Out into the wilds around Lake Taupo today

There are a lot of cows in New Zealand…


And the herds (if you’ve been following the Archers, this is a debate you’ll be familiar with) are gigantic. Don’t even think about the effluent that ends up in the streams and rivers. Not a good to idea to swim therein.

Still, best observed with a safe fence between them (even youngsters) and stoker…DSC01069

Fabulous, hard-working – DRY!!!! – day yesterday, Friday 19th Feb, pedalling from the Opal campsite to Tokoroa through Hobbiton – no, Matamata – where Gandalf and Peter Jackson have given the local Tourist Office something of a makeover.

Full of foreign tourists on their way to the film set, and a tad pricey, though a good lunch and free WiFi at the public library meant we didn’t get properly away till 1400.

Hobbit with her bicycle outside the Tourist Office in Matamata

Getting on the road so late, we were rather thrilled to cover, in the end, our daily quota of 80 kms, though the last 10 of those found us literally pedalling round in circles beyond and back into Tokoroa trying to find Dave and an Air BnB booking.

Even Google maps disagreed with itself as we approached the address, giving us two alternate ways in.

(Btw, for anyone coming to NZ, we strongly recommend 2Degrees mobile, which gives fast and voluminous data as well as quite enough calling time with a local SIM. Access to former massively improved over my first visit here in 2011.

Volcanic, uphill landscape, and BLUE BLUE skies! Time to get clothes dried.

Friday’s cycling, as we approach the end of week two of our six, has brought us right into the centre of the North Island, within striking distance of Lake Taupo, though we’re going to skirt round the West side rather than travel, yet again for both of us (having been here twice on our own to visit daughter Kat, before we remarried, and once together to see HER get married, to the lovely Mela), the busy touristy East coast of the volcanic lake.

The riding here at 1000 feet up on the central volcanic plateau is perhaps best described as lumpy. A landscape artist would call it undulating. A cyclist would and does call it hilly.


The view across Back Country, as the Kiwis call this cleared agricultural land, shows the contours below what once was thick native forest, stripped of all its natural vegetation in the early settler days in the 19th century.

Then, as I still find challenging to understand though consciousness was so different then, one blade of grass (which cows and sheep could eat) was viewed by the mainly Scottish pastoralists as more valuable than two local Kauri trees (which, despite being possibly thousands of years old, didn’t provide food for humans or their animals).

What was once native forest, and now just grass and cows, cows and grass

Would you like one – alongside the beautiful Waitaki river.

Tyres on the riverbank where canoists set sail

To conclude today – and we’ve got serious cycling to do, into the wild and accommodation-less lands on the wrong but pretty side of Lake Taupo (expect some good photos tmmw…) so had better get weaving – a couple of pictures of Daisy and her proud owners.

Gears got a bit tricky yesterday, as the salt from the Kaipara crossing settled into the cables, and before we set off, there will need to be a stripping and an oiling. But she’s doing well – very true too of the Stoker, to whom, with Daisy, congratulations.DSC01044

Just had the idea of finishing each blog with a picture that includes Daisy. Like any serious lady, she can get a bit skittish when she feels her contribution is being overlooked….


4 responses to “Out into the wilds around Lake Taupo today”

  1. I am enjoying the blog John. Especially the photos. You’re getting to the parts of NZ that I visited (by bus, nothing so energetic as you & Jutta are doing) many years ago. Nice to see again. All best wishes for continued enjoyment and successful cycling.

    • THanks for the good wishes, Jackie. It’s Mark rather than John, but hey, what’s in a name. The USB is interesting – no good charging a smartphone directly, as it keeps switching on and off, and that costs way more juice than the dynamo is pumping in. Better to use a powerbank between – which I have yet to test. But, it’s one amazing trip!

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