Monday, 8 April 2013

The Road to Auckland

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Kauri Trees and Hot Springs

Today was a long ride through the Kauri Forest. I had to ride 25 miles of winding mountain roads through the forest. I visited some of the largest trees on a short walk. At lunch in Omapere I bumped into a couple I'd met in Pohara in the South Island. I also realised that I'd left a T-shirt in Rawene, so I wrote a letter to the camp-ground enclosing five dollars and asking them to send it to Wellington. They did. Sweet.

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I camped beside a river in a camp-ground almost taken over by a club of all-terrain vehicle drivers. They had had some kind of race meeting at the weekend. They were friendly though. Unfortunately it rained.

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The road to Pahi was relatively flat but I was thwarted by a stiff head-wind and although the day was clear and warm, the country-side was less dramatic than before. I spent a couple of hours at the Pioneer Museum where I learnt about the Kauri trees and its gum.

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As I got nearer to Auckland the traffic gets busier and I was  forced onto the main road for five of six miles. This is where I lost my bottom water-bottle cage. A screw had worked its way out. The ride ended up being almost seven hours, some of it on gravel and mostly up and down all day. I remember putting up a rabbit and chasing it for a while. I also had a huge lunch at Wellsford. The toil was worth it though as I ended up at Parakai Hot Springs and camping gave you free access to the thermal springs. Just the way to spend the evening after a long ride.

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The final days ride into Auckland took me through Waitakere and its surrounding vineyards, before reaching the outskirts and deciding to catch a suburban train into the city. Whilst checking into the backpackers I met Caroline and Sue (from the Cape Reinga trip) and had a drink with them that evening. In the afternoon I made all the arrangements for my forthcoming holiday in the Cook Islands and Tahiti.

I spent one further day in Auckland. I managed to find an English Sunday paper and spent the morning catching up on the news. After wandering around town for a while I visited the aquarium. In this one you walk through a perspex tunnel inside the tank, with sharks and rays swimming all around you. Amazing. they also had sea-horses, a couple of species be indigenous. I had a quiet evening doing my laundry.