The ride to lake Taupo
was all uphill in pouring rain, but it stopped when we got there. As it
was Christmas the prices were high for motels, but we found a very nice
place for about 40 pounds a night and stayed there for two days over
David's backwheel developed a wobble from a
relatively new tyre which had split to the canvas to give a large
bulge. He also noticed that the rim was dodgy as one of the double
eyelets had split and two others were looking doubtful. It turned out
to be cheaper to buy another rear wheel than a new rim.
Taupo, for the fishermen, contains large numbers of brown and rainbow
trout. The average size is three kilos and fish up to 12 kilos are
common. It is about 20 miles by 10 miles wide and while we were there
had three foot waves and very few fishermen.
The motels owners
invited us to a christmas breakfast barbecue with their friends. It is
strange drinking Champagne round an open air barbecue on Christmas
We went to look at the bungie jumping over the river but
unforunately (or should it be fortunately) it was closed and we
couldn't have a go!
On boxing day we left for Turangi and cycled along the lake shore.
Turangi information centre they marked campsites on our map and we
headed off in worsening weather to one of them. All uphill, rain
getting wetter, no sign of a campsite. Decided to go back to where the
road crossed a canal bridge and camp under the bridge out of the rain.
By this time it was getting dark and we set up the tent under the
bridge next to the canal. As the ground was surfaced, the tent pegs
were no use and a bike placed each side served to anchor the guy ropes.
All was well and dry until late at night when the wind got up to gale
force and we found that we were in a wind tunnel. We both spent most of
the night hanging onto the tent to stop it blowing away. In the morning
after only a few hours sleep, all was ok apart from one broken eyelet
on the tent.
Taking another road out we came across a camp site
that we should have been at. It had been marked on the wrong road by
the information centre. Still showery but not cold, and the road
continued uphill all day until we stopped at a ski-resort called
Whakapapa Village. As the weather was worsening we again stayed in a
motel type room for two nights as the following morning it continued to
pour with rain. The rest was quite welcome as we had free hot spas and
very comfy television and dining rooms.
The next morning we
awoke to much better weather with a hint of sunshine and set off
downhill most of the day via National Park, Ohakune and Raetihi to stop
at Pipiriki on the Whanganui river. David had thoughts of fishing on
the river until he saw it. The river was a raging brown torrent and
unfishable even if there were fish, which the locals said were
difficult to catch in the best of times. They said not to bother - it
would be a waste of time.
A small free camping area at Pipiriki
was shared with canoeists waiting to be picked up after spending the
last three days paddling down the river in the rain. One couple waited
five hours for their lift as the agent forgot about them until reminded
with a phone call.
poured down all night and continued up to about midday when we decided
to set off to follow the river downstream. in theory if the road
follows the river downstream it must go downhill - musn't it? Well it
didn't. I suppose there must have been more down than up but there was
a lot of up.
After camping in a very small village overnight the sun finally shone and the rest of the ride down the river gorge to Whanganui was in warm sunshine with a tail wind.
a quick look round Whanganui we headed off to a campsite called
Duddings lake for new years eve. The road was now a state highway and
quite busy especially with the holiday traffic. The campsite was just
as busy and the lake was alive with jet skis.
All the campers were very friendly and we shared large campfires, toasted
plenty of canned beer and were treated to a midnight fireworks display
over the lake. It occured to us that we saw the new year in twelve
hours before the UK!
bright warm sunshine on an even busier road to just past levin. Had
some difficulty getting supplies as most of the shops were closed for
the holiday but Joan managed to do a good meal from pasta, tuna and a
tin of tomato something.
We seem to be in the fruit and veg area and bought a large box of strawberries which tasted ok but had the texture of carrots.
day after new years day and most of the shops are still shut. This is
also a publc holiday just like Boxing day. The wind is now blowing us
along rapidly towards Wellington and the traffic is still heavy, but a
very hilly detour took us on quieter roads to a suburb of Wellinton
called Lower Hutt where we camped for the night on a commercial site
ready for the final North Island ride to Wellington in the morning.
short wind assisted ride to Wellington booking the ferry for 11am
tomorrow on the way. Checked in a nice room in a backpacker hotel and
spent the rest of the day wandering around Wellington and visiting the
bought some postcards weeks ago and has been carrying them around while
she tries to buy stamps. Eventually after buying six stamps and
sticking on five of them she noticed that they were postage paid and
didn't need them!
problems with the ferry. Wheeled bikes on with bags as usual. All the
tourist books give the names of two ferry companies only. They charge
60 dollars. A local told us of another which only charges 40 dollars.
It was just as good as the others.
The ferry landed at Picton at
about 2.30pm and we set off towards Nelson to stay with friends of Bob
and Myrtle from our cycling club.
Dave and Joan