Monday, 15 April 2013

To the East Cape

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Cricket and Football at Hick's Bay

After over 2650 miles I finally get a puncture! Actually two in a row, and a tyre so thin I can see through it. I hitch the last 5 miles into Opotiki getting a lift from the very first car. I stayed at the backpackers here and re-met Sandy from the Cape Reinga trip. Went out for a drink in the evening.

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The next days ride was along a beautiful coast with the White Island volcano on my left almost all day. It was especially nice sitting on the beach with some Maori lads watching the sun go down behind the island which had a permanent volcanic plume. This part of NZ is strongly Maori and I pass several Whares (Meeting Houses) and what look like Totem poles. I also got stung by a wasp today whilst climbing a steep hill. I just gritted my teeth and rode on. This was my first night camping for a while; it was lonely listening to the thunder and seeing the lightning flash, but the rail held off.

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The following days ride was also along the coast, until the last few miles to Hick's Bay. On arrival at the backpackers here, on a makeshift road around a headland to an isolated cove, I played cricket on the beach. Friendly atmosphere. I stayed here two nights. In the morning we got up at 5am to get to the East Cape Lighthouse in time for sunrise. This is NZ's most easterly point, and the new day begins here for the whole world! We shivered in the cold and watched the sun come up. Not very spectacular, but at least I'd brought by stove to make coffee. In the afternoon we kicked a football around before going fishing off the rocks. Julian managed to catch a Snapper and a couple of Rock Cod.

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