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Published: August 27th 2007
Since leaving Auckland the weather has generally dipped and the terrain has got a bit better in the sense that it’s not up and down all day, gives the old legs a bit of respite. However maybe I long for a few hills again. From my experience you cycle further without knowing it when you have something to concentrate instead of cycling aimlessly along a long flat straight road. God its such a catch 22, bit of both would be great.
The trip seems to have moved up a few notches in terms of outdoor ness since leaving Thames. The weather has changed from summer sunny to winter sunny and in some places just complete washouts. Cycling between Matamata and Taupo (biggest day so far with a mighty 135km) it rained pretty much all day. I had set my sights on reaching Metadata that night so there was no question of stopping in some backwater for the night.
Having said that though Matamata is pretty much a nothing town. The only thing that has changed in recent times is that they decided to have it as the setting for the shire in lord of the rings. In a desperate
attempt to keep the Lord of the rings vibe going they have renamed it Hobbition. Anyhow these days it doesn’t much resemble anything of the shire so I decided to steer clear of the various attractions on offer. The $50 cost of entering “THE SHIRE” also entered my thinking.
Between Thames and Matamata there was a place called Te Aroha which was a tranquilo little place. A great place to stay when you don’t want to be pre occupied by anything else apart from which pie to buy. Nothing had prepared me for the Youth Hostel which was an absolute cracker!! It was more of a house than a youth hostel as it only had 2/3 rooms I think. It seemed to be a hostel from a bygone era as there was no reception or office and the door was just left permanently open all day. It has fully re deemed the YHA in my eyes from the normal overly sanitized dirge you get. It fly’s straight into the hot 100 to just behind Allesandro Downtown. The upper echelons of Hostelage.
From Taupo I cycled round the lake to Turangi. The trip had almost come to a shuddering
Melbourne Victory ultra's
rugby still rules down under
halt before it started as I was really enjoying doing nothing in particular in Taupo. Just having a little peruse here and there. It was nice to not have any cycling for a few days. I guess a little rest should have re-juvinated my tour de nz and it did in a sense. It’s always better on the other side.
Anyhow stopped off at another great hostel in Turangi, which peculiarly had a climbing wall inside it. Turangi is about 50-60 km south of Taupo and getting there involves cycling around Lake Taupo. This was another great hostel and once again I probably stayed a night longer than I should have. The problem is that so many of the hostels I am staying in at the moment are very homely, so why would I want to leave? It’s possibly time to unleash the dwarf tent again. A bit of roughing it should sort me out and act as an incentive to get up in the morning. The problem in NZ (great problem) is that by in large the camp sites are rarely cheaper than youth hostels. What is the point my I ask??! So unless you find yourself lampooned
in some backwater with strange people and mullets then there is no real need to whip the dwarf tent out. Another solution would be to have Bratislava style hostels which resemble Soviet Gulags and that have blood on the sheets, yum. The incentive to stay is destroyed in one fell swoop.
Leaving Turangi proved a bit of a heart Wrench, partially because the Desert rd stood in the way of progress. The hostel printed out weather reports on the road everyday so you could see whether travelling on it was feasible. Essentially it can be like driving/cycling through a ski resort at this time of year. The actual rd is only 70 km or so long but it seems so much longer. This is mainly due to the cycling involved in reaching the 1074 summit. The road can be categorized into 4 distinct Zones. The first one is seemingly never-ending sodding alpine chicanery. I almost found myself looking around corners to see if the end was nigh. The next one is the big snow covered mountain section which is spectacular. Then another little bit of alpine chicanery creeps in followed by A bomb themed desolation.
Only one problem
occurred on this route and it involved water bottles. I initially set off with 2 bottles as there was literally nothing for 70km. I set a target of starting my 2nd bottle at the 45 km point. Except come the 45km point the 2nd water bottle had gone walkies. By the 70km make my saliva had turned into tar and I felt like joining a dead possum on the roadside. Never had I been so thankful of coming across a strangely located Subway shop at the end of the end of the Desert rd. What is great about the dessert rd is that soon the lows will be forgotten and the highs will be high high.
After the desert rd the rest of the north island is a bit of nothingness. I stopped in a place called Taihepe and then marched onto Palmerston North and then on to a place called Levin. By this point the roads were getting really busy and fancied been in Wellington that night so I just got a bus for the last however many km. This is ok though because in terms of km already done I have cycled from Cape Reinga to Wellington,
desert rd mark2
golly gonk its freezing up here
which is top to bottom. North Island leg is finitio.
I arrived in Wellington on the 21st I think. I think Wellington is great, vast improvement on Auckland. Possibly going to try and find a job or maybe not. If not here then in Blenheim, Blenheim is just over the water in the south island. Blenheim is a place where you can pick up a job easily because of the abundance of everything fruit and wine related. Yesterday I saw the Wellington Phoenix first ever football game in The Australian A league. They came down from 2 goals down to grab a credible draw with last seasons champions Melbourne Victory.
Tot: 0.407s; Tpl: 0.052s; cc: 11; qc: 53; dbt: 0.0136s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb