New Zealand 2014/15
Tuesday January 6
The Northern Explorer train takes all day to return us to Papakura, a suburb of Auckland.
Mount Tongariro from the train
Wednesday January 7
Female mail delivery
The last pack-up, the last ride. The chain is waxed, the tires are pumped. I missed the exit out of Papakura (of course). We take a leisurely route to Clevedon, circling the Pacific Coast highway. There are hills, rolling farmland, sweeping views, and double-hitched trucks – the usual.
We cruise into Maraetai for a beach side feed of fish and chips, wine and a radler. We are in no rush, no hurry. We dig for our swimsuits and go for a last dip in the warm, turquoise green waters of the South Pacific. The afternoon is spent on the beach looking for treasures (i.e. sea shells).
Lady CoMo on the beach
The final pacific coast ride is a lazy drift over rolling hills next to the ocean and through inland woods. There is no shoulder, no flat stretches and little traffic, with the late afternoon sun for company.
Pacific Coast Highway
In Clevedon we pick up supplies for the final, homeward stretch. Creighton Road is as steep or steeper than anything else we have ridden. So we walk it. At the top one can see both coasts on a clear afternoon. Agapanthus have sprouted in the ditches since we departed.
Then there is the final, coasting descent, and the very last push up the SpringCurl Lodge drive. It is like arriving home. It is a fitting end to a trip that was up and down all the way. Christine and John welcome us like family.
Very last push
Thursday January 8
SpringCurl Lodge. The sun is slanting into the valley, birds are singing a lazy summer song, Lady CoMo is outside on the patio. This has been a wonderful spot to arrive, finish and decompress. Mary helps John hand feed two young cows, Whitey and Whitey.
Meg and John
Whitey and whitey
It takes most of the day to disassemble Lady Como and pack her up. Suitcases are packed and weighed.
We have soaked the last rays of summer sun into our bones.
Last night we saw the Southern Cross. Tomorrow we start flying backwards through time to the land of ice and snow. The wind chill in Ottawa today is minus 28.
Final feast. Did we mention the avocados?
Item we carried that was never used: corkscrew.
Corkscrew not required
Epilogue and edits
Trip planning resources:
- Cycling New Zealand (Lonely Planet) – for practical information
- Cycle Touring in New Zealand (http://www.cycletour.org.nz/) – more practical information on route possibilities. Excellent, practical and concise.
- Cycling Dutch Girl (http://cyclingdutchgirl.com/category/new-zealand/) – stream-of-consciousness blog that is pure inspiration