Auckland revisited, ready to head off South in the morning

Wheeling Daisy2 towards her encounter with the fishing charter to take us across Kaipara Harbour from Pouto Point

Well, if planning to traverse the length of New Zealand by tandem, don’t rely on ferries if you want to get to the other end on time.

We first “lost” three days between Dargaville, Pouto Point and Auckland waiting for Rod and Cheryl with our fishing charter to be able to take us across the mouth of Kaipara Harbour.

Mark with Daisy on Pouto Point beach as fishing charter approaches

But, hey, we were more than compensated with a brilliant couple of non-cycling days, first at Dargaville’s brilliant museum with its (literally) best-in-the-world exhibition of accordions, and then sand-buggying with 78-year-old Jock across beach and dunes to Pouto lighthouse, New Zealand’s last one built in wood.

Daredevil Dunebuggy rider Jock at the wheel with sun-blocked passenger Jutta
Pouto Point lighthouse

And now we’ve discovered that the ferry we wanted to take across the water from Auckland East to Coromandel doesn’t run on a Wednesday. Hey Ho squared.

So,  now briefly re-quartered with the lovely Annette and Steven Thoms of Auckland’s own Cycle Touring Club, we’re planning simply to set off on Daisy again in the morning, taking the official out-of-town Tour Aotearoa route past the airport and out to Thames (New Zealand is full of English names) and Middle Earth beyond.

For yes, we will be cycling very close to the very spots where Peter Jackson filmed the Hobbiton parts of his Lord of the Rings trilogy – and with luck make it to Wellington ready for the ferry to South Island in time for our half-way mark at three weeks travelling.

In the meantime, daughter Kat and her partner Mela are just about to return to New Zealand from skiiing in Japan (my goodness, these youngsters…) ready themselves with their solo bikes to head up to Cape Reinga and start their own TA in one week’s time, chasing us at probably twice our average daily distance and speed and therefore catching us up pretty promptly.

Otherwise today, let the pictures again speak for themselves. And what a joy it is to be back on high-speed internet, which makes blogging so much easier.

Loading Daisy aboard our fishing charter ferry, with help from skipper Rod and a friendly passing American cyclist coming the other way North
Heave ho
Skipper Rod, at sea since the age of eight, with Daisy securely tethered in full blast of sea spray on the bow.
Another view of Pouto Lighthouse
M&J viewed within the lighthouse
Jock, a spritely 78-year-old with an eye for a pretty girl
Who, incidentally, is already bagged, twice over
Fossilised Kauri trees, 60,000 years old or so, newly revealed in sand broken away from the Pouto Point cliffs. This is how lignite is made.
OK, to get to Auckland from Parakai at the southern end of Kaipara Harbour (btw, Kai in Maori means food, and Para means plenty, so no prizes for guessing the meaning of both names, though overfished has seen catastrophic falls in fish stocks in recent years), we loaded Daisy aboard Rod’s trailer for a tow the 50km or so into town, so that at last we can get back properly on the road south from Auckland in the morning.
Daisy safely stowed and two boys happy with their work.

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