Kia ora

For the third consecutive Christmas , we are in New Zealand to do a cycle tour. I guess you could say that we like the place!

Kia ora is Maori for welcome. As a kid I knew the word Kia ora….it was the brand of sickly sweet green cordial my mother used to buy for us to drink. I do like the way that New Zealand has embraced its Maori heritage with so many examples of dual naming ( ie. English and Maori). The Welsh do it very well too, and can only wonder why we do not in Tasmania to acknowledge, recognise and value our extensive Tasmanian aborigine history.

Our flights out of Melbourne were delayed for multiple reasons. The plane arrived into Melbourne late due to the 44 degrees Celsius temperature accompanied by very strong winds and bushfire smoke closing one runway. All flights in and out of Melbourne were taking off and landing on the one runway.

When we finally boarded, the plane was incredibly hot. The pilot apologised. We could not have any air conditioning until he turned the motors on and we were waiting for two passengers who ‘will arrive shortly’. Famous last words.

Some 20 -25 minutes later two ladies boarded. Still they did not shut the doors. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

15 minutes later, the two ladies left the air craft.

Still the door remained open……

Maybe 10 minutes later, the two ladies reboarded the plane, with one holding the hand of a stewardess who seemed to be very insistent.

Immediately the captain asked for the door to be closed and cross checked!! She was trapped!!

As a result, we did not arrive into Auckland until around 12.45 am, and then at our overnight stay at Gervase and Deb’s house close to 2 am this morning.

First job, after some sleep, was to put the bikes together and Tony discovered my rear disc had been bent in transit. Poop! This needed to be rectified, or a new disc purchased otherwise I could not ride.

Here are Gervase and Tony discussing the situation. Fortunately for us, Gervase has the most bike friendly house ever, including a wide range of tools….disc was straightened successfully.

I am so fortunate to have a number of wonderful friends in New Zealand. I truly value and appreciate the friends I have made through cycling. Coffee and Christmas tarts with Gervase and Debra and we were on our way leaving Forrest Hill around 11 am.

We had arranged to have coffee with Dave at Waitoki. He is a Zwift friend, with us both being leaders for The Big Ring (TBR). When I used to lead Mink’s Centurion ride, Dave would regale us with corny jokes (sorry Dave), and describing his yoga efforts.

Proof of the catchup!Kaukapakapa was next after bidding Dave ‘ooroo’. This was the town where my stolen backpack was located in March last year by an eagle eyed cyclist.

Local park in the town with some interesting features.

The bikes all geared up.I am not sure what this is…fish? Maybe you can stand on it and walk along it for balance? Maybe you just look at it and photograph it.The hills started to get a bit more serious with some 13% pinches. The temperature had picked up to high 20’s. There was a really stiff breeze. Predominantly a headwind with occasional side gusts from our left, pushing us further from the verge.

The elevation map shows a few steep and nasty little pinches.

You climb, you get great views as a reward. Lush green farmland with sea views.

I like this sculpture and the cows who could not give a hoot.

Up and down, more views, more sculptures.

A very tidal river does not prevent a boat club from existing. Mangakura Boat Club has a lovely position alongside this river. We could see from tops of hills, that this river feeds out to a larger harbour and the west coast of North Island.Incredibly lush green farm land. In Tasmania many farms are already very dry and brown, so there must be solid rainfall here.

The last climb was a nasty little climb that just kept giving. I was very glad to be at the top and enjoy the views. Really any excuse to stop at the top of a hill….’oh, I just want to admire the views…”

Looking to the west.What goes up, must go down….so it was a nice descent and a few more rolling hills to arrive in Wellsford, a busy service town, and our overnight stop.

We were pretty keen for dinner, and walked the length of the town (that might sound impressive but maybe only 1km each way from our accomodation 😂 enjoying using different muscles for a stretch!)

The meal choice was standard pub fare bar the local cuisine speciality….wait for it…stew on toast!

We chose steak…Tony ate my chips and I ate his salad. The home made plum sauce ( in the wine bottle) was actually very nice, packing a peppery punch.

We will hit the sack early tonight to catch up on our beauty sleep.

Today’s route ( bar a straight line section where my Garmin was turned off under the Highway One sign).

Returning to our accomodation two final sights.

The heritage museum murals reminded me of Sheffield. Tasmania.

I did wonder why it was named Albertland having a quiet chuckle, as in my teenage years when I did cross country, there was an elderly lecherous athletic official named Albert who used to chase my running friend Catherine and I around the place as we tried to escape him (and we were very successful being far more agile and nimble).

I was somewhat stuck with Albert as my mother had arranged for him to give me lifts to cross country but she was unaware of his ‘tendencies’. I kept quiet as it was my only way of getting to the different venues to run until I got my drivers license and purchased a car.

I later figured it out…Port Albert is not too far away.So thanks for reading. Tomorrow is another day…new adventure….new memories.

Llamas or alpacas?

3 thoughts on “Kia ora

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