Archive for May 29, 2017

A New Record

Day 41: May 29 – Traralgon to Sale

Daily Distance = 54.79km, Trip Total = 1,197.78km, Today’s Climb = 137m

Originally I was going to make the town of Stratford my destination today and I was going to take the Gippsland Plain Rail Trail.  However after several attempts to arrange accommodations at the local hotel in Stratford proved unsuccessful, I decided to make the bigger town of Sale my destination.  Unfortunately the rail trail did not head in the direction of Sale, so I opted instead for the M1 highway.

I had another healthy tailwind today, pretty flat terrain and no real places of interest to stop (the only town I went through was Rosedale which didn’t have anything that drew my eye).  So I made quick work of the days ride.  Less than three hours later I was in Sale and my Garmin Bike GPS informed me I now have a new fastest 40km’s – average moving speed of 22km/hr!  I think the tailwind gets most of the credit for this one! :)

Cool tree enroute

Cool tree enroute

I like a wide shoulder, but even this seems excessive - the shoulder is wider than the 2 lane road!

I like a wide shoulder, but even this seems excessive – the shoulder is wider than the 2 lane road!

Typical view today - flat land with faint indication of hills in the background

Typical view today – flat land with faint indication of hills in the background

Not much climbing today, but here's a glimpse at the top of today's climb.  Just outside of Rosedale

Not much climbing today, but here’s a glimpse at the top of today’s climb. Just outside of Rosedale

No train sightings today

No train sightings today

Slow to 40km/h?!?  Does that mean I have to speed up to 40km/h???

Slow to 40km/h?!? Does that mean I have to speed up to 40km/h???

Sale town centre

Sale town centre

 

The afternoon was spent resting, relaxing and researching.

Racing the Rain

Day 40: May 28 – Warragul to Traralgon

Daily Distance = 60.30km, Trip Total = 1,142.99km, Today’s Climb = 311m

Today the temperature dropped a bit.  I think the high is supposed to be 12 degrees, but at this time of year it only reaches the high for a couple hours of the day.  Not bad if it’s dry.  But if raining it’s not overly pleasant.  It rained throughout the night and stopped in the morning, calling for chances of rain throughout the day.  My host had actually offered to give me a lift to my next day’s destination as he was heading my way, but given it wasn’t raining in the morning and there were signs of blue skies I decided to bike.

I packed up quickly and got on the road as fast as I could, deciding the more cycling I can get in before it starts raining the better.  I made my way to the M1 highway and was encouraged to see the signs indicating cyclists are allowed on the highway.

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Crossing the on/off ramps can be tricky at times, but at least I know I'm allowed to be here! :)

Crossing the on/off ramps can be tricky at times, but at least I know I’m allowed to be here! :)

 

I was also encouraged by the extremely wide shoulder on the highway.

Top of today's climb and a nice wide shoulder on the highway

Top of today’s climb and a nice wide shoulder on the highway

Other than 1 roadkill kangaroo, this sign was my only other kangaroo spotting today (I'm told seeing them as roadkill is common).  I'm also told that kangaroos are more active during dusk and dawn, so it's been advised that I stay off the road during these times

Other than 1 roadkill kangaroo, this sign was my only other kangaroo spotting today (I’m told seeing them as roadkill is common). I’m also told that kangaroos are more active during dusk and dawn, so it’s been recommended that I stay off the road during these times

 

For about a quarter of today’s ride I was actually able to take a quiet road that ran parallel to the highway (thanks to my host last night for bringing this road to my attention!).  Both the side road and the highway felt very safe to be on.  And I also had the pleasure of a decent tailwind – yaaay!

Quiet road running parallel to the train tracks and highway

Quiet road running parallel to the train tracks and highway

Today's farmland views

Today’s flat farmland views

 

So far I managed to evade most of the rain.  With about 20km to go I got sprinkled on a bit, but nothing too drastic.  And then 4km’s from my destination I looked up to the sky to see this:

Those look like rain clouds!

Those look like rain clouds!

 

I buckled down and pedalled my heart out.  Rolling up to my Airbnb destination just as a few drops started falling.  The house I was staying at had an awning over the front porch, so I immediately made a beeline for the awning.  Within minutes it was raining buckets!

View from the front door of my Airbnb minutes after I arrived

View from the front door of my Airbnb minutes after I arrived.  Maybe can’t see in the picture, but trust me – it was a lot of rain

 

This host had two fox terrier dogs that became my lap companions for the afternoon:

Mischa and Jackman

Mischa and Jackman

 

Gravel Roads

Day 39: May 27 – Officer to Warragul

Daily Distance = 53.67km, Trip Total = 1,082.69km, Today’s Climb = 357m

I wasn’t really sure whether bicycles were allowed on the highway (M1) in this area and I found the secondary road (C433) to be busier than I would have liked.  So I decided to try some country roads that were heading in my general direction (there were a few minor zig zags).

The first 10km’s was spent on decent paved roads.  But then this happened:

A tour cyclists nemesis - gravel roads!

A tour cyclists nemesis – gravel roads!

 

A gravel road!  Gravel can be tricky when your bike is loaded with gear.  It’s extra work for your legs to power through the extra resistance that gravel provides over pavement.  However I do have the thicker tires, so they would be able to handle the small stones and the gravel seemed packed enough, so I decided to forge forward.  I may have re-thought that if I knew I’d be spending the next 30km’s on gravel, but that’s ok.  I made it through!  And other then being chased by 3 dogs, it was a really, really quiet ride.  I think I only saw 2 or 3 vehicles along this whole stretch.

Today's scenery - farm land with hills in the distance

Today’s scenery – farm land with hills in the distance

And then started to

I liked this stretch with trees on both sides of the road

I was definitely happy for the thicker tires during this stretch - loose gravel

Was definitely happy for the thicker tires during this stretch – loose gravel

Proof that I was there

And the road got narrower and narrower!

The view from the top of today's climb just before the town of Drouin

The view from the top of today’s climb just before the town of Drouin

 

On the edges of Drouin I stopped at a park for a break and upon getting off my bike I immediately noticed that one of the screws on one of my rear panniers had come off.  Probably from all of the bumping over the gravel roads.  Gravel roads = hardware malfunction!  I should have taken a picture, but essentially this is what keeps my pannier attached to my bike rack.  Fortunately each rear pannier is attached by 4 screws.  The one that had come off was on the edge.  So I decided to move one of the interior screws to the outside to keep the pannier in place for the rest of the day’s ride and made a note that I’d have to find a hardware store to get a replacement.

Between Drouin and Warragul I opted for the secondary, paved road and was happy to notice that traffic was not near as busy as where I had started this mornings ride.  It’s safe to say I’m now out of the city/suburb limits.

I arrived at my Airbnb destination, got cleaned up and walked the 3km’s southwest into town for some light groceries and dinner.  From there I walked about 2.5km east to the hardware store where the employee was super helpful finding the size of nuts, screws and washers I needed to fix my pannier.  After that I walked the 3.5km’s back to the Airbnb.  That’s 9km’s!  In hindsight I should have biked.  But for some reason when I reach my destination for the day I have no desire to get back on the bike until the next day! lol!

When I got back to the Airbnb accommodations, I had a good conversation with the host who is a road cyclist.  So he gave me a detailed explanation of what lay ahead for my ride tomorrow (ie. where the hills were) and what stretches I could take secondary roads and where it would be best to take the highway (he confirmed cyclists were allowed on the highway here).  Afterwards we watched a footy game on tv with a glass of wine while I fixed up my pannier and my host, who umps footy gave me some more insight into the rules of the game.  I think I know enough now I could actually properly follow the game!

1,000km’s down!

Day 38: May 26 – St. Kilda’s to Officer

Daily Distance = 55.03km, Trip Total = 1,029.02km, Today’s Climb = 311m

I had a choice in my ride today: 1) Add a few km’s and spend the first dozen km’s along the coast or  2) head directly into suburbia.  I opted to add the few km’s and enjoy the coastline for the first stretch of my ride.  And I’m glad I did – it was definitely the most enjoyable part of my bike ride for the day.

Dedicated bike paths along the coast - that's the life for me!

Dedicated bike paths along the coast – that’s the life for me!

With glimpses of beaches

With glimpses of beaches

I can't wait to be on beaches and in beach weather (still long sleeve weather at the moment)

I can’t wait to be on beaches and in beach weather (despite the sun, it’s still long sleeve weather at the moment)

 

That’s it for photos for the day.  The rest of the ride was suburbia. Which is to be expected in a city the size of Melbourne.

However there was a milestone of note today.  Today I broke the 1,000km mark for this trip!!!!!!  Woot, woot!!!! :)

My destination for the evening was an Airbnb in a town on the outskirts of Melbourne called Officer.  The house I stayed at was stunning, I was particularly impressed with the lights that automatically turned on and off (it’s the simple things really).  After getting cleaned up I headed into town for dinner.  After dinner I had the opportunity of meeting my host for the evening, who shared with me just a few of her travelling stories…..it always inspires me!  She is from Australia but spent about a decade travelling and living in many countries abroad, holding jobs in several different fields (a jack of all trades).  Unfortunately we could only chat for a little while as she had some work obligations she needed to take care of, but the conversation was a great way to finish the day!

The Penguin Episode

Day 36 & 37: May 24 & 25 – Melbourne to St. Kilda’s

Daily Distance = 9.23km, Trip Total = 973.99km, Today’s Climb = 35m

I didn’t have a lot of ground to cover today, so I held off on checking out until the last possible minute.  While I was putting my panniers on the bike, an employee of the hostel started chatting.  He says he is an avid cyclist himself and is hoping to start touring someday.  He immediately noticed the brand of bike I had (Surly) and mentioned that all the tourers who come through have that brand and speak well of it.  I haven’t seen any tourer cyclists in Australia yet, so I was happy to hear I’m not the only one!

After chatting for a bit, I headed on my way for the easy ride to St. Kilda’s, a little beach area of Melbourne about 8km south of the downtown core.

This building caught my eye

I thought this building was interesting

 

I arrived at my destination about an hour later, which was too early to check in.  So I wandered around, found a Mexican restaurant with an outdoor patio to have lunch and kill some time.

St. Kilda's

St. Kilda’s

 

After checking in, getting cleaned up and settled in, I strolled around the town for a bit and made my way down to the pier to spot a penguin or two!

Amusement park in St. Kilda

Amusement park in St. Kilda

With the oldest operating rollercoaster of this type (or so I'm told)

With the oldest operating rollercoaster of this type (or so I’m told)

Along the rocks on this jetty is a penguin colony

Along the rocks on this jetty in St. Kilda’s is a penguin colony

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There is a small section of the jetty that is open to the public to view the penguins.  Volunteers walk up and down this area providing information.  The penguins go out to sea just before sunrise to fish and come back home just after sunset.  Their main predators are birds, which don’t hunt at night, so the penguins come to and from home under the safety of night.  The area that is open to viewing by the public on a typical night will have about 200 penguins appear, but tonight we only spotted 4 penguins.  The volunteers mentioned that it is getting close to mating season, so the penguins may be spending multiple days at sea to fish and stock up.  It was still neat to see and completely free, so worth checking out when in the area!

A little penguin at St. Kilda's pier

A little penguin at St. Kilda’s pier

 

The following day I was booked for another tour.  The first stop was at Moonlit Sanctuary where I got my first upclose and personal contact with some of the creatures Australia is known for:

Koala

Koala

 

Wombat

Wombat

Not sure what this guy is, but I liked his green beak!

Not sure what this guy is, but I liked his green beak!

Kangaroo

Kangaroo

The same kangaroo with a couple peeps from my tour group

The same kangaroo with a couple peeps from my tour group

 

And my all time favourite so far – the Wallaby!!!!

Not shy at all about getting food! :)

Not shy at all about getting food! :)

 

They would hold on to your fingers with their tiny paws. It was SO cute! They were a bit skittish when the ducks came around

They would hold on to your fingers with their tiny paws. It was SO cute! They were a bit skittish when the ducks came around

A wallaby closeup

A wallaby closeup

And a wallaby selfie

And a wallaby selfie

 

After pulling ourselves away from the wallabies, our tour group continued the drive down to Phillips Island for the Penguin Parade.

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In order to try to keep this experience natural and not scare or frighten the penguins, pictures are not allowed.  However, you can probably search google for pics or videos if interested.  This one was pretty reflective of what we saw.

The Phillips Island penguin colony (about 32, 000) is much larger than that at St. Kilda’s (about 1,000).  And this colony also has to do a bit more land travel to get to their homes, so you get the opportunity of watching them waddle on land!  It was pretty spectacular to watch.  Just after sunset, you start to see a couple of penguins pop up at the shoreline and then within seconds there will be close to a hundred penguins forming a wave coming out of the water!  They waddle up the beach together as a group (safety in numbers), come inland a bit where there is a pile of rocks to climb over.  On the rocks the majority of them stop to clean their feathers a bit and then they hop down the rocks and waddle their way to their burrows and homes.  I was told when they get to their homes they have a quick nap (a few minutes) and then come out of their homes to socialize (rather vocally I might add)!  This whole process continues in wave, after wave, after wave in what appears to be a very organized penguin posse!

The Great Ocean Road

Day 35: May 23 – Great Ocean Road

I was signed up for a full day tour of the Great Ocean Road today (located West of Melbourne). And a full day it was!  In total I think we covered close to 500km round trip and made a wide variety of stops along the way.  This seems like a really nice area of coastline that you could probably spend a couple days to check out, but the 1 day tour was a quick way to see a bit of everything as well!

A rainbow at a first stop while having tea and coffee

A rainbow at a first stop while having tea and coffee

It's REALLY hard to see, but there is a Koala asleep in that tree!

It’s REALLY hard to see, but there is a Koala asleep in that tree (slightly right of centre)!

Some friendly and hungry birds...

Some friendly and hungry birds…

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One of our stops involved a short hike through a rainforest.

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Our tour guide Duan explaining some info about the fallen tree behind him (a Mountain Ash)

Our tour guide Duan explaining some info about the fallen tree behind him (a Mountain Ash)

Rainforest hike

Rainforest hike

 

Another stop was at the Loch Ard Gorge which is part of Shipwreck Bay, so named because of the number of shipwrecks.  Apparently over the course of a 200 year period, it had 300 shipwrecks.

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Lookout at Loch Ard Gorge

Lookout at Loch Ard Gorge

Another walk at Lock Ard Gorge took us to the water level and this formation

Another walk at Lock Ard Gorge took us to the water level and this formation in the stones

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I also had my first kangaroo (or three!) sighting at this stop!

2 kangaroos (at one point a 3rd kangaroo popped his head up, but I wasn't able to get a pic w him)

2 kangaroos (at one point a 3rd kangaroo popped his head up, but I wasn’t able to get a pic w him)

Kangaroos hopping away

Kangaroos hopping away

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Next we went to the Twelve Apostles.  Apparently there were only originally nine, but they kept getting referred to as the twelve apostles, so they were renamed.  3 of the original 9 have since collapsed, so there are only 6 left standing now.

The twelve, or 6 apostles?  Due to the sun, I wasn't able to get a good picture with all of them

The twelve, or 6 apostles? Due to the sun angle, I wasn’t able to get a good picture with all of them

Great Ocean Road coastline

Great Ocean Road coastline

 

Our last stop of the day was at Gibson Steps which took us down to water level.

View at Gibson Steps

View at Gibson Steps

Watching the waves come in at Gibson Steps

Watching the waves come in at Gibson Steps – a good way to finish the day

 

On to the Next Country

Day 32 to 34: May 20 to 22 – Melbourne

Daily Distance = 24.93km, Trip Total = 964.76km

It was a super early morning (alarm was set for 5:30am), but for some odd reason I was actually up and wide awake a few minutes before the alarm went off – must be excited to see what is ahead in Australia!

The flight was pretty seamless.  Going through security they asked if I had cleaned my bike before packing it up.  I honestly had no idea this was something I had to do!  They said they’d let me through, but asked that I clean my bike with some detergent before I do any cycling.

Once I was through security I made a beeline to the Vodafone booth where I picked up an Australian SIM card and was quickly able to get online.  I then set up shop at a bench and began the process of putting my bike together.  Less than an hour later: ta-da!  I had a fully functioning bike again! :)

I headed out of the airport and with the help of the map app on my phone and only 1 wrong turn I was able to find myself on some trails within 1km of the airport.

A bike path less than 1km from the Melbourne airport

A bike path less than 1km from the Melbourne airport

 

From this bike path I had a short stretch on the road and 1 more wrong turn but then was quickly on an amazing trail that ran along a creek for several km’s.  This trail also passed through several parks and lots of sports fields (probably close to a dozen).  When I spotted a couple of baseball diamonds with people playing I felt like I was at home!

An afternoon cricket game

An afternoon cricket game

Baseball diamonds - how I missed thee!

Baseball diamonds – how I missed thee!

 

Now I’m not going to lie, in the back burner of my mind I have been just a little (read a lot) paranoid about what it will mean to cycle in a country with kangaroo’s, poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, crocodiles, etc.  I shared these concerns with my hosts the other night to which they informed me of a threat I hadn’t even considered – the magpie.  Apparently these birds have been known to swoop and attack pedestrians and cyclists.  My hosts told me that this is just during nesting season (which I promptly googled is from late August to October), and that some cyclists have taken to fastening cable ties to their helmet to try to prevent attacks (sounds like the verdict is out as to whether this works).  Regardless, I started keeping a close eye on the sky when the very first cyclist I passed on the trail had about a dozen cable ties fastened to their helmet.

Overall I was quite impressed with the volume of cycling paths leading into Melbourne from the airport.  When I wasn’t on dedicated bike paths, there was a wide variety of bike lanes on the road.

Bike path following the creek

Bike path following the creek

Bike lanes in Melbourne

Bike lanes in Melbourne

 

Once I was checked into my accommodations, I popped out to the grocery store to get some lunch/dinner and then fell asleep at a ridiculously early hour.

The next day was all about Australian Football, or footy as they call it.  My sources had told me that checking out a game at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) was a MUST do, so I did!

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Statue with a description of footy history

Statue with a description of footy history

Outside of MCG before the game

Outside of MCG before the game

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I’ve never seen a game before, so I’m not sure that I really followed all of the rules, but I was able to pick up the general gist.  Regardless, it was a close game and the crowd had a great vibe.  And I happened to pick the right side of the stadium, so I ended up sitting with the winning teams’ fan club :).  All in all, a great way to spend an afternoon!

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North Melbourne fan club

North Melbourne fan club

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North Melbourne vs Melbourne

North Melbourne vs Melbourne

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The next day I headed downtown to pick up some supplies for the next lag of the trip (dehydrated food, protein bars, camp fuel, etc).  Along the way I passed through Chinatown.

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Melbourne museum - I've been really impressed with the volume and size of parks in Melbourne. They seem like they're everywhere!

Melbourne museum – I’ve been really impressed with the volume and size of parks in Melbourne. They seem like they’re everywhere!

Another park

Another park

 

After getting my supplies, I meandered around a bit.  Walked to the Docklands, and then followed the Yarra River on the Northbank to Federation Square and then back up to my hostel.

Docklands

At the Docklands

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Lots of cool and unique bridges crossing Yarra River

Lots of cool and unique bridges crossing Yarra River

 

Afterwards I met up with another family member of a friend.  We went out for a couple drinks at a laneway bar (pretty cool spot that I never would have found on my own!) and then found a dumpling restaurant for dinner.  It was another great evening with great company and lots of tips and advice for my upcoming adventures!  Thank you!!!! :)

A Whirlwind of Sightseeing

Day 30 & 31: May 18 & 19 – Coromandel Peninsula and Auckland

Today I took the quick 10min drive over to a town called Hahei to hike to a place that is only accessible by foot or boat, called Cathedral Cove.

Hiking to Cathedral Cove

Hiking to Cathedral Cove

I thought this tree was pretty cool

I thought this tree was pretty cool

 

Cathedral Cove was a really peaceful place, with a cool rock formation that you can walk under.  I took a seat on the beach and just listened to the sound of the water for about an hour.  While I was on the beach one of the couples that I had shared the hot pool spa with last night came over and chatted for a bit!  I guess we were on the same sightseeing schedule! lol!

Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove

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On the other side of Cathedral Cove

On the other side of Cathedral Cove

The beach were I hung out

The beach were I hung out listening to the water at Cathedral Cove

 

After finishing the hike back to the car, I drove into Thames were I strolled around the town and took care of some errands.

After Thames, I drove back to Auckland and spent a lovely, relaxing evening with the family of a friend who graciously opened up their home to me, fed me, provided great conversation, gave me a place to sleep and made me feel right at home!  Thank you!! :)

The next morning I was up early to catch a ferry to Rangitoto Island (a great recommendation from my hosts last night!).  Rangitoto Island is a volcano that came out of the sea about 600 years ago.  Once dropped off by the ferry there is a hike to the summit that is estimated at taking about 1.5hrs.  It was a pretty neat hike with lots of volcanic remains to spot along the way.

Volcano rocks

Volcano rocks

The trail leading to Rangitoto summit

The trail leading to Rangitoto summit

The crater at the top of Rangitoto Island

The crater at the top of Rangitoto Island

Volcano rock

Volcano rock

At the Rangitoto Summit with Auckland in the background

At the Rangitoto Summit with Auckland in the background

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Auckland from the ferry back to Devonport (north suburb of Auckland)

Auckland from the ferry back to Devonport (north suburb of Auckland)

 

After catching the ferry back to the mainland, I headed over to North Head to check out some of their tunnels created during the war (another worthy recommendation from my host last night!).

View from North Head

View of Auckland from North Head

Heading towards the tunnels

Heading towards the tunnels

Inside a tunnel - some areas you actually need a light to see in front of you

Inside a tunnel – some areas you actually need a light to see in front of you

The disappearing gun (after firing it automatically goes down the hole to be safely reloaded)

The disappearing gun (after firing it automatically goes down the hole to be safely reloaded)

North Head

North Head

View of Rangitoto Island from North Head

View of Rangitoto Island from North Head

 

After North Head, I made my way back to the Auckland airport area to check into my accommodations for the evening.  I hauled all of my gear up to my room, sorted through things and packed up my bike for the upcoming flight.

A partly dismantled bike

A partly dismantled bike

Packing up my gear

Packing up my gear

 

It turns out the bike box I have for this flight is bigger than the one I had for the flight from Toronto.  So I didn’t have to take as much apart – yaaay!  The front racks were able to stay attached, as well as the back rack.  And it was waaaaay easier to get everything packed in.

Self Made Hot Pool

Day 29: May 17 – Takanini to Auckland Airport

Daily Distance = 24.35km, Trip Total = 940.41km, Today’s Climb = 125m

The weather for today had been consistently forecasted as rain and strong winds.  That had been the forecasted weather for today for the last 5 days when I started checking.  And it proved accurate.  So I appropriately layered up in all of my rain gear and headed outside.  Fortunately (and intentionally) I only had a short distance to cover today.  However it was mostly through the suburbs of Auckland, so there were A LOT of stops to check my phone and ensure that I was on the right road and wouldn’t inadvertently find myself on a major highway.  The map app on my phone has proven invaluable!

I made a couple wrong turns along the way, but all of them I was able to correct pretty quickly.  I also did have to walk across a very, very wet field to get to a pedestrian bridge over a highway.  But other than these minor hiccups I was able to navigate myself to a car rental location where I was warmly greeted and asked about my cycling trek to date.

After picking up my rental car, I quickly headed south to Evo Cycles in Pukekohe where they kindly gave me a bike box for free.  After this I had a couple other errands to run – so much easier and quicker to do with a car!  I went to The Warehouse store where I was able to buy bubble wrap.  I inquired about purchasing a cardboard box, but they said they didn’t sell them so they gave me one for free as well.  Then I picked up some groceries and changed out of my wet clothes and into some dry clothes.

A rainbow in Pukukohe - even though it is a bit faint it still has extremely vibrant colours

A rainbow in Pukukohe – even though it is a bit faint it still has extremely vibrant colours (more so in person than what was picked up on camera)

 

Next I drove the couple of hours to Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula.  It rained pretty much the whole way, so I didn’t stop and instead went directly to my destination.  I checked in around 3:30pm and was told that between now and the next 4hrs I could dig my own hot pool spa on the beach.  There is a certain area of this beach which on 2hrs each side of low tide (today’s low tide is at 5:30pm) you can dig a hole and it will fill with hot water, creating your own personal hot pool spa.  When the tide comes, it then smooths out all the sand and starts as a blank canvas for the next group to dig their personal hot pools.

I got settled in, changed into my bathing suit, went back to reception were I rented a shovel and started the 10min walk down to the beach.  As a pleasant bonus, by this time it had stopped raining!  At first when I was walking down the boardwalk to the beach I was the only one carrying a shovel, so I started feeling a bit foolish and wondering if I had fallen for some kind of local joke!

Following the masses to the hot water beach area

Following the masses to the hot water beach area

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There is a pretty specific area which produces hot water when you dig.  The first area that I started digging had cold water and I was beginning to wonder if I just had to dig deeper.  Fortunately somebody saw me digging and told me that the temperature doesn’t change based on depth.  If it’s cold at the start, it will stay cold.

So I started digging in another area in the middle of a bunch of pools that people had created and it was scorching hot!  Far too hot!  So I stepped back and decided what I would try next.  While I was pondering my next attempt, a couple started digging in the cold area that I first started to dig.  And then moved to the far too hot area.  Finally they asked another couple if they could expand upon their pool.  They agreed and then the four invited me over to join as well.  After we had a pool dug big enough for the 5 of us and of the perfect temperature, we introduced ourselves and chatted while the sunset.

Getting closer

Hot water beach

Self built hot water pools

Self built hot water pools

Enjoying our pools

Enjoying our pools

 

 

Getting my Cycling Legs Back – I Hope

Day 28: May 16 – Miranda to Takanini

Daily Distance = 69.60km, Trip Total = 916.06km, Today’s Climb = 467m

It is interesting how perception changes sometimes.  A week ago tackling 70km’s with close to 500m of climbing and all my gear would have seemed a little daunting.  Manageable but daunting.  Yet today I woke up and felt like it was going to be a ‘light’ day.  So I slept in and enjoyed my comfortable accommodations, only getting on the road around 9:30am.

The first 20km’s were pretty flat and had a great view of the water to my right.

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And then I started getting into some light climbs and noticed an increase in dump truck traffic.  Odd considering how quiet this road had been until now.  Soon after I found out why……there have been some ‘slips’ on this road!

There has been a lot of rain lately, slips become common

There has been a lot of rain lately, slips become common

Sometimes dropping down to one lane

Sometimes dropping down to one lane

 

After several minutes of riding through these slips I started to worry slightly that the road may become closed off at some point.  If that were the case I would have to backtrack about 25km’s and take some much busier roads to get to my destination for the day.  I eventually came to an area where construction crew were managing the traffic flow and they confirmed that the road was currently open all the way through.  PHEW!

After a couple km’s of going through the slips, the road headed inland a bit and passed through the Hunua Ranges.  This is where the bulk of my climbing for the day would be.

Starting to head over the Hunua Range

Starting to head over the Hunua Range

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Sheep farm on the hill

Sheep farm on the hill

The top of today's climb

The top of today’s climb

 

Once I got to the highest point of the climb, the grey clouds seemed to scatter slightly and I had sunshine as I sailed down the other side.  Eventually coming out to a bay.

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There was a bench by the water calling my name, so I pulled up and took a break.

A perfect resting spot for my bike and I

A perfect resting spot for my bike and I

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Almost immediately after I got back on my bike the clouds came back!  The picture below was only taken about 10min after the picture above and only a few hundred metres apart!

A lone palm tree

A lone palm tree

 

The rest of the ride was pretty calm as I passed through a few small towns and arrived at my destination on the southern outskirts of Auckland.

My parents did however pass along these couple of pictures that they took while they were in Foxton Beach New Zealand and I felt they were worth sharing:

I thought this was cute :)

I thought this was cute :)

I've been seeing these birds all over north and south island.  I was beginning to think they couldn't fly 'cuz everytime I got near them they'd run away instead of fly

I’ve seen these birds all over north and south island. I was beginning to think they couldn’t fly ‘cuz everytime I got near them they’d run away instead of fly