This summer’s Tour de France returns to Mont Ventoux, which is the title of an extraordinary Dutch novel, recently translated into English, about six friends and their tragic trip up the infamous mountain
* I haven’t been there, yet, but hope to retrace the wheel tracks of “The Blue Bike”.
Headed South for a ride which had been on my to do list for a while. Although not challenging riding — flattest cycle trail in NZ — the Hauraki Rail Trail was a new way to see some interesting country.
I skipped the Thames section and rode Te Aroha, Paeroa to Waihi return. Most of the route was familiar as it runs alongside state highways but I’d only seen it from the car.
Starting in Te Aroha the trail is flat and straight for about 21km. Wide enough for two abreast riding, or for cyclists to pass, the scenery is not particularly exciting apart from the glimpses of farming life and wildlife. It was a good way to stretch the legs after the two hour drive (but no traffic as everyone in Auckland had already left).
I had good weather, hot 27 ºc and fine… most of the time.
Having driven under this bridge, heading for Tauranga or beyond, many times it was nice to go over it. Take some time to enjoy the scenery before you disappear into it.
At the end of the bridge is one of the highlights of the ride. After the hot summer sun entering this 1km long tunnel was like cycling into air conditioning!
The tunnel is well lit, good enough to cycle without lights if you don’t have them but turning them on helps others see you.
Nice rest stop by the river, below, but would be better without the road on the far side. With my motorist hat on must say the Karangahake Gorge is a wonderful drive, particularly if there is no traffic! I remember going through here in a winter storm and the raging river was close to the road level, the highway closed soon after we had passed through.
Neat to see the bush reclaiming the railway cuttings.
Once at Waihi be sure to cycle through the town centre and up to the Martha Gold Mine. In addition to some mining history there are a great views, and ride’able track around, of the working mine. The Cornish Pumphouse is a relic of past mining right next to the current open cast gold mine.
An interesting ANZAC memorial on the fence overlooking the mine.
A favourite Tonka toy at 1:1 scale
The Victoria Battery, near Waikino, was built in 1896 (that’s old for NZ!). They pioneered use of cyanide to extract gold, a legacy which lingers in places.
No pictures between Waikino and Paeroa as I was riding in torrential rain. Once out of the hills it was dry, dusty bone dry, again apart from my soggy feet. I regretted leaving my “SealSkins” (waterproof socks) in the car that morning!
And back to Te Aroha Station. With the extra distance around Waihi it was 93km in total. Not a hard ride (so flat and no wind!) but an interesting one. Judging by the number of cyclists I saw it’s also a popular one!
Rather than the boring traffic filled haul up SH2 and SH1 motorway I drove home up the the East Coast road. I stopped near Kaiaua for ‘dinner’, with a view over the Firth of Thames towards Coromandel, but others had stopped here to watch (feathered) birds!
The Hillary Trail is a linked series of walks in the beautiful Waitakere Ranges. Have explored most of these places, many are regular ‘Alfie walks’ or road cycles from home. Amazing to think all this just a few kilometres up the road from home, about an hour from Auckland’s CBD (except maybe at rush hour!).
* This is my first blog posted from Live Writer on Windows 10!
Nice to see Benjamin used one of my photos, the beach highway at Muriwai, in his infographic. Have done most of these except a lap of Waiheke (which I have visited often) by scooter. The chocolate boutique is sometimes visited after Skeptics the Pub which is just down the road!
I remember the chaos, friendly smiling faces and warmth (both physical from the humid air and emotional from the people) of this little one street town. It was quite a contrast to the authoritarian atmosphere we’d just experienced at the Tibetan border.
Kodari clings to the mountainside between shear cliffs and a roaring river.
The images bellow are from a BBC news report tonight (05/17/2015). Kodari was near the centre of the quake aftershock and has been destroyed. It is abandoned, as the threat from damaged buildings and unstable hills is just too great. They said the Chinese Army had crossed the border to help with the recovery, then showed diggers attempting to move rocks the size of buildings.
I can’t imagine what it would have been like to be there during this, nowhere to run, and how many were injured or killed. There was no mention of that — just that many had fled to the hills — and no reports at all how Zhangmu, a similar town over the border in Tibet, had fared. Horrific.
Nice that 100% proceeds go to Nepal via the Oxfam Earthquake Relief Fund.
Sent from my Lumia 1520 Windows Phone
From: Team at the NZ International Comedy Festival Subject: Comedy for Nepal and shows on this weekend
The New Zealand Comedy Trust and Q Theatre are putting on Comedy for Nepal - a fundraising showcase with proceeds going directly to Oxfam NZ's Nepal Earthquake Response.
The worst earthquake in 80 years ha s hit Nepal: buildings are flattened, thousands are injured, the death toll has exceeded 8000 and is rising every day. At this stage survivors are in a race against time to secure shelter and adequate sanitation before the monsoon rains begin in early June.
OxfamNew Zealand is there, delivering clean water, toilets, hygiene kits, food and shelter to thousands. The agency has been in Nepal for over 20 years and knows the community well.
The NZ International Comedy Festival has an incredible bunch of comedians, staff, venues and supporters that all wanted to contribute to Oxfam New Zealand's relief efforts in Nepal. It turns out what we can do is put on an awesome comedy show to raise money to support the Nepal Earthquake Response.
So please join us for a night of stand-up at Comedy For Nepal!
Performers on the night include: Jeremy Corbett, Wilson Dixon, (USA), Paul Ego, Ben Hurley, Justine Smith, Jarred Fell, Eddy Brimson & Rich Wilson (UK), Harley Breen (AUS), Tom Furniss, and more comedians to be announced.
Tickets are just $35 or groups 10+ are $30 each, with no booking fee. 100% of proceeds from ticket sales go to the Oxfam Earthquake Relief Fund.