driving a forklift truck came towards us, stopping at each car. He had a massive crate of nice cold apples and was offering these freely to each passenger. How nice is that! Gradually the convoy got moving and then we could appreciate the work that is needed to repair the roads. Flooding and huge landslides had taken out great chunks of road. A mammoth task to repair, however at least the highway had set up twice daily convoys for traffic to drive safely through the area.

We finally reached our Airbnb and had a lovely chat to our new host Mariea about a whole multitude of subjects. We really do have such interesting conversations with many of our hosts.

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