On our last day here in Northland the weather god had mercy on us and gave us some more blue sky, sunshine and balmy temperatures. We left Russell, the "Hellhole of the Pacific", on the ultra-twisty Old Russell Road, one of the best rides in all of New Zealand. Then is was back to Auckland, and this beautiful extension of a beautiful tour came to an end. Thank you everybody, it was once again an amazing trip. See you next time!
Russell, first capital of New Zealand and formerly known as the "Hellhole of the Pacific", is today a quiet seaside resort full of cafes and art shops. We had our breakfast in the second cafe on the left.
There is not much happening in Russell these days. When the old fire engine comes out it means big excitement!
One of the world's most spectacular coastlines
Rudy, Thomas, Hans and Jan are grateful for some blue sky. The Old Russell Road puts a big smile on their faces.
Hans downloaded the Bike Trip app to his iPhone. It told him the Old Russel Road has378 curves in 74 km and his maximum leaning angle was 28°. That was because the road was wet. Otherwise it would have been at least 43°. Or more!
Short break at Langs Beach.
In New Zealand, this would be called a crowded beach. In Italy they would call it completely deserted.
A Kiwi's favorite pastime...
Stand-up paddling is only slowly gaining pupularity, even here in New Zealand.
Hans, just retired from running a forwarding company, was thinking about a new career when he saw this espresso-van. Unfortunately the girl running it didn't think about selling...
The Far North of New Zealand didn't receive much precipitation during the last few months, but after we arrived in Kaitaia yesterday the rain finally came. Over night it didn't go away, no, infact rain's best friend, the wind, showed up to spend the day with us as well. Soaked by the rain and buffeted by the wind we arrived at Cape Reinga, the country's northernmost point, where Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea violently clash. This place has an absolute end-of-the-world feel to it, and the weather conditions certainly played their part, too.
Rain and wind can't really diminish the experience of being at Cape Reinga
This ancient Pohutukawa tree, clinging to the bare rock at Cape Reinga, is deeply rooted in Maori mythology.
The happy group of four at the famous singpost next to Cape Reinga lighthouse
Nobody ever gets enough of riding in New Zealand, but only three riders of the recently completed tour have enough time on their hands to actually continue the ride for another week. Hans, Rudy and Jan already spent two days riding on some of the country's best roads, eating some of the biggest greenlipped mussels they have ever seen and walking along some amazingly beautiful beaches. Here are some impressions:
Greenlipped mussels grow only in the clean water off the New Zealand coast. In the Coromandel they get twice as big as anywhere else. This is one of the best places to eat them!
Hans tried very hard to finish this giant pot full of mussels, but it was just too much...
After lunch everybody was so full that only a nap under a tree could help.
And has there ever been a more suitable tree for a nap? We believe not!
Spectacular view of the Coromandel coast
At Hot Water Beach you can dig a hole in the sand, wait until it fills up with hot mineral water and then relax in your private natural jacuzzi. Well, not really private as you can see. Given the choice between hot water and cold beer we decided to go for the latter...
Piha Beach is only one hour from downtown Auckland!
They say this is one of the best beaches for surfing. Too bad we can't tie surfboards to our bikes!
Jan and Rudy were more than happy to be here.
This is the weirdest cafe in New Zealand. It is actually for sale, if you are interested just leave a comment on our blog!
Rudy didn't buy the cafe, but he talked the owner into selling him a handmade bell, for his collection.
Tour guide Thomas, waiting for his coffee. The waitress just didn't see him. A different t-shirt would probably help...