While thinning the apple trees, we decided to change our whole game plan for traveling New Zealand. With the money we were making we spent most of it on bikes and bike touring equipment. We’re investing a lot into this idea but in the long run we hope it will save us money and give us a better experience traveling this country. We have also decided to camp instead of stay in hostels which is keeping the cost of living down nice and low. The ultimate plan is work less and travel more, experience nature more (not through the bus window) and be more independent, not having to rely on public transport timetables.
Right now we are travelling around with all our stuff strapped on or hanging from the bikes. Everything fits on nicely but I think we are carrying too much weight. I haven’t been able to weigh everything accurately but I estimate that all my gear comes to about 25kg and that’s before I add food and water onto the bike. Jasmin is carrying a similar weight on her bike. As you can imagine cycling like this can be quite difficult but with a bit of practice we are getting used to it. We are confident now with riding the bikes but the hills are not fun and New Zealand has a lot of hills.
We started our tour cycling around the Hawkes Bay trails ending in Napier. From there we were advised to take the bus to the next town because the only way there was via the highway which was an extremely strenuous cycle going up hill for most of it through mountain ranges. There was also very heavy traffic with it being new years. We were not happy with having to take the bus but when we seen the route from the window we knew we had made the right decision. Arriving in the next town Wairoa, we took the Tiniroto Road which connects Wairoa to Gisborne via a quite country road. This road is 101km long and we planned to do it in two days. On the first day we made it to the Tiniroto Tavern but the last 10km’s before we arrived were all up very steep hills and nearly killed us. The weather that day was extremely hot which didn’t help matters much. At the Tavern (while cooling down with a beer) we met a couple named Brian and Felicity who informed us that the second half of the way was much harder and that we were looking at another 20 kms of uphill before it started getting easier. They kindly offered to give us a lift to Gisborne the next day and put our bikes on a trailer. We accepted their offer. That night the owners of the Tavern let us sleep on the stage in the community center across the road. If anyone ever does find themselves in Tiniroto, make sure you call into the tavern and say hello to Colin and Lynn.
The next morning Felicity came to pick us up with the trailer. We stopped off at her house where we had breakfast and then a good look around the gardens. Brian, who was a logging truck driver and knew the roads around the area like the back of his hand, gave us some really good advice that helped with our route planning. Before we left their house, Felicity gave us a bag of sweet corn and a massive bag of plums for their plum tree outside. We are learning quickly that the Kiwi hospitality is not to be underestimated.
We arrived in Gisborne with lots of food and some local knowledge for the next part of your trip.
A picture of us on Christmas Day. The shot was taken a few days before we took off on the bikes. We don’t expect to be this scrubbed up again for a while to come.