North Island: Coromandel - Central plateau - Wellington
Since we have left Auckland and the Northland we are fit and used to all those hills and steep climbs. It's a full filling and enjoyable ride day by day. Our way in the last weeks was filled with fantastic moments, stunning views and generous people we have met. We knew that New Zealand has a lot to offer, but who can image that this country is that spectacular that words can't describe those impressions?!
For example the Coromandel peninsula, NZ favourit holiday destination presents itself with sand beaches, great fishing spots, adventurous walks and green mountains. One of our favorite experience was a relaxing bath in a self-dug hole, filled up with up to 64 degrees hot water. This is the "Hot Water Beach", where underground thermal activities meets the pacific ocean right at the beach.You watch the ocean
beneath your feet, while you are soaked in warm water. Amazing!!!
Rotorua - Center of the thermal Wonderland
We had a fantastic time in Rotorua, because the Warmshower-hosts Pete and Eva offered us their place to stay to stay for a couple of nights. We slept in the unique 'tree hotel' of their kids Yulia and Lucas. the lovely family gave us useful advices how to explore the city in the next days. On that night we had a delicious BBQ and a fresh smoked trout. The next morning we started to visit the St. Faith Church, the Redwood forest and to see the boiling mud at Kuirau park. Rotorua isn't just famous it's sightseeing, n iit's also known for the intense smell of sulphur. There are many places in this area where she sulphur smog rises from the ground. Spectacular!
Waiotapo wonderland had all this features and even more highlights. Green, red or yellow colored lakes, smokes and heat, geysir and mud pools. A scenery which causes goosebumps and gives you a feeling of being really close to hell.
A paradise for trout fisher. A lake as big as Singapore and crystal clear like all the streams and river who discharge in it. The Waikato River, NZ biggest river starts from lake Taupo. The well known Huka Falls shows us the power of water, running through a narrow part in the rocks. I could catch my first trout in the river. A beautiful rainbow trout was the lunch for the two of us. Elly smiled while she enjoyed the fish.
Tongariro National Park
Motivated and surrounded by a clear view to the volcanic landscape of Tongariro National Park, we climbed up to 900m with our bikes. Mt. Ruhapeo with a snow cover, Mt. Tongariro with it's active volcano who erupted in November 2012 is still smoking. And Mt. Ngauruhoe with a hight of 2290m is well known from :lords of the ring". And this volcano was our challenge on a sunny day in January. We started at 1100m and walked to the base of the hill. From this point we could see the 38 degrees angle and the perfect formed cone. Let's do it. It took is two hours up to the summit. We deserved a 360 degrees view and could see Lake Taupo, Emerald Lake, Mt. Ruhapeu. Absolutely amazing!
Our way leads is to Wanganui where we stayed a few days at Lynekes place. We have been to a pub-quiz and won second prize. The lunch for the next day in the Irish Pub was safe. In Wanganui we had to sort out some organisational matters before we head to Wellington.
We got offered a lift by Jono, who wanted to participate at a harbour swim in the capitol for 3.3km. After a two hours car drive he dropped us at the visitor center in Wellington. We gave him or support on that Sunday morning, when he and 800 other swimmers from all over the world were crawling towards the rising sun.
Wellington had one of the best museums we have ever been to.'Te papa' is very modern and interactive. You can easily spend two day in that 5 level building. A must do for everyone who is around. We also joined the summer festival in the botanical garden. We had a picnic in a peaceful atmosphere, listening to live music and watched the changing colours which were lightning the trees.
On the last day, we decided to watched the movie "Hobbit". We are no fans of the "lord of the ring" movies, but we are in New Zealand, in the capitol, the movie is shown in 3D and in 48frames. Where if not here you should watch it. It was the first 3D experience to me and it was strange in a very positive way. Clear pictures, real impressons of beeing in there, a good story and the three hours finished,when we're thought it was half way. Looks like we got infected with the "lord of the ring" fever.
With all this memories, more than 1500 km on the bikes around the north island, many up's and down's on hills and also some mental ones, all the great people have met and the unique landscapes we enjoyed, we are now leaving the north island.
Let's get ready to explore the south island. There are many more adventures waiting for
Northland-Tour 18.12. - 30.12.2012
Cycling is Nice…..cycling New Zealand is absolutly different.
Since we left for the first ride with our two bicycles packed with all our equipment, we learned a lot. New Zealand got its own landscape, many up and downs. In the first days we were facing reality and many hills. From Albany we cycled to Henderson to visit our friend Malte who is working at a woofng place. After meeting him, we took the Highway 16 up north, passing Helensville and found a place to sleep in Kaukapakapa on a horse farm. Thanks Viv and Grant for having us.
By then we had doubts about the whole trip. Why are we doing this? And how can we get over all those hills. Till then, we had to get off the bikes a few times, trying to push our wheels. It was exhaustng and depressing. Because of the fact that more hills are coming on the way north., we took a hard right to the east coast. We stayed a night at the Wenderholm Regional Park. We met our first cyclist on the way. Gabi and Norbert , also from Germany. They are already hitting the road for more than 5 weeks. We heard about the same problems. Many hills, a lot of traffic, no real cycling ways and fading motivation. On the same side it was nice to talk with someone doing the same trip, sharing experience and impressions. And also its good to see someone moving from one place to another without pollution.
Our next destination was Warkworth, taking a break at the library and the visitor center. It was our forth day and we were really desperate. To see something from the north of NZ we decided to catch a bus from Warkworth to Paihia. Leaving next morning 9 am. It was time for a rest for sure. But where to sleep? Next campsite is 15 km away. One of the staff ladies in the Visitor Center was listening to the situation and offered us her garden to pitch the tent. Perfect. 2 hours later, we had a shower and were sitting with Jo and her kids at the dinner table. We experienced again the friendliness and hospitality of the New Zealand people. Thanks again for the stay.
The next day , we stow the bikes in the bus and drove 4 hours to the Bay of island. Christmas was coming soon and it was getting busy everywhere. Paihia was halfway crowded. And we thought, that is not what we are looking for. We took the bicycles and ride 60km further till we reached Whangaroa Harbour. A beautiful small village, in a fjord like landscape. Sailboats are resting in the bays, hills grow up on the side of the water and it was really remote. We choosed the right spot. We camped at the Sunseeker Backpackers. For the next days we shared a beautiful time with Paula ( UK) and Evija ( Letvia), Eva (Poland), Bianka ( Germany), Johni ( Finnland), Rachel ( Canada) and Biggi (Germany). We had 12 different dishes for the Christmas day, had to sing songs or tell a poem to get our little present from santa claus. It felt like back in the old days, when we were kids. It was a special and warm hearted day. Thanks to everyone making these a special event. After recovering,, fishing off the wharf, rainy days and a hot water spa we were full of power again.
Another 70 km on a gravel road through shieling landscape and no traffic we reached Kohukohu. A cute little village. We talked to the post-lady Moe ,looking for a campsite. Moe offered us her garden, with a nice view to the Fjord-harbour area. The next morning we had breakfast with her, Kingy, Percy and Kohine. Avocado, ham and seaurchin. Crazy Kiwi’s. Filled up with a different taste of salty seaurchin we drove towards the ferry and then further to the Waipoua Forest.
On the 57km ride to the Waipoua Forest we had to climb the summit of the forest in 387m. It took us a while, but we did it. We were happy and proud to reached the highest point. In reward we could marvel at the huge and more than 2000 years old Kauri Trees (Agathis australis) .Tane Mahuta is the most famous tree is NZ, the girth of the trunk is 13,77 m. A massive tree and hard to believe. From there we had a cruisy downhill ride along a winding road in a spectatctular greenish forest. Amazing!
The last track for the North-Tour was the 56km ride to Dargaville. As we arrived, we had to realize that the only bus to Auckland on that Saturday left in the morning and the next one will departue 5pm the next day. We got stuck. The way from Dargaville to Auckland will be 200km mostly the annoying and heavily trafficked Highway 1. And parts of this way we have cycled on the way up north already. There was no need to do this again. Instead of waiting for the bus we tried to hitchhike. After 2 Hours standing in the sun on the side of the road, we perceived, that the bikes, the luggage and we are never going to Auckland via hitchhiking. We pitched the tent in a caravan park and enjoyed a nice BBQ. The next morning we tried again the “ thumbs up” at the road. And yes, a white van with two english fellas stop. Justin and Mick are giving us a lift to Auckland. How awesome is that!?!?!?! We had a stop a the Pirca Falls in the Waipu George Scenic Reserve before we reached Auckland at around 2 pm. From there it took us another 15 min with the bikes to our destination in Albany . The Northland trip was finished. And we survived and grew stronger in this time. We are now convienced to make it all the way to the south island. One day. Lets see how it will go on.
But there was another reason to celebrate. The end of 2012 and the New years eve. We joined a group of Couchsurfers in a Park in Auckland, close to the CBD with BBQ and music before we headed to one of the flats of a French couple. A perfect view of the Skytower and roughly 30 people has been our 12 o’clock moment. We were happy to enjoyed the last 8 month together on our Global Triathlon. Challenging the Danube River kayak trip, the Southeast Asia trekking and now the beginning of the cycling NZ. We are happy and looking forward to the year 2013. Let it be a good one again. Happy new year
13.12.2012 - Kia ora
we arrived safe in New Zealand. it was late, no public transport available that we decided to sleep at the airport. on the Friday morning we caught a bus to our couch surfing host. a lovely family with roots in India and England. we can feel openness, friendliness and trust straight away. we are really thankful for this time. they help us a lot by arranging necessary things like applying for the tax number, opening a bank account or showing is bike shops. and yes, it looks like we are doing good. we are getting sorted. we got our bicycle already. we need a bit more equipment and we are ready to go.