Country: New Zealand
Distance cycled: 7 km / 4 mi
Elevation cycled: 11 m / 36 ft
Bus: 146 km / 91 mi
Hiked: 25 km / 16 mi
Campervan: 1,043 km / 648 mi
It’s hard writing a cycle blog when we’ve not done much cycling. If you caught our admission on Instagram – post below – you’ll know we’ve swapped our tent for a campervan, and are currently driving to bike trails to ride. AKA Plan B. But to be honest, Plan B hasn’t quite gone to, well…plan. After leaving Colin and Janet’s – the lovely smoggies who took us in – we’ve had to pop back to Auckland for job interviews twice, meaning we don’t get very far from the city before having turning back around again. Plan B has turned into a cushty cruise around the North Island, rather than the gruelling, muddy multiple bike rides we wanted to finish our round-the-world bike trip with. I can hear those tiny violins playing from here…
In the absence of cycling, here’s how the van’s gone down…
Dan is absolutely in his element. He wanted to drive round the world long before I planted the seed of cycling. I’ve had to keep him away from the classifieds so we don’t end up spending our last little bit on money on a van. It has been great driving from beach to beach, going for long walks, before cosying-up in the van with a good podcast and beer. Also having two hob rings is a blessing. But the trump by far has to be the hot shower. Yes, we have a hot shower in our campervan. It really is a hard life, isn’t it?
It’s crazy how much quicker you are by car. After spending the last fourteen months barely going 50 km every time we moved on, we can do 200 km without even thinking about it. We’ve spent the majority of our time looping around the Coromandel Peninsula, which is just breathtaking. New Zealand really is a stunner and this camper trip has got us excited to explore this country we’re calling home for a wee while.
I interrupt this picture slideshow to say THANK YOU. How rude of us: we finished up in East Africa, closed our charity donation page, and never actually announced the final figure – or said thanks! So here’s a big thank you to each and every one of you, for each and every pound and penny you donated – not to mentioned the kind words of support you offered up throughout our trip. Together we smashed our £1,500 target and we know East Africa Children’s Project will put it towards some great causes this summer, when they visit some of the schools they work with. Give yourselves a pat on the back.
Okay, back to business. Here’s one for you smoggies out there, did you know that the Sydney Harbour Bridge isn’t the only bridge to come out of Teeside? There’s a lovely little rolling lift bridge in Auckland that was assembled in Darlington (kind of Teeside) and shipped to New Zealand in 1932. It was an engineering feat for its time, literally rolling on hinges to allow boats to pass. It was decommissioned in 1995, but still looks in good nick.
Oh! If you’re interested in hiring a van in NZ, always go self-contained, which basically means you have a toilet onboard, and can carry fresh and wastewater. Being able to do this gives you access to all the free camp spots around New Zealand, and there are literally thousands. Every town seems to have one. Hiring a van isn’t that costly either. We’re paying $46 (£24) per night with Jucy. We did have to stump up a $3,000 (£1,598) refundable bond; the alternative to that is pay a non-refundable daily insurance fee of $20 or $30 per day. And we bought a bike rack from Evo Cycles for $160 (£85). I’ll do a full cost breakdown when we’re finished.
This brings us to the end. We’re heading back to Auckland again early next week for more work-related stuff, then we’ll have the final few days of freedom before we hand the van back next weekend. Once we do, that’s the end of the trip really. Dan’s got some freelance work lined up and I’ll be spending my mornings watching Jezza Kylie (jokes) and scrolling the job boards. So I guess this is an early warning that that final weekly blog post is coming soon… Like next week soon.
Don’t worry though, there’s plenty more stuff to follow once the weekly blog finishes. We’ll share the total cost of the trip, with a breakdown of things like food, alcohol, bike repairs, etc. We’ve also got a kit review coming with a Dan Grade Rating. Not to mention stacks more photos Dan keeps pestering me to post. So while the end is nigh, it’s not really – lucky you.