The main reason why we stayed in Matamata 2 days was simple – right here in 1999 Peter Jackson and his team decided to build Hobbiton and other parts of J. R. R. Tolkien’s Shire for The Lord of the Rings film series. And we didn’t want to miss it. We had expected it would be a very touristic place – and it was. Many tourists, a lot of buses with even more tourists and overpriced souvenier’s shops. But it was definitely worth to visit. The Village is fabulous. Every single detail is perfect and we tought Hobbits still live there.
On Tuesday November 7th we started our last leg in New Zealand. That day’s destination was Paeroa. A route was partly on back roads and partly the Hauraki cycle trail. Only 55km and mostly flat so we managed to get to the town quite early. There was no holiday park so we were happy that Robin, our other Warmshower host, was going to look after us. After a shared dinner we had to plan rest of our days. We would like to spend more time in Coromandel peninsula but on the other hand we were running of time to get to Auckland, where we wanted to be by Saturday.
As always, the weather made a decision for us. It was pouring down on Wednesdays morning so there was no need to go to Waihi. We packed ourselves and around midday we headed North for Themes. We followed the Hauraki cycle trail again but the trail was a little bit boring. A narrow flat gravel road. The only variegations were cattle stops. When I was crossing over maybe 10th of them, my front wheel jumped a little bit I lost a balance and my handlebar touched a fence on the one side. I hit my shoulder on the other side and my bike ended up on the ground. When Jakub checked me either the bike were ok, he started laughing. And after a minute I had to laugh too. When we got to Themes we bought a bottle of wine to drink it down. Just to be sure:-)
Thusdays was supposed to be a easy day. The last part of the Hauraki trail from Thames to Miranda hot spings. On a map it looked like we were following a coast. But in reality we didn’t see the sea at all. And with a lot of headwinds we didn’t enjoyed it too much. Fortunately, after a lunch when we finished the wine and ate some good cheese, the rest of the route was much better. We arrived in Miranda holiday park soon enough so we could do some laundry and relaxed in a hot pool. In the evening we did the final decision that we took a coastal route to Auckland.
On Friday we headed for Maraetai. And as I didn’t enjoyed the previous day, that morning was great. We biked along the sea with many lookouts and we had a tailwind, yay! We also met a Brazilian couple, Felippe and Marian, who we had met in Wanaka couple weeks ago and they just started biking from Auckland down to Wellington. We talked for a while but then we had to go. In the evening when we were climbing the last hill for that day I couldn’t believe my eyes: I saw the Sky Tower, an icon of Auckland, in the distance. Wow, we have almost made it! And it wasn’t too difficult at all 🙂 We camped for the last time that evening and we couldn’t wish a better place. The camp was on a cliff with a view to Auckland. And when the sun started to set and the sky turned red, we lost words…
When we left the camp the next morning, we realized we were already in Auckland. At least according a traffic. We had only 30km to get to a harbor and take a ferry to the downtown but it was exhausting. A lot of cars, no shoulder on roads and nobody bothered to slow down a little. When when arrived in Auckland we took another ferry to a northern part of the city. Then we had to bike a final 17km to a friend’s house. It was 4pm when we arrived, tired but happy. Happy that we did it and maybe more happy that we didn’t have to bike any more for now.
Next three days we spent with relaxing and preparing ourselves and bikes for a flight to Chiag Mai. We needed to dismantle the bikes, get boxes and bags and buy some stuff. The time flew so fast and on Tuesdays evening we had to go to the airport.
It is midnight, the bikes and all bags are checked-in and we have a few more moments before a gate will be open. I would like to say something nice (not only) about our ride. I would like to say something about New Zealand, its beauty and wilderness and that we feel privileged that we could call New Zealand our home for the last three years….But I have lost my words. Maybe it is too early. And maybe I haven’t realized what we are doing, what we are leaving and where we are going. And maybe it is supposed to be like that.
Haere ra, New Zealand!
For those who love numebrs:
29 days including 5 rest days
15 rainy days
2 new chains
Falls 2:2 (Jakub:Dasha)