Miranda - Hikutia
Apologies in advance for no photos, but any Wi-fi we can access is way too slow to upload images. We try and post more images on Instagram - follow us there @schindlersontour, and meanwhile we will add images to each blog once we get a good connection.
We’ve seen many cycling tourists on our travels around the world and often thought they must be mad, but now that we’re in the saddle they don’t seem so crazy after all!
We realise it is only day 3 for us, and the fantastic summer weather is in our favour, but this potentially could rank up there as one of our best holiday decisions to date, that said we are probably wise to reserve judgement until sometime in mid-January and then decide who takes the credit, or otherwise, for the decision making!
Of the 56kms we rode today from Miranda to Hikutia, a good portion of it was on the Hauraki Rail Trail, a flat (yay), wide, off-road gravel trail following the historic railway corridor. We elected to stay on the road in the morning because the portion of the trail from Miranda was brand new, it opened only last month and had very thick gravel, not at all compacted yet – too much like hard work first thing in the morning.
We joined the trail after a pizza and shandy lunch stop at the Kopu Station Hotel having just crossed the Waihou River on the “new to us” bridge – the last time we were here it was the single lane bridge infamous for backing up the traffic to and from the Coromandel, particularly on holiday weekends, and looking at the volume of traffic today and the old bridge now you wonder how it survived for so long.
Traffic was the least of our worries on the trail as we crossed bridges and passed through tunnels, meeting only one recreational rider and a single walker the entire afternoon. The most we had to contend with was the dozens of farm & stock crossings we had to negotiate, and at one point waiting for a dairy herd to pass by as they strolled in for milking.
The quiet trail was ideal too for the first bit of experimenting with our new toy, a little DJI Spark drone. Suffice to say we have a way to go before we’re producing any footage worth sharing.
Of course the day would not be complete without a hill, and sod’s law on this scorching day was that it was the final 7kms that was the uphill slog - just when you’re getting tired and all you can think of is an ice cold beer. But we got our rewards when we pulled into Fantail Creek and our old friend Captain Morgan from Queenstown days had his home brew ready! Ian & Natalie very kindly treated us to a night out in their local pub, complete with a true blue Kiwi character or two.
This 9-week trip to NZ is not all about biking. We start by dropping the bikes in Auckland, flying to Queenstown to spend a couple of weeks and to run the marathon. Fly back to AKL and ride south to Nelson via Eastland & Hawkes Bay, before returning from Wellington to AKL by train.
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