Off NZ Central Plateau, and Cooking in a Hot Tub.


I know the Maoris were said in very early times to have cooked visiting missionaries for consumption, but I didn’t think they were still doing it!


And this is what the setting is, with logs burning underneath, axe perhaps to ward off unwanted visitors, and sans naked European…

Quite the most eccentric Air BnB place we’ve ever stayed at, with thanks to Lucy for her imaginative open-air hot tub at Mangeweka – a 80km wet but exhilarating ride south, largely along National Highway One (NZ’s equivalent of the M1 in the UK), from our previous overnight at Ohakune.


A converted garage, off-grid with its own generator and solar power, and a long-drop toilet out the back. How very New Zealand!
We’re hoping to make it a further, long 120km to Palmerston North today (what an odd name for a city…), though after fabulous if challenging climbs and long descents yesterday on Route 1, we’re hoping to take the back roads along the route which legit Tour Aotearoa riders chasing us from the north will be cycling in a few days’ time.

(By the way, Wanganui however pronounced is no longer on our itinerary – we were running out of time to make it to Wellington at the weekend and the ferry across to the South Island, so have chosen not to follow that part of the official Tour Aotearoa,)

Taking National Route 1 south had its scary moments pedalling along the hard shoulder as ginormous long-distance trucks thundered by a couple of feet away. But surprisingly rewarding – and we’re finding the hard hill-climbing (this is much steeper and longer than it looks) now much easier.

One of the reasons we took Route 1 yesterday rather than any scenic alternative was to get to a bigger city pdq to buy a replacement for my Gortex rain top, which has failed suddenly and quite dramatically – letting yesterday morning’s heavy rain merrily through what I always thought, for £200, was meant to be permanent waterproofing.

Our morning view of the Central :Plateau scenery on Day 15 of the #TandemTA. Wit wit wit, as the Kiwis say when they mean wet. (Sorry, I promised not to smile about the accent – that one just slipped through.)

Turns out that Goretex gear needs to be washed and tumble-dried to reactivate the water-protection, which our kind hostess is doing for me overnight as I write these early morning lines.

New Zealand’s transport cafes do serious old-style greasy breakfasts. Nothing better for firing up the muscles for a long hard day’s cycling slog.

The next and final photo for today – Daisy’s daily photo this time has to be the one above with Jutta – is one I couldn’t resist. Hope it makes you smile as much as it did us.

We smiled. But also think the sign refers to a rather larger set of premises just out of shot.

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