Tour Aotearoa – Day 10

Our sleep was disturbed by two people coming down the mountain whooping and cheering, then when riding past the campsite hollering ‘that’s the last campsite, there’s people there’. They were having the ride of their lives!

It was so cold overnight we both pulled our heads into our sleeping bags with no air holes, bitterly cold. At one point I woke up with my face covered in dribble, apparently I was having a good sleep!

The alarm went off at 5:30 and we got up and started packing away the soaking wet tent. It was frosty and we had condensation inside the tent and everything was dripping wet. Grim.

We rode along in the pitch black to get to the Bridge to Nowhere. The valley was all misty and looked majestic. We had to stop a few times as James’ hands were so cold he couldn’t hold the brakes.

The story of the Bridge to Nowhere was pretty sad, land was given to war veterans when they came back, for 20 odd years families tried living in the valley and making a home but getting things in and out was difficult so they started to build a bridge from Whanganui into the valley, but eventually ran out of money and the communities left with nothing and their 20 years of hard work was wasted.

Someone was still half asleep!

We got down to the rock where we pick up the boat, and passed a couple who had camped up in the shelter. It was the couple who had been screaming down the valley last night having an awesome time riding in the dark. They too had not booked the 8:30 boat but were hoping that someone would come and pick them up.

Eventually a jet boat rocks up to pick us up. We have to wait for another rider, Scott, who is booked on the 8:30 boat. This is Scott who was in the campsite that we were in last night. We were sure he had said we wasn’t getting the boat until later but the boat company made us wait half an hour for him anyway. It was bitterly cold. I had all my clothes on and james had my coat and still it was freezing.

Our lighter had packed up yesterday so we couldn’t even boil some water for a cup of tea. The. Worst.

Thankfully our boat driver, it feels weird calling him a captain the way he was speeding down the river, was awesome and gave us a towel and some extra life jackets to put over our knees! As we were flying down the river we passed a group of school kids who had been paddling down the river on a 3 night trip, what an awesome trip to take!!

The river trip was epic, but so cold. The kind of cold that even your tummy shivers because it’s so cold.

When we got off the boat, the boat company offered tea coffee and breakfast at their shop which was a dream to sit in the sun and thaw out drinking tea. James even managed to wash the bikes and get rid of all the mud from yesterday and we set off up the hill.

Get to the top and realise we were supposed to change the batteries in the SPOT tracker. Bugger. So back down the hill we went to change the batteries and set off again.

The view from the top was absolutely beautiful.

We stopped to sit in the shade and eat some hula hoops that we had carried with us since Auckland, when two women cycled past to warn us that they had been followed by two men in a van and felt very unsafe. It was weird because up until that point, neither of us had felt unsafe but we were both freaked out. We were really remote with only a couple of tiny towns between where we were and 60k away, no phone signal and anything could have happened.

Eventually we make it to a town and stop off in a bar for a nice cold lemonade as it had been soooooooo hooooot. Not that I’m complaining, hot is much better than rain!

Whilst sat in the bar we google the nearest bike shop as we need some bits, it closes in 26 minutes and google tells us it’ll take us 38 minutes to cycle there. LETS GO! We raced down, along state highway 4 and yuck you could tell we were back in a city. Drivers were impatient, pulled out in front of us, overtook with no room, classic city behaviour.

We stopped at the bike shop and the guy in there was brilliant and even gave James some ‘staff’ discount. He recommended some places to stay and where to go for dinner, nice!

We sampled the local Indian for dinner then sit in the bath for an hour to relax the legs. It became apparent that I have a lot of cuts on my legs which really hurt. God knows where I did them, but I’m so full of bruises I hadn’t even noticed.

I even got an arm massage, to sort out my nerve damaged hands! (And check out the awful tan lines!)

We dried out all the kit in the motel room, and packed it all away, ready for tomorrow. One step closer to home.

The adventure continues…

3 thoughts on “Tour Aotearoa – Day 10

  1. That is hardcore Vic – still sleeping in the tent when you’re in a perfectly good motel room! I’m so jealous reading about your continuing adventure. The south island will be quite a bit chillier than you’ve had so far….pack more thermals when you get home. I’ve suggested to your beloved that you limit yourselves to 48 hours at home. Plenty of time to squeeze in 19 cups of tea, 4 showers, two trips to the shops, 4 episodes of something on Netflix (all while James sorts the bikes out!). Take good care of him won’t you?

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    1. Only 19 cups of tea? Nigel, we’re not paupers 😂 sounds like a good plan. There are dirty rumours you may come and join us for a bit down south? Would be brilliant to see you again!

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      1. Ha! Yeah, against the advice of my physio I’ll probably try and do a day with you guys when you come down the Mavora Road. I’ll be dot-watching and plan this a bit further closer to the time. (Read between the lines here: I’ll bike with you guys along the Mavora Road if there’s a 99% chance of a tailwind, if I can walk properly on my buggered ankle without pain and if I’m not back at work by then…) You might not want to camp at Mavora unless the Wx forecast is good. Windy is preferable as the sandflies will be a lesser problem to contend with. No, there shouldn’t be ants…

        It’s cooling off here too. Load up all the merino layers when you get home Vic. Ride safe.

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