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We had a fantastic trip. The weather was unbelievable, the landscape as good as I expected and the company tolerable. As my mate Ray would say, give us your best and worst days and some vital stats. So we covered 803k’s and climbed 8923 metres. Best day was from Gisborne to Wairoa and the worst fighting the traffic out of Napier. Funniest moment was stopping at a roadworks on top of a big climb in the middle of nowhere and the burly, tattooed Maori guy with the stop/go sign taking one look at us, smiling and saying “Well you’re a bunch of crazy c....s” Thanks to Damien for setting up this blog site. It’s really easy to use and a great way to chronicle a trip. Adios amigos!!
After almost 2 weeks of perfect weather the weather that hit Aussie a few days ago has barrelled into the North Island. It started raining soon after we rolled out of the tavern. A few more hills to manage and then the last 15 kms are downhill into Rotorua. Geysers are spewing out steam around us and there’s a distinct nitrous oxide smell in the air.
After a good nights sleep in a cosy cabin under a starry sky, we slept in a tad, rushed to get breakfast and got a lift courtesy of the lodge owner back to the main road, just in time to hail the bus bound for lake Taupo. Whilst it was a spectacular road, the Thermal highway was way too busy with too many trucks and too little verge. By mid morning we were in Taupo and 2 coffees later ready to ride north. Finally a flat road!
Another frustrating day, stupidly listening to random non bike riders about road conditions. After catching the bus to outside Napier we rode 40 very hilly k’s to some basic accommodation at a rafting lodge. Whilst the scenery was spectacular the road was way too busy and too narrow a verge, so we were very happy to eventually find the turn off to the lodge. Not so happy to find the lodge another 5 ks up a hilly gravel road!
We left Wairoa after watching Chris’ team Spurs stroll into the final of the Champions League curtesy of pay TV in our motel. We were headed inland into the wild and rugged Lake Waikaremoana where we planned to do a days hiking before continuing up to Rotorua. Our map showed about 40ks of gravel but in fact it turns out there is about 120ks of it. After 40ks of following a river up a narrowing valley we hit the gravel which was loose and corrugated. With panniers it made it almost impossible and after a few near falls we made an executive decision to retreat back to Wairoa.