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12th Dec 2010 - Cape Reinga At Last!

Guy and Steve at Cape Reinga and pointing to Cape Bluff
A day spent doing the washing, throwing out things and sorting, oh and a little biking when we popped over to Cape Reinga and marvelled. From Waitiki Landing to Cape Reinga is about 20kms of hilly road - each way. There'sa bit of a climb out of Waitiki Landing then you eventually reach a bit that seems mostly sand and then there's a fair old climb to Cape Reinga. There is less beef cattle (hooray for a pleasant change) and more forest and scrub than has been usual. Cape Reinga is a tremendous location, with sacred Maori sites, spectacular views and clashing seas (it is where the Pacific and the Tasman Sea meet). I took lots of photos and even a couple of video 360-ish panoramas. In the photo I've just uploaded Guy is pointing in the direction of the other end of NZ, Cape Bluff, and Steve is pointing out the Cape Bluff sign. In any situation S and G will, of course, do completely different things, though this time we didn't tumble over each other while doing so... The video gives more or less a 360 degree panorama.A german couple asked where we had cycled from today and we had to admit that we were unheroically a few kms down the road at a campsite. They said that they wanted to do NZ by bike but it was just too heavy to manage by the time they got everything on board so they campervanned for two months. It is certainly true that cycle touring is a process of stripping away inessentials such as sofas, complete kitchen sets, comfy beds, large libraries of books, large collections of clothes. And even now I'm wanting to chuck away stuff - too many clothes, guides, tools. It is a healthy response and is no doubt doing me a lot of spiritual good. We could be much lighter and our souls, miserable wretched things that they are, would be the better for it. But at least we aren't in a campervan.There are some familiar old constellations in the sky but the lovely thing is that they are upside down - most obviously orion has the big nebulae in the wrong place until you realise it is as if you are seeing it standing on your head in the UK.Back at the campsite we ran into Clive (see entry from a couple or so days ago) who was stocking up on food at the garage before camping out at the DOC campsite near the cape. And then we spent much of the evening chatting to Doug who has come to NZ and also Australia on a working visa to explore life in the antipodes, visit relatives and do many a mile by bike. We tried out the Waikato draught beer (from a bottle) which was light, slightly hoppy, and decidedly unexciting. I think it's a thirst quenching sort of beer and competing with lager.Slept surrounded by a thousand mosquitos just outside the inner tent.

13th Dec 2010 - Heading Down the Pacific Coast

wet day on the road near hihiAbout 80 miles, or more precisely (according to road signs) 123kms. The day started with a minute breakfast when we got a multipack packet, each, of muesli. Needless to say this isn't sufficient to keep a cyclist's wheels turning so we ate just about every slice of bread (Guy even ate the mouldy slices, and without any obvious ill effects) and drop of honey we had. Doug, who arrived at the campsite yesterday, set off to see Cape Reinga while we managed to swarm by about 10.30am. Then it was a fairly fast ride for us, with lunch eaten at Te Kao (delicious coffee) and Pukenui (excellent choice compared with the last few days). Then Hohoura (very seasonal - hoho!) then Awanui, then turned onto state highway 10 and cycled the final 40+ kms to Hihi Motor Camp. It accepts non-motorised in spite of the name, though the campsite office had shut by the time we arrived - 8pm. The picture is just before we got to the camp - turning off the main road we turned off the main road for the last few kms, went over a moderate sized hill and then down to a coast of low hills, crossing this river a little before we arrived at Hihi (Hi!).At the moment, from the camp kitchen (just eaten a very large salad - avocados are grown locally and are really cheap) I can hear the sound of the Pacific Ocean lapping on the sand. It is also drizzling so not quite the perfect idyllic scene but not bad. Today has been warm but with cloud and patchy drizzle. Scenery today - mostly undulating with some low-ish hills. Pretty on the whole but especially nice during the last few miled with views of low rocky headlands and the occasional reef and small breaking surf. Wind NNE so sometimes behind us, sometimes ahead and sometimes to the side...In the camp kitchen a cat came and curled up next to Guy...

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