The general direction was North, but sometimes it felt like we were heading Left and Right more than North (see maps for more detail). The price and quality of cream donuts remained consistent throughout the journey – ranging from $1.30 (Levin) to $1.80 (Waitakere). We got up early and rode in the nice light and temperature of the morning, normally arriving by the time it was second lunchtime.
Riding highlights: the road from Whanganui to Mowhanau ( a little camp by the sea), the forgotten highway (including a camp on top of a hill surrounded by old pa sites with a view of the volcanoes, see above, just out of the Republic of Whangamomona), the road from Waitomo to Kawhia which was fully of pockets of native bush and outcrops of limestone, and taking a wee ferry across the Raglan harbour and cycling on top of cliffs next to the ocean all the way to Port Waikato.
Riding lowlights: the ten km of state highway one, and the bit before Te Kuiti. And also getting tonsilitis. And the first few days of very very sore backside.
Coolest little town: Ohura, just near Taumaranui. We were supposed to be staying in a prison that has been turned into a hostel, but the lady wasn’t going to be back until Friday. So instead we camped on the lawn of an artist, the only gay in the village (of 200 people) who was a lovely guy. We had a lovely dinner at the Ohura Cosmopolitan Club of lasagne toppers and chicken cordon blue. The abandoned land (see sign above) is going for about 200 bucks if anyone is looking for some rock bottom real estate. There’s also some burnt down houses around, the result of a inter-generational family feud. Cool place though.
Now we’re in Auckland, flying out to Madrid on Monday. Yesterday we circumnavigated the harbour on a bus and a train and a bus and a bus and a boat and a bus. Who said that Auckland doesn’t have public transport. I might have a job interview in Madrid next week!