I’m leaving Rotorua today for Opotiki and the East Cape which should hopefully mean less cars but I hear that logging trucks are on the rise there (I’ll never be free of logging trucks it seems, they are ever so pervasive.) I stayed an extra day or two as the rain came yesterday so it was a good day to spend reading. I found a Bill Bryson book “A Sunburned Country” in the take a book/give a book section at the hostel. It’s his humorous take on the outback experience, much in the same vein of “A Walk in the Woods.”
I’ve really enjoyed Rotorua and I wouldn’t be surprised if I find myself here on the return trip even though it would be on the wrong coast. The Funky Green Voyager has been an awesome hostel, the owner and workers are really cool. There’s no TV so people are more apt to talk to each other or spend the day reading and lounging around. Definitely recommended to those passing through Rotorua. I managed to snap a picture of a window in the church even though you’re not supposed to, they also have people watching the church to make sure people don’t take pictures. I honestly can’t see why they don’t want people taking pictures in a church.
Also I got Wisa’s full name, it’s Wisa Uemura. So if anyone knows why I know that name then lemme know it’s still bugging me.
Current Location: Rotorua, New Zealand
Branden requested new pictures so I’ve added a few more from the last week of travels. The highlight of which was I went to Matamata yesterday. You may ask what is in Matamata, to which I might reply they are known for several things. One of which is their thoroughbred horses they raise, or perhaps that they are a major producer of milk, finally I might say that this is the location where Peter Jackson felt fit to film the Shire scenes for the LOTR series. It would be the latter that drew me to this location, 60km and 499m out of the way of the proposed path. It was a fun ride into Matamata, especially the 7km downhill after climbing the beast of a hill. I must say that I had a lot of fun on the tour, even though the facade from the hobbit holes are now gone (as they belong to New Line Cinema.) It was fun to use my imagination though and to learn a lot about why and how the set was used. It rests on private property which belongs to a family of sheep farmers and the reason it was chosen was due to the fact that it had a lake and a tall tree next to the lake which was to be used in the party scene (they found it while flying over the lake.) I got to see a sheep shorn for the first time (it’s part of the tour for some reason) which was kinda neat, and feed a lamb (they know what the bottle is for and how to use it.)
On getting back to camp that night I found a fellow tourer in camp as well, he’s from Wisconsin, and i’ll link his blog when I remember to have his contact info around. He’s here for a few weeks and cycled to Rotorua a little earlier than I did. It was nice to talk to a tourer, as it always is. I cycled into Rotorua today at about 1pm after a 10km downhill (I think the high point today was about 630m) which ended up being a lot of fun. I found a hostel that’s called the Funky Green Voyager, pretty nice place for a few days I reckon.
I’m liking Rotorua, it’s a chill place that still has life to it. Though I must say it does smell like rotten eggs at times when the wind dies down (due to the geothermal activity in the area.) I’ll probably be here a few days as there is talk of the storm that hit Christchurch in Australia has moved over to this neck of the woods.
Addendum: The fellow I met at Oasis Springs Park in Matamata is named Michael and I’ve linked his blog. The story behind him is kinda a neat one that I forgot to add earlier. I’ll try to rely the story now. One of the first questions normally asked is where you are from. Usually I answer Hawaii (dunno if thats wrong of me, since most people answer with their country.) He then goes on to ask which island (he understood Hawai’i without a problem.) It ends up he’s going to Maui after NZ for a wedding. Now this is where I need Maui peeps help because I know the first name of the girl getting married (Wisa) and I know we went to highschool together but I can’t remember for the life of me if it was through band or something else. I do remember she was a few years older than we were. So yeah, if anyone can remember please let me know. The other thing he mentioned is that her parents were teachers, but the last name didn’t ring any bells for me.
Current Location: Katikati, New Zealand
It’s somewhat fitting that I’m doing the Pacific Coast highway on the New Zealand side after finishing it on the California side. After this i’ll have biked most of the pacific coast I guess. Maybe I’ll have to go to Alaska to cycle it around there.
Big story of yesterday was as soon as I got into Waihi I almost got sideswiped by a car pulling into the road that I was in. As it turned out I only got a glancing blow (thankfully i’m part ninja and was able to maneuver so I didn’t get hit full on.) The guy didn’t even realize what had happened until after I shouted at him and all he did was look back at me in his rear view mirror, didn’t even bother to stop. So whats the first thing I do? Find the nearest pub and order a few beers, problem solved.
Other than that incident the riding has been quite scenic, I know anything I write or take pictures of wouldn’t do the place justice. I’m heading today for Tauranga then off to Rotorua. I’ve still only met one other tourer so far, but I’m guessing because there are so many places to stay (backpackers, B&B, hostels, etc…) that they may be staying elsewhere. Either that or they are all on the south island.
Current Location: Colville, New Zealand
Today being my 3rd day of riding and the going is somewhat slow. But I think it’s getting better, 3 weeks of breaks and it definitely shows I should have been riding more. I’m currently doing a circuit around the Coromandel Peninsula which actually puts me north of Auckland today (counter of the way I should be going, but whos keeping track) I’m heading today for Fantail Bay which they say is an amazing place to camp (and it’s free! but also no bathrooms, showers, or water for that matter so i’ll have to carry in a few more liters of water)
The road actually reminds me a lot of home, they have waddle trees all over the place and a lot of the foliage is similar to Maui, sort of like Paia and Haiku with a lot less people. It’s hard to believe that so few people travel this road, I can literally go for several kilometers without anyone passing me. I also found myself riding on the right side of the road this morning until someone honked at me, old habits die hard.
I wrote this yesterday before stopping in Fantail Bay which was a terrific spot, dolphins playing in the bay and a few other travelers like myself. Though none of them were biking, though there was one guy tramping who I talked to a bunch about his time tramping through the Camino de Santiago.
On another note i’ll have to keep track of kiwi hospitality. One good story from yesterday was, as I was cycling along the gravel road I got my first flat of the trip so I pulled off the road and repaired it and as I got started again a car waved me down coming the opposite direction. They asked me how I was doing with my load and chatted for a while, they then handed me two beers! It was a great incentive to head to camp to enjoy the suds. I got to camp about 20km later and setup my hammock, sat in it an enjoyed the semi cool beers. I couldn’t ask for more.
The post was title fast kine thinking I could post/email everyone necessary yesterday but I ran out of time before I could hit the post button.
Current Location: Auckland, New Zealand
Thanks goes to the summercamp household for two great weeks of non-stop entertainment. And I am also remiss in not thanking Matt and Angie along with Sammy and his house for taking such great care of me up in Seattle, I couldn’t have done any of it without you folks.
After a few long flights with minor troubles and completely losing a day I find myself now in New Zealand, the bike made it in once piece (I think, I’ll have to take it for a test ride tomorrow) I think I’ll be in Auckland for the next five days to get used to the time and whatnot then I’ll start making my way to the South island.