Tomorrow is a big day


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Published: April 5th 2013
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Originally, I wanted to blog as go. Pity I didn't bring a laptop, since most places have free wifi, but expensive-to-use computers.

Anyway, a short overview of where I am and am headed!

So I started in Leigh. Which is a bit of pity, as "I'm cycling from Leigh because someone dropped me off there, to Cape Reinga and then to Auckland." isn't half as good a story as "I'm cycling to Cape Reinga from Auckland and then back!". Leigh has the Sawmill, which has expensive simple food but great pizzas, and performances on the weekend. Liked the jazz-band, bought cd.

Next day to Waipu *snigger*. Scottish town by origin (now only 15%!l(MISSING)eft?), hostel had some tartan blankets. The way there I followed what I thought was a cycling path along the beach. The beach is the path. Went pretty well thanks to great weather (clouded, windstill) and the low tide.

From Waipu I went to Whangarei, but not before stopping at the Waipu caves. Which are up-hill, over steep backroads. I like backroads, but not steep ones. Here I went into the caves with a head-light, bike-helmet, jean-shorts and a sziget t-shirt. Oh and my sandals. I saw hordes of schoolchildren going in with overals, boots, headlights+helmets and guides. I came out significantly less muddy than they did. 😊

In Whangarei I stayed at the Paradise-like Little Earth Lodge, right next to the Abby Caves, but very much up-hill. Did a rest day, where I saw the local big Kauri (not THAT big), the most-photographed waterfalls in New Zealand (not THAT special) and doing the "Largest Clock Museum in the southern Hemisphere" (not THAT large). Because of dawdling and not being sure how to go next, the next day I decided to go to the next hostel in the north of Whangarei, to explore a bit more and to get lost in the forests west of the city. You might have read about that here.

Well after another rest day because of that, I wanted to stay at The Farm on old Russell Road, but because of Easter it was fully booked with kids or whatnot, so I had to go the long haul to Russell. Did make it, and again the difficulties because with Easter, Kiwis don't go furniture shopping at Ikea like the dutch, they actually go take a holiday somewhere up north where I was. But the third or fourth hostel I rang had a room spare, just one night, so I stayed at Barry's home-stay up on a hill, some artist dude who's "Make yourself at home!" made me feel awkward.

That night I met Craig Strange, a really cool bloke in Russell who let me stay at his place for 20 dollars the next day. After that. a short ferry to Paihia, city of tourists. Third hostel had 1 bed left, where I stayed 2 nights. Went partying with a German guy I met earlier, but saturday at 12.00/sunday at 0.00 everything shut down, because...Easter Sunday >.<

Did spend way too much cash on a Maori show on the Waitangi Treaty grounds, and even with the 5 dollar discount I got because I had an old folder with the old old price (50 dollars) replaced by the old price (60), it wasn't quite worth it.

So yeah, after some paragliding, went to Kerikeri. Because of enduring busyness, ended up in a work hostel full of people eager to get started on the local kiwifruit-picking season. Next day I saw the local sights, went back to the hostel to make lunch, ended up paying 10 dollars extra 'because I was still there after check-out time'. Not happy about that.

Anyway, Kerikeri to Whangaroa, rest day with sea-kayaking and climbing to St Paul's Rock (I never really take a rest day it seems), and then I set off in rain for the first time the day after.

First I went to Kahoe across the bay, not far enough. Puketiti lodge 15 k's further, didn't answer the phone. Slightly up the Karikari Peninsula to Rock House. Noone there, but when the owner arrived I had already decided to continue to Awanui. When there, I had the choice: 10-15 k's southward in the wrong direction for a hostel in Kaitaia, or some 30+ kms northward towards Cape Reinga, my ultimate destination, to a badly rated hostel in Pukenui?

Nope, went 45 km to a remote hostel near the coast at Henderson Bay. Good thing I bought a head-torch earlier on my trip, because I travelled about 45 minutes in complete dark over mixed pieces of gravel and asphalt road. Quite an experience, and about 114-118 km of cycling.

And after a day of rest (where I walked to the pink sand beach and then cycled 2 hours to get to the pure silica-sand beach and back (purest in the world, NOT that impressive) I'm mentally preparing to go to Cape Reinga, and then cycling 90 kms back over the horribly misnamed Ninety Mile Beach to Ahipara.

155 kms, further than I ever cycled. Oh dear, I better start early, because I don't have a tent.

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