New Zealand 2014/15

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Tuesday January 6

The Northern Explorer train takes all day to return us to Papakura, a suburb of Auckland.

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Mount Tongariro from the train

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Last supper

Wednesday January 7

Papakura to SpringCurl

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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.

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Last ride

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).

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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.

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Pacific Coast Highway

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Sweet memories

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.

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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.

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Very last push

Thursday January 8

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SpringCurl dawn

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.

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Meg and John

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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.

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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.

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Final feast. Did we mention the avocados?

Item we carried that was never used: corkscrew.

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Corkscrew not required

Epilogue and edits

Trip planning resources:

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11 comments on “New Zealand 2014/15”

  1. MJ Ray wrote:

    The images aren't showing for me 🙁

  2. Kern wrote:

    Hi MJ. Thanks for the feedback. I've broken up the report into multiple pages. It should load now. Let me know.

  3. thank you so much for this lovely write up. we were in NZ but not cycling in 2001. We spent 4 wonderful days kayaking Queen Charlotte sound from Havelock. you have brought back some lovely memories.

  4. Kern wrote:

    Hi Brenda – I'm glad you enjoyed it. We have never kayaked, but I can see how Queen Charlotte sound would be spectacular to do so. It is wonderful territory.

  5. Hi There Mary and Kern
    Really enjoyed reading your trip report. We will never forget the tandem spread all over the floor in room 3. Hope we meet again in the not too distant future. 27 degrees here today.
    Love. John & Christine

  6. Patrick wrote:

    That is a great read Kern. The conclusion, unwritten, appears to be (as the man said): "You must always go a bit outside your comfort zone. If you don't, your comfort zone gets smaller." That is very true but mine has reached a point where I always need a plan. I think there's something to be said for it but perhaps it doesn't matter later when you look back. One of our sons spent six months in New Zealand and the thing he enjoyed most was the wilderness (on the South Island).

    Regarding camping on a cycle tour, I think it has to be one thing, or the other. I have sat in some pleasant accommodation and thought drat... we're camping again tomorrow night.

  7. Claire wrote:

    I read it all in one sitting! I did not expect a trip report to have so much dramatic tension, it was like reading a short story. I think you had your A-HA moment after all!! (It just didn't involve scenery... pfff over-rated).
    Also I really like the style of text interspersed with relevant photos and the "punny" photo captions.

  8. Kern wrote:

    "Dramatic tension" – holy cow, Claire, no wonder you're my favourite daughter-in-law 🙂 .

    Patrick, I'm tickled that you came to such a philosophical conclusion. Our main conclusion was a bit more prosaic: Don't plan a cycling trip between Christmas and New Years. (The North Island poses extra touring challenges, in that it is impossible to avoid heavy traffic.)

    We're with you on camping. Next time we leave the gear behind, unless we're in the Rockies.

    27 degrees. Hmmm .... well, it's almost 27 today as well (depending on which scale you use).

  9. Andrew wrote:

    Loved every moment reading of the trip, thanks Mary and Kern, especially Mary sweeping in The Shire... And Kern shaving half the lonely planet 🙂
    My favorite photo of the year is Mary sweeping we are going to frame that here!
    Impressive adventure and a lot of tough cycling undertaking. Although I'm sure that wine bottle holder for the bike came in handy though! never seen one before!?
    Congrats on another great adventure on the bike! Look forward to the next one

  10. Kern wrote:

    Andrew wrote

    ... that wine bottle holder for the bike ...

    Wine bottle holder??? Mary told me it was water!

    (Mary couldn't help herself with that broom. She just picked it up and started sweeping like it was the most natural thing in the world 🙂 .)

  11. Gerard wrote:

    Thank you. As a Kiwi, I enjoyed this. I will ride the Tour Aotearoa next February: look it up, as it's a slightly more off-road version of your trip, from top to bottom.

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