Starting a long cycling trip (actually anything longer than a few hours) is not easy on the mind or the body. After buying and preparing Traicho Junior (the bicycle) in Auckland, I was ready to leave on the slightly overcast December 11.
Auckland is a city made for cars but there are some bicycle lanes. Getting out of Auckland directly north though is a bit complicated, so I decided to go west first and then north. And to avoid breathing all the car exhaust, I took the suburban train for 6 NZD to a station in the west. Bikes are allowed on trains but not on buses in Auckland.
In four days I did 224 km over quite a few hills and some rain.
My first day was quite difficult, with a few hills, me being quite unfit yet and getting used to NZ’s roads. I had contacted Chris and Mel from warmshowers.org (a hospitality network for cyclists) in Huia, west of Auckland and stayed with them that first very rainy night.
Hookers have strictly regulated working hours in NZ.
This is where Auckland gets its drinking water.
Huia is within the Waikatere Ranges Regional Park which is just outside of Auckland and has some amazing scenery and beaches. Junior here having his breath taken away.
From Huia it’s a dead end so next day Chris drove me and Junior back towards Auckland for a bit and I followed a road called Scenic drive that goes around Auckland up on the hills with nice views of the city. This is the Arataki visitor center, which has great views. It is the information center for the regional park and very well made – basically a museum.
Maori language ABC
Some views of Auckland from the Scenic drive.
I also got this message from the doctor who treated my wounds. Riding for ten days on two types of antibiotic. Yuk!
That day I rode a good distance and got to a town called Kaukapakapa where there was no campsite and it was getting dark. I saw a flat spot next to an abandoned house and went in to ask the neighbors if I could camp there. They didn’t mind at all. Even invited me for dinner and breakfast. At first I needed to keep quiet for half an hour because they were showing Friends on TV.
Next day it was raining bad. I got to a bigger place called Wellsford and used the internet at the library. There were a few ways to go from here but I didn’t want to go anywhere in the rain. And then, voila, it turns out (long live Facebook) I have a Brazilian friend doing his work and travel thing on a farm nearby. Got a place and a friend to visit that night.
Then it cleared out and in the morning I left early and rode along some nice beaches to Waipu (pronounced “why poo”).
In Waipu I stayed with another warmshowers host- Kathy and her amazing family and pets. They live next to a river with a big backyard, plenty of domestic animals and wild birds.
I stayed with them for two nights to wait out a pretty bad storm. That stormy day was however the perfect day to go to the woods and steal a Christmas tree.