What really happened!
27.03.2013 - 17.04.2013
Distance: 2592.9 km
Elevation: + 40533 / - 40535 m
Cycling days: 28 (27 Mar 2013 - 01 May 2013)
Flat tyres: 5
Wellington to Wanganui
Not the most exciting part of my journey, but cycling on the Kapiti beach the 1st day was priceless - a good omen for the rest of my cycling.
This part was also a game in trying to avoid the Highway 1, and getting myself back in shape: after the ridiculous long hours working on Iron Man 3, going for indoor sitting position to cycling outdoor the next day was something my body was very surprised about; but eventually, he adapted quickly. Thanks for that!
The Wanganui River
The Wanganui Journey is part the New Zealand's Great Walks, but it is not a walk at all, rather a kayak trip down the river.
I was going the opposite direction on my bicycle, at last on an almost car free road.
After going through Athens, London, I finally made it to Jerusalem (yes, all in the same day!) where french missionaries build that beautiful church:
The next day, on a bright Sunday morning, I was caught into a cycling race, and crossed the finish line in Raetihi first in my category (cyclist with paniers and tent) under the ovation of a hysterical crowd! Well done me!
The Forgotten Highway and the Whangamomona Republic
Another fantastic lonely road to cycle: the Forgotten Highway (State Highway 43), going from Taumarunui to Stratford. There is the Bridge to Somewhere somewhere over there, which has the same design the the Bridge to Nowhere crossing the Wanganui River - I missed to see those two because there were off my road. But I didn't miss to leave New Zealand for a night in the Whangamomona Republic. Did you know that they elected a goat and a poodle for president?
A most beautiful lonely mountain. This gave me the opportunity the leave my bicycle for a day, stretch my legs, and hike to the summit.
And because of its resemblance to Mount Fuji, Mount Taranaki provided the backdrop for the movie The Last Samurai.
That means I won't need to climb Mount Fuji because it is the same - but I'll probably do it anyway!
After the Taranaki episode, it was time to put on some mileage and head North. After caves stop at Waitomo, I met my favorite Highway 1 for a few kilometers before my longest day of my entire journey:
The idea was pass Auckland in one day, but not stop there. The day started very well with a flat tire after only 10km after departure granting me a 5km walk to get it replaced - I was actually lucky it happened that close to a bike shop.
I hit the road again after some precious time lost, made it to Auckland which welcomed me with some heavy showers. I took also the opportunity to visit a bit of the suburbs by getting lost a couple of times and took the time to enjoy some traffic jams. I finally passed Auckland and arrived at dusk in Kumeu. I thought I'll have some nice dinner and go to bed after this 110km epic ride. I had dinner indeed. But Kumeu, - a lovely little place with a gas station, a liquor store, a thai takeaway and a pub - couldn't offer me any room in any hotel, bed&breakfast nor camping place... Putting the lights on my bicycle, my headlight on my head, I was on the road again for a 23km night trip to Helensville - kids, do not try that at home - it is stupid. Actually, aside the fact that i could barely see the road, it was much safer than I thought: all cars slowed down wondering what those weird lights on the side of the road were until they realized that there was some loony freaky crazy cyclist... and it was a fantastic experience too!
Northland and the kauri trees
Heading further North, the Kauri Museum tells the pioneers days through the use of kauri timber and gum in beautiful displays and galleries. They were really good and found clever solutions to get the giant kauri trees down, and they were actually a bit too good in doing their job.
There was also an exhibition of local soldiers who fought in WWI and WWII.
Cape Reinga, here I come!
You have to pay the entrance fee for the cape: 2 days of non stopping rain. I made the first one a rest day, but my legs wanted to push the pedal and couldn't handle a second one. Anyway, it is more fun under the rain, isn't it?
And finally, this is the Highway 1 again, heading to the Cape Reinga, at the northern end of the North Island of New Zeland, where the Tasman Sea meats the Pacific Ocean.
According to the Maori mythology, Cape Reinga is where the spirits of the dead travel to on their journey to the afterlife. Well, I was not ready for that yet, so I turned back and went to the 90 miles beach.
To be continued...