For previous blog entries of our ride through NZ, Australia, South East Asia, China and Central Asia, click on the little arrows beside the dates in the Blog Archive below and use the scroll down menu.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Places to stay and shop

Here are a list of some of the places who have supported us on our trip along the way through giving us free or discounted accomodation, bike parts and other services. Thanks to everyone for your support.

New Zealand

Sacha Williams
Miranda Holiday Park
Front Miranda Rd
R.D 6
Miranda 3576
Ph: 0800 833 144

Trish Hughes
Te Puke Holiday Park
S Highway 2
PO Box 10
Te Puke
Ph: 07 573 9866

Pauline and George Wardle
Glenross Lodge backpackers
Route 52
R.D 3
Eketahuna 5480
Ph: 06 376-7288

Paddy and Tess McCloskey
Rivers Edge Holiday Park
Harker Street
Ph: 06 857 8976

Mawley Park Motor Camp
15 Oxford Street
Ph/Fax: 06 378 6454

Herbertville camp ground
15 Seaview Road
Ph: 06 374 3446
Mike Stevenson
Bazil's Hostel Y.H.A
54/56 Russell Street
Westport 7825
Ph: 03 789 6410
Noah's ark backpackers
16 Chapel Street
Greymouth 7805
West Coast
ph:03 768 4868
Brian Gallaher
333 Mossburn Five Rivers Road
Lumsden 9793
ph: 03 248 6444
Graham Seers cyclery
Shop 1, Port Marina
Park Street
Port Macquarie
NSW 2444
Ph: 02 6583 2333
Marek Jankowski
Two wheels industries
679 Hunter Street
Newcastle West
Ph: 02 4929 4252
Wayne and Marilyn
Flat Rock campsite
38 Flat Rock Road
East Ballina
NSW 2478
02 6686 4848
Totally spoked
239 Brisbane Street
ph: 07 3202 4208
Simon and Nick
99 bikes
592 Wickham Street
Fortitude Valley
Ph: 07 3257 4994
Coolum cycles
Yandina Road
Coolum beach
Ph: 07 5446 4388
Jim's cycles
Washpool Street
Ph: 07 49923528
Roy & Robyn Sefton
Discovery Holiday Parks - Biloela
Valentine Plains Road
Qld 4715
Ph: 07 4992 2618
Tuckers bike shop
83 High Street
Qld 4701
Ph: 07 4928 9900
Different cycles
22 Upper Dawson Rd
Rockhampton 4700
Ph: 07 4922 8523
Tropicana caravan park
1 Range Road
QLD 4737
Ph: 07 4956 1480
Hortons flower shop
Shop 4
19 Lawrie Street
Ph: 07 4933 4599
Martin Sparks
Coastal Wellbeing centre
9 First Avenue
Ph: 07 5479 0746
Kate and Philip Larsson
Seaview apartments
Shute Harbour Rd
Airlie Beach
Tel: 07 4946 4595
Cruise Whitsundays
263 Shute Harbour Rd
Airlie Beach
Christine Rollman
Kirwan chiropractic
Suite 1B
48 Thuringowa Rd
Ph: 07 4723 4122
Colin Oke
Cardwell caravan park
107 Roma St
Ph: 07 4066 8689
Gretta Gilchrist
August moon caravan park
PO box 915(Bruce Hwy)
QLD 4860
Ph: 07 4063 2211
Renner Springs Desert Inn
Stuart Highway
Northern Territory
Ph: 08 8964 4505
Larrimah Historic Hotel
Lot 5 Mahoney St
Larrimah 0852
Ph: 08 8975 9931
Red Gum Tourist Park
42 Victoria Highway
PO Box 273
NT 0851
Ph: 08 8972 2239
Pine Creek service station
08 8976 1217
Banka Banka Station
Ph: 08 8964 4511
Midland Caravan Park
102 Stuart Hwy
NT 0862
Ph: 08 8969 2037
Dunmarra Caravan Park
Between Tennant Creek and Daly Waters on Stuart Hwy
Ph: 08 8975 9922

Gisborne to Wellington - end of the North Island


Glenross backpackers
Glenross backpackers
Shi - cat - su
Longest place name in the world

Livvy, Tess, Paddy, Billy, Baxter
Emma and family
The bothy
Murray, Milly, Pippa

Mohaka River

The bothy

Distance covered - 1250kms

Route- Gisborne - Morere - Wairoa - Tutira - Napier - Waipawa - Herbertville - Pongaroa - Masterton - Lower Hutt - Wellington

After our excellent stop at Heather and Keith's, we said our goodbyes and got back on the bikes. Ian and Anna, our new cycling buddies met us in Gisborne and we set off to Morere where we were treated to a shot in the hot spring pools. Nice. Setting off early next morning, we had some really big climbs and bad weather to contend with and by 4 o'clock we're soaked and miserable. A car pulled up and a lady called Cat told us about her family's bothy we could stay in a few miles down the road, free of charge as we were on a budget, fundraising etc. Spirits lifted, we cycled on to the bothy near a very remote town called Kotemaori. When we arrived, Cat was waiting for us and showed us into a beautiful cottage, complete with log fire and beers chilling for us in the fridge. Cat explained that it was her Dad, Hamish, who mostly took charge of running the bothy and we could nip down to the farmhouse to see him later that night. So after dinner, we all went down to meet everyone. Hamish welcomed us in and we spent the evening drinking gin and whisky and getting to know this wonderful man. Hamish runs the dairy farm along with Cat his daughter and her husband Murray. They also have 2 daughters, Milly and Pippa, several sheepdogs and 2 pet calves called Larry and Barry. Hamish explained to us that the bothy was used almost like a refuge for people travelling. Hamish talked about how travel was very important for people and he wanted to encourage that by giving them a place to go, somewhere special they would remember for a long time.We felt so lucky to have met Cat on the road that day as we sat drinking chai tea and whisky by the fire. The next morning, we had intended to leave but Hamish mentioned that they had bought some kayak's for people to use when they visited and asked if we would like a shot. So Ben and I kayaked down the Mohaka river for an hour and a half and Hamish picked us up in the 4 x 4 further downstream. We had a great time paddling down this quiet, unspoilt valley with beautiful scenery and wildlife all around us. We then did some 4 x 4ing in the landrover to get to the top of a nearby hill for a great view. That night Cat, Murray and Hamish had us round for a wonderful dinner and some great company. I'm so glad we had the pleasure of meeting such good people. Country people in NZ are generally very friendly, helpful and open but these guys were unforgettable. We were touched by their warmth and felt privileged to be welcomed into their family life the way we were. They did so much for us and asked for nothing in return.

We left the bothy in great spirits and made our way to the city of Napier. It's more the size of a town to me though. We both really liked Napier. Ian and Anna went off to a hotel for a couple of nights luxury while me and Bear Grylls slept on Napier beach behind a bush. It wasn't the best nights sleep we've had(we didn't put the tent up so as to be less conspicuous) but the next morning I realised it had been good for me to rough it a bit. The next day we cycled just 20 kms in the evening after spending all day lounging around on the beach and ended up just outside Hastings. As it was getting dark and we hadn't set up camp yet, we knocked on a door near some farmland and Emma and Emile let us put our tent up in their garden. Thanks to both of you. We set off in the morning and met Ian and Anna in Havelock West. We spent a great day cycling on some quiet back roads Ian had found in the Pedallers Paradise book by Nigel Rushton and hardly saw a car all day. The weather turned really nasty and we went to Rivers Edge camp site in Waipawa where Paddy and his wife Tess agreed to let us stay for free to help with the continuation of our trip and fundraising. We were even upgraded to a very nice cabin. Thanks to both of you. The campsite is a great place, very well looked after and definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. Please see our places to stay page for details of this and all the other campsites/hostels mentioned in the blog.

We left Waipawa and carried on the wonderful quiet little number 52 road to a place called Herbertville at the end of a quiet road by the sea. Pat, the owner there, again very kindly let us stay free of charge. Herbertville is a quiet little campsite which sits on a beautiful stretch of rugged, unspoilt and very remote coastline. The night we spent at Herbertville was a Saturday and lo-and-behold, despite being in the middle of nowhere, there was a pub. Hooray! And the cheapest pub we've been in so far. A good night was had by all as we walked in to find middle-aged women pole dancing with pool cues, singing to Lionel Ritchie and the invitees of a 21st birthday party dancing on the bar. When we got into the tent however, the wind started to pick up. We had spent most of the day cycling into a head wind and could now really feel the wind picking up. By 1am, the wind had turned into a full-on gale and our poor wee tent was in danger of being ripped apart. So, in the madness of the force 10, we managed to dismantle the tent and drag it to the campsite kitchen where we packed it away. Then, finding ourselves homeless for the evening we slept in the laundry room, where we thought the roof was going to get ripped off in the wind. So after a bad nights sleep, we went to see how Ian and Anna had got on. They had had a bit of shelter behind a caravan and were in their very nice Nallo GT 3 expedition tent made by Hilleberg, so they survived the night outside. The four of us cycled off into the hellish head wind again. We were all getting pretty sick of it by this stage, there's nothing more disheartening on a bike. It's amazing how Mark Beaumont managed to keep cycling into a headwind on that longest, straight road in Australia for so long. Fair play to the man. We agreed on a short days cycle to the village of Pongaroa, 55kms away. However, as it was still into a head wind and up some massive climbs, it felt more like 100kms. We arrived in Pongaroa in an absolute gale, far worse than the one at Herbertville. Realising, there was no way we could put a tent up in such weather we agreed to cycle another 10kms to a backpackers down the road. And what a 10kms it turned out to be! The journey took over an hour as we battled against the wind. Gusts of over 100kms an hour would fling the bikes round 180 degrees and send us reeling in the opposite direction. This 10km ride seemed harder than an SXC race but was so ridiculous we couldn't stop laughing. We were quite concerned though about the real possibility of trees falling on us but managed to arrive at the backpackers unscathed. When we arrived at Glen Ross backpackers, we were happy to find a beautifully clean and spacious hostel which was much more like a holiday home than a backpackers. It sits up on a moor in a very remote spot surrounded by farmland and neighboured only by George and Pauline, the owners, house. There were no other guests staying so we had a choice of rooms to stay in. We lit a fire and relaxed in front of the TV that evening. George came down to welcome us. We couldn't believe our good fortune to be offered free accommodation once again. This place is really something special and at only $25 dollars a night it is a total bargain. Pauline, George's wife, left us cake and eggs and we woke up the next morning to find a loaf of freshly baked bread, still warm, on the worktop. Pauline and George really go the extra mile to make you feel at home.

So off we went again into the headwind for the 3rd day in a row, aiming to get 90kms down the road to Masterton. We set off thinking we'd never make it in the wind but after 40 kms or so the wind died down and we absolutely flew into Masterton. We managed to maintain an average speed of about 30kms an hour for over an hour. It was a great cycle. We arrived in Masterton at Mawley Park campsite where Mike agreed to let us stay for free.

Our next stop was Lower Hutt, about 20kms out of Wellington where we've just spent the night with our friends Carol and Stew. Thanks for looking after us so well you two. This afternoon we are cycling into Wellington to stay with Lucy's friend Mary. Mary lives right in the centre of Wellington, so we'll dump the bikes and go for a look in town. New Zealand hospitality so far has been truly amazing and we really think this is a great country. People are a lot more trusting and open here than back home which makes travelling in the country easier. We are looking forward to getting to the South Island in a couple of days for the next leg of our great adventure. We hope to do some more cycling with Ian and Anna too. We're so glad we met these two and have become such good friends in a short space of time. We will miss you when you go but will see you in Frankfurt on our way home next year!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Tauranga to Gisborne - the East Coast

Keith, Heather, Bessie, Bruce, Me
Heather and Keith

Me, Anna, Ian

A hard day at the office - Ben's new look, a cotton shirt and lycra shorts
Anna and Ian
Why take 2 bottles into the shower when you can just wash your clothes in the sea - and go

Another beast of a hill out the way

Hicks Bay

Free fruit

Daisy - a wee beastie
Caravaning at Eddie and Jo's

Eddie and Jo
View from Eddie and Jo's garden

Kim's place in Ohope

Papamoa beach

Tauranga was quite a difficult place to get out of but Mark, a friendly cyclist, escorted us out of town all the way to Mount Maunganui. From there we headed down the coast to Papamoa beach and then on to horrible Highway 2 again. It wasn't half as bad this time though. We stopped 20kms down the road at a place called Te Puke to have a day off and let the old legs recover. Trish Hughes from Te-Puke Holiday Park very kindly let us stay there for $3 a night(1.50) after we explained what we were doing. The next day we set off on roughly an 80km ride to Ohope where our friend Lisa's sister Kim lives. What a great ride. We had a tail wind the whole way, no hills to climb and a great big shoulder to ride in at the side of the road. We sailed into Ohope in no time. Ohope is a beautiful, peaceful wee place by the sea. We camped in Kim, Quinn and Paul's garden, relaxed on the beach and swam in the sea. These guys really made us feel really welcome. Leaving Ohope, we set off on our epic ride round the East Cape. This whole area is owned by the Maori people and in most parts is extremely isolated. The road was so quiet the whole way round and the scenery was spectacular. It was a really tough ride of nearly 400kms over mountain passes for the most part but we're glad we got to see this part of the country. One of the highlights of this part of the trip was meeting an an amazing couple called Eddie and Jo. These good people welcomed us into their home near Omaio, fed us freshly caught snapper and offered us a night in their caravan. We had a great laugh and left the next morning on a high about the wonderful people you can meet on the road. The next 2 nights of the East Cape ride we camped in the woods and in some trees by the roadside. The sun was really hot for the most part which made the climbs even tougher. Ben got his legs burned one day and now looks like he's wearing stockings. Our mileage has been going up and up and we did our first 100km + day yesterday. We bumped into another cycling couple Anna and Ian, who like us we're cycling to Gisborne. So we cycled there together in a peloton at high speed, stopping for lunch on the way. These two, who live in Germany are on a 4 month cycling holiday in NZ. We had a great day with them. Cycling into Gisborne was a great ride. The coastline is lovely, with massive waves and loads of surfers. It seems like a cool place with lots of young boys with bleached blonde hair and flip flops who look like extras from "Home and Away". When we finally reached Gisborne after cycling 105kms, we reached the house of Heather and Keith, our friend Carol's parents. What a welcome. We had a great meal, beers, a beautiful bed to sleep in and this morning we are here on our own with a key to come and go as we please. Thanks for making us feel so at home and introducing us to the delights of gay dolphins and the Cossy Club. We've had such a good time with you two, you are both brilliant. So today, after finishing this blog, we'll head down to Gisborne for a couple of wing mirrors for our bikes and a trip to the beach. Later we're meeting Anna and Ian(the cyclists) in the pub and then tomorrow, setting off to Lake Taupo. I realise that heading up to Taupo from Gisborne is doubling back on ourselves but we want to see the best parts of the country and it's apparently stunning round there.The sun is shining and it's 24 degrees. So far we've done 750kms. We are really starting to get into the trip now that we've got a few miles under our belts but you do need to rest when you can so we are taking full advantage of everyone's offer of hospitality. A heartfelt thankyou to everyone who has helped us so far. The world is full of good people, despite what the media tries to make us think.