Motueka to Tapawera #
This is one of my personal favourites and on this journey I will describe the route that will take you over the Lewis Pass to Christchurch. Highway 61 leaves Motueka and follows the Motueka river slowly inland. It is very slightly uphill but not so much as you would notice. It's a lovely day's cycle and passes through some remnants of old New Zealand. You will encounter several bridges on your right and if you take the one to Ngātīmoti you will find a pristine example of a well-preserved and clearly well-tended bowling green. A gem of a place in a lovely setting close to the river.
Further on is Stanley Brook, a deserted settlement with just the old school, church and war memorial to remind you of perhaps, more prosperous days. The day winds down to Tapawera, (campground, pub and store). The railway once ran through this town and the old embankments still survive to give us an idea of how important this hamlet once was. The campground still provides a mixed range of crockery, saucepans and cutlery for campers. A rare service these days... and again, the place has the feel of part of an era that is now, sadly, passing away. I was fortunate to catch the Tapawera Christmas Parade one year. The whole community turned out and put together a number of brilliant floats. The enthusiasm, warmth and good humour of local communities in New Zealand is something never to be underestimated. As a stranger I wandered round and found myself engaged in conversations with large numbers of friendly locals... some of whom had farmed and lived in the area for generations. It was a grand, colourful and very memorable occasion.