Leg 10 – Hastings to Rotorua

Some people will be aware that I have now actually finished cycling and am actually on my way back to Blighty after a few days in Australia, visiting family and seeing the sights.

It’s a bit of a spoiler as far as the blog goes but I am trying to still keep things in chronological order! This was one of the toughest weeks I faced and I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it through.

One of my favourite things from this week was the silver poplar trees. I can’t remember which day I first noticed them and apparently they’re seen as a weed but I thought the silver undersides of the leaves fluttering in the breeze were absolutely stunning.

On with the blog! Don’t forget to sponsor!

Day 54 – Hastings to Napier 11.7 miles

Leaving the lovely Sam, James and George behind, I pedalled out into the grey day feeing a little grey myself but, I was heading for Clive, which I think is a brilliant name for a place and I wanted to take a picture for Uncie Clive back home.

Peggy still wasn’t feeling right and I regretted not going to the bike shop on my rest day but decided it was going to have to be done in Napier, there was just no way I was getting up the hilly roads to follow without access to my gears.

I ended up feeling livelier than I had expected, Katie the cow must have been kicking in, and really enjoyed the deliciously smooth cycle path from Clive to Napier.

When I dropped Peggy off and started listing her problems, I realised just how silly it would have been to set off again without getting it sorted. Unfortunately, she would be in for an overnight stay, which left me with another free day since it was only just about 11am!

I looked at my feet… My shoes needed fixing too. The guys in Cranked Cycles were amazing and let me store my bags in the shop, googled shoe repairs and pointed me in the right direction.

The poor bloke in the shoe shop was suffering at the hands of an older man whose shoes weren’t ready for collection. He didn’t seem to understand that the owner of the shop was away and that the counter man was unable to fix his shoes. I resolved not to be the grumpy guy and asked for shoe cement – fortunately, the lovely fellow said he’d be up to slathering them with glue and popping them in the clamp for an hour or so.

Off I went to a café to ponder the day’s options and low and behold – a ping from Susie from Wellington offering for me to stay with her cousin, Donna and her family in Napier. Where would I be without this miracle of a family? So many thank yous, it’s difficult to really put into words.

Well, Susie’s message said that Donna was warm and friendly and I certainly found her to be this and more. I knew I liked her before I even met her – we were going to meet at Countdown! In the shop, we got talking to an older lady who was having dog trouble and Donna listened patiently, giving the lady valuable advice and oozing general loveliness.

My time with this beautiful family just seems like perfection. AND I found out that Donna is a trained masseuse and beauty therapist! Whilst I had my first ever full body massage in the therapy rooms at the back of the house, her husband Marty and daughter Eliza ran me a bath so that, straight after my first round of pampering, I could continue relaxing! Then her son, Dan, shared his room with Eliza so that I could go to sleep in her bedroom.

I cuddled down into the duvet and was joined by the cutest, tiny puss, who shared the bed all night. I felt so well cared for and looked after. Thank you!

Day 55 – Napier to Lake Tutira – 27.2 miles

It was a stunning morning in Napier and I felt a connection to the place I had not felt for a long time. After dropping Eliza at school and having a quick peek at the classroom set up, Donna took me to the highest point of the city for a view of the docks and I enjoyed taking in the Art Deco architecture as we drove through the central areas.

Receiving the call that Peggy was finally ready – she had had more problems than the huge list I’d left – felt like a huge blow – I was actually going to have to leave. Leave this sunny place of love and beauty to head for the area of New Zealand everyone had been warning me about – the area I’d have to fear for my personal safety in light of the gang culture.

With a heart so heavy I was almost immobilised, I hugged Donna goodbye and climbed onto Peggy. Since it was already late, my only option for accommodation would be at Lake Tutira which wasn’t too far away but I managed to make that one journey last at least twice as long as it ought to have taken.

Firstly, I dragged my feet outside Countdown after replenishing my supplies. I messaged lots of people, called Tim for a pep talk and generally skulked around like a lovesick teenager for around an hour.

The beautiful, flat, coastal pathway leading me out of the city did nothing for me and I spent the entire time either fighting off tears or letting them wash pitifully down my face. I’d been spoiled by the last four nights of friendship that I’d been so lucky to receive. I missed home terribly. I must have plotted a hundred different ways of getting out of my challenge and running back to London. I even wanted to be back at school helping to prepare for inspection! I love my boss and I felt guilty that I wasn’t there to alleviate the pressure and more selfishly, I ached to feel useful, like I was doing something valuable. The sun may have been blazing but it was an incredibly dark day. I even tried to work out how I could ‘accidentally’ break a bone so I had a valid excuse for stopping.

My friends, family and social media pals sent me vast quantities of encouraging words after I reached out narcissistically for something to fill the void I was feeling but nothing really seemed to work. I was determined to wallow in self pity.

This low feeling lasted for the duration of my time on the low lying land. As soon as the pedal turns got harder, made me grind to work my way up a hill, I seemed to leave my pit of despair behind me. The kind words kicked in and I began to feel myself again.

Thank goodness I bounce back quickly or I never would have got as far as I have done. I still felt a little muted but I was definitely over the worst. By the time I reached my camp, I was almost better and thankfully the amazing views over Lake Tutira were not entirely lost on me.

Unfortunately, there was no reception and I know I left several people worrying for my safety and sanity that night – sorry!

That night I cooked six sausages… And ate them all! They weren’t as delicious as the packet Sam and James had given me, which I’d shared the previous night but they certainly filled a hole. I think I might be a bit obsessed with sausages.

Day 56 – Lake Tutira to Wairoa – 49.3 miles

An early morning followed an early night and I set off for the hilly route to Wairoa feeling refreshed. The cycling was hard and the vigor of the exercise helped get me back into the right frame of mind. At a cafe on the way, an English couple donated $10 to the cause, a stranger offered me peaches as I sheltered in a bus stop from the blistering midday heat and I listened to some more Harry Potter (auf Deutsch). This seems have been the final push to create the patronus to fight off the dementor attack of the previous afternoon. I wonder what shape my patronus might be… A Bernese Mountain Dog? A Llama? A heeland coo?

I arrived in Wairoa in the glorious afternoon sunshine, pitched my tent and decided to take a hour sunbathing on the pristeen grass of the campsite. Now, I tried to create a daft picture at Lucy’s request of me trying to even out my tanlines by sunbathing in my bikini, leg and arm coolers… I set the timer on my phone and posed ridiculously but I’m so white you could barely tell the difference between my skin and the off-white fabric of my coolers. Frankly the photo just wasn’t decent and thus will not feature on this blog! Just take amusement in imagining the scene and the fact I was spotted by several holiday makers – how embarrassing!

Day 57 – Wairoa to Nuhaka – 19.1 miles

Ohhhh, even just remembering this day hurts. I have no idea what happened – I had had a great night in Wairoa, got the camp packed up and had all my supplies ready for my trip to Gisborne, everything seemed perfect. Until I set off.

There was a short, sharp hill leaving Wairoa and I just started with a bit of niggle in my lower back and left leg. By the time I had cycled another five miles, I was cycling for a maximum of five minutes before howling uncontrollably in absolute agony and that didn’t mean that the rest of the time was pain free, I generally felt sick and was biting my lip the whole time but these stronger waves of shooting pain were so horrific that my only feasible response was to scream.

I tried walking it off. I got off the bike and lay down on the verge to stretch out by IT band and complete the rest of my stretching routine but it wasn’t extremely effective! I continued cycling for maybe another hour like this before I just couldn’t take it any longer. I hadn’t had any mobile reception for a while and I had already told my lovely hosts for the evening that I would be arriving that night – with no way to contact them, I knew they would worry if I didn’t let them know what had happened. I also was very concerned about my back. I had no idea whether it was something that could lead to lasting damage.

After all those miserable days when I just wanted to go home, I had finally got myself back into the cycling mindset and then this.

I didn’t know what to do for the best, but in the end I decided I would have to hitch hike. I had some sheets of paper in my bag and I made the best sign I could with my limited resources: “Gisborne” It was still about forty miles away so I really hoped I would find someone kind enough to pick me and Peg up from the side of the road.

It is difficult to look appealing to a motorist (I assume) when you’re grimacing from pain, dressed in lycra and seemingly have your own mode of transport with you. Many, many cars passed and I said to myself, “five more minutes and then you’ll just have to get on your bike.”

Unbelievably, just as I was packing up, a young Maori girl pulled over and offered me a ride – her car was already quite full and wasn’t huge by any stretch of the imagination but, with some difficulty, we managed to squeeze Peggy into the boot.

Her sister was in the back of the car and soon I realised that she hadn’t got out because she was attending to a baby! I felt so thankful to these girls stopping for a stranger with a bike that took forever to fit in the car on a boiling hot day with a six month old baby to look after, too! THANK YOU!

This did actually turn out to be one of the most interesting parts of my trip. Jut casually chatting away, I asked what the girls had been doing in Wairoa and the response took me by surprise… “Have you heard about New Zealand’s gangs?” “Yes” “Well, we have just taken our uncle back to Wairoa after the Tangi (funeral) of one of the original gang leaders”…

Then I noticed for the first time that the elder of the sisters was all in red, the colour of the Mongrel Mob… “The gang men seem to scare most people but they’re really just big teddy bears really.” I wish I had been Lucy at this point – she’s so good at getting people to tell her everything about themselves. I’m a bit too British about the whole thing and I find it difficult to ask the gritty questions!

We did have a good chat though and I felt like I got an insight into the lives of these girls. They were so sweet and kind but it was clear that they had faced challenges in their lives. The elder had been living in Australia and seemed very together but was back home after having her baby. She found the difficulties of the lower wages in New Zealand difficult to deal with but she seemed like a strong girl and I have no doubt that she will grab hold of the world and give it all she has got. The younger of the sisters struggled a little more and had an interesting perception on life. She asked me if all people in London ere “on crystal meth” because she had seen a lot of Youtube videos that had given her this impression. She was sixteen. This question worried me on so many levels and I answered it as genuinely as I could. I’ll leave you to your own thoughts on that one.

Spending time with these girls was an incredible experience and I am so appreciative of the time they took to help me out of a tight spot.

When I arrived at the house of Elizabeth and Dave, the girls helped me out of the car with all my belonging and I said my goodbyes. I wanted to do something to thank them properly, but all I could do was offer them a little money towards the fuel. They initially refused and I asked that if they wouldn’t accept it for the fuel they would consider it a gift for the gorgeous little boy who had behaved so well for the entire journey, which they did.

Elizabeth is the sister of the Creamer brothers, Gowan and Gerard, who have been helping me out since I met them in Opunake way back at the beginning of January. Just like her brothers and their families, she and Dave were such fantastic, welcoming hosts. I loved my time with them and Dave even gave me some of his pills to take for the pain and the inflammation. I did spend a significant proportion of my time here just lying down or stretching and making pained faces but I still managed to enjoy some wonderful conversation with them and was so well looked after.

Both Elizabeth and Dave are active Christians and, though I am not, it is a faith a really appreciate and I was very touched when they asked if they could pray for me. The kind and genuine words they chose were thoughtful and poignant. Elizabeth particularly picked up on the experiences I had with meeting people in New Zealand and hoped that this would be ongoing in my journey – looking back, I can happily say that this has, indeed, been one of the outstanding features of my entire challenge. Thank you very much.

Another interesting story linked to Elizabeth is that of her ex husband, Genesis Potini, about whom there has been a film made, ‘The Dark Horse’. I haven’t seen it yet but it looks as though it has just been released in America, which might make it easier to access when I am back in the UK. She was also in the documentary, which inspired the ‘based on a true story’ film – I wonder if I can get my hands on that!

Day 58 – Gisborne to Tolaga Bay – 38 miles

Off I went to begin my journey along the East Cape proper! As I hadn’t seen any of Gisborne itself, I decided to take a quick look at the sea front and enjoyed seeing the Captain Cook monument, reminding me of a former home town – Middlesbrough.  Gisborne is an attractive town an it would have been fun to explore a little more but I definitely enjoyed the sea front.

The cycle to Tolaga Bay is lovely and mostly along the coast. I had taken a cocktail of painkillers in the morning and, after being told by Doctor Emily that I shouldn’t have any long lasting effects if I carried on cycling, I was keen tao get going again but not willing to push myself too far. Along the way, I stopped to have some food by a beach and a stretch – I even made some patterns in the wet sand which was kind of fun! Haha.

The campsite at Tolaga Bay is slightly before the township itself, next to the wharf, which is the longest in the country. I had a little stroll along and looked at the caves along the headland. It really is a stunning location. I had made a decision to camp less as I thought that the back pain could have been triggered by poor sleep position, so I was glad to see that there was an offer on the small cabins. It definitely wasn’t a fancy campsite but it was a great outlook and I was very comfortable. I didn’t really want to leave but I never really do!

Day 59 – Tolaga Bay to Ruatoria – 48.5 miles

Setting off from Tolaga Bay, my first stop was to buy more sugar and more paracetamol and ibuprofen! I was really pleased to see the size of the town as I had been worried the East Cape route was going to be as remote as Route 52 given some of the comments Neil had made. There was plenty there and I knew there was a Four Square somewhere along today’s route too. Hooray!

The early part of the day was just managing my own momentum, trying not to think too much about my back pain, taking breaks and grinding on. I did get stopped at one point with some guys moving there cows but I am getting used to it!

At Tokomaru Bay, my Four Square came into sight and I stocked up and bought myself some food. A guy in the shop did his best to convince me that I should stay here for the night – apparently Ruatoria wouldn’t be a good place to stay… but it was such a perfect distance for the day. I went down to the beach to ponder my options and fill my face.

Here I had the motivation I needed – a local guy telling me that I couldn’t do it – it’s too hilly. Oh buddy, you have no idea what this body has achieved so far. Your hills do not worry me!

I really liked the town of Te Puia Springs but was sad to see another local pub and hotel that was for sale – it does seem that this area would benefit from an injection of tourism – it’s so beautiful! I would have loved to have tried out the natural springs, such a shame. BUT there was a hospital here! It’s in the middle of nowhere but I guess that’s the point – it’s in the middle! All the people who are in the back end of nowhere can get here without too much stress. I would have thought that this would have brought more work to the area too but it is difficult to tell, really.

Well, it was hilly and it was hard work but I made it to Ruatoria before the shop closed – I went a bit crazy and just bought as much food as I possibly could because I hadn’t worked out what cooking facilities there were at the hotel.

The owner, Joey was incredibly kind. It was definitely a run down hotel but it had absolutely everything I needed and in such a place like this, that desperately needed an injection of cash, the last thing I expected was that Joey would offer to give me the room for nothing – he wanted to donate the money to Emilie’s Charities after hearing what I had been doing. I already felt that I had been rewarded massively by ignoring the warnings of the people I had met along the way – their preconceptions had been so wrong and I was so happy to have gone with my gut and gone in with an open mind.

And the best was yet to come…

When I walked in from the shop from getting my Kai, I was met by a lovely Maori girl – about my age. She invited me to join her at the Kapahaka rehearsal she was taking part in that evening. I wasn’t sure what it was to begin with but I really felt like I should go and I jumped into her van, quickly stuffing a banana down my ravenous throat!

She took me to the Marae where her practice would be and explained to me that this was the first time I had set foot there and this had a special Maori name. I wish that I had been able to write it down as I pronounced it well, apparently which is unusual for me! The only negative part of this whole experience is that I had no way to record any of it – no battery, no pen. At least I have my memories.

We entered the Marae and were a little late but were welcomed warmly. My friend was a member of the A team and this was a B team rehearsal with many of the mothers and grandmothers of the community. I absolutely loved it and the ladies told me to get into one of the lines and have a go – it was brilliant and I loved learning the dance moves. Then it came my time to watch and listen. Their communal voices were incredible. I love harmonies of human voices accompanied simply by the guitars and my host explained the meanings of the songs, whether they had been to accompany work or to tell a story of the mountain fairies.

This was an absolutely magical experience and I doubt many Kiwis have had a similar opportunity. What a truly incredible day – just imagine, had I listened to those people who had turned their noses up at Ruatoria, I would have missed all of this.

After the Kapahaka, we had a short tour around the town and it was clear to see that it was a poor area and that the people did not have easy lives. Her house was on the outskirts of town and she had quite a few relatives staying with her but, though she was a mother of five, her own children lived with their fathers. Yet despite this, she was kind and generous to me, sharing her evening with me and showing me the champion Kapahaka performers, sharing food and generally just being brilliant. It really makes you think about how lucky most of us are and how thankful we should be.

Day 60 – Ruatoria to Hicks Bay – 34.3 miles

Feeling really buoyed by my amazing day, I set off to Hicks Bay in high spirits. I think I had given in to temptation by this point as well and downloaded the final two Harry Potter books but in English. It’s just so good listening to books you love. Also, I was having trouble with the free program that I was using to listen to Dickens etc so I figured it was allowed.

Neil had suggested that I stay in Hicks Bay as there was little in the way of accommodation between there and Opotiki which was going to be too far. I had also been warned about the hills – it looked like it was going to be a tough day and it certainly was a slog. It was baking hot again and each rise felt like a mountain. Most of the day was spent slightly inland but there were some incredible view points which made the climbing worthwhile.

Just before the final climb, I stopped for a snack and drink at the East Cape Manuka Company at Te Araoa. It was bliss – a beautiful drink made with fresh mint and honey in a lush garden, draped over a bean bag.

At the hotel, I got really lucky as the dorm room had no other guests – I love it when I get a private room for the price of a bed. It was also quite early still and I had the rare opportunity to lie by the pool and dip in the water. Here I met a guy called Andy Dinsdale who had passed me a couple of times on the trip – it was nice to chat with him and he was interested in my ride. Again, it made me appreciate and want to make the most of my own life – he had largely spent his life working so hard that he barely knew his children and even in his retirement, he holidayed on his own on most occasions but this time because he knew his youngest son well and spent a lot of time caring for him – he has Downs Syndrome and he and his wife now tend to take separate holidays, though this means that they can indulge themselves with the kind of holiday they each prefer.

An early night called and I crashed out feeling very content. (Though my back was still hurting, just in case you think this is all easy)

Day 61 – Hicks Bay to Te Kaha – 52.9 miles

A few people had told me it would be flat after Hicks Bay. I disagree. There were no massive hills, but I think most people would consider 5000ft of climbing over 53 miles as a fairly hilly route in the UK.

It was, however, one of the most beautiful days of cycling – the route really stuck to the coast and had impressive views around every corner and at the top of every hill. I met a nice guy called Chris on my way, he was touring in the opposite direction and had only set off a few days earlier. He was a bit more hard core, doing a lot of bush camping… I felt a little ashamed of my tendency to favour a real bed over camping let alone camping in the actual outdoors!

I ploughed on through the day, stopping for some chips at a seaside camping ground and was excited to finally get to Te Kaha – I had missed the last takeaway order of the day but the shop was open and I bought myself some VERY expensive ingredients for a basic pasta dish before cycling the last few miles to the next Neil recommendation – a backpackers at the edge of town.

At first, I was really disappointed – it was a bit of a strange set up with beds everywhere and the Canadian guy who was cooking gave me quite a frosty reception. However, I was soon to change my mind and had such an amazing stay here.

After cooking, I was invited by James – part of the family who own the backpackers – whether I was interested in joining the yoga session. He led us in a fantastic yoga workout which had us on our mats looking over the stunning gardens down to the sea and the setting sun. The yoga was exactly what I needed to really stretch out my legs and back and it was lovely to actually have company whilst exercising for a change. Sadly no photos of the yoga team – I am so bad at photos and I think I am getting worse every day. I miss an awesome opportunity and then take ten less exciting shots to try and make up for it!

To top off the grand day, there was a hot tub at the bottom of the garden and I went and sat out there for a while, relaxing my stretched muscles and enjoying the stars. Soon I was joined by a few of the lads staying in the hostel and we had a good chat before I slunk off for an early night.

Day 62 – Te Kaha to Opotiki – 45.4 miles

The Eagles have made a catchy song and Chay seems to have a knack for parody writing – I have had ‘Welcome to the Homestead at Te Kaha’ stuck in my head since leaving this place! It was so much fun – Chay got all the boys who were staying at the hostel to sing the song to me – they tried bless them but only Chay really seemed to know what was going on. Definitely a great way to leave a lasting impression and I really loved my stay here – despite first impressions!

There was still a fair bit of climbing to do before getting back to Opotiki and the view at the top of the big hill was incredible. My back was feeling a little better after the yoga of the previous night but it was still giving me pain. It was really hot and sweaty, too and I was definitely glad that the day wasn’t too long!

When I arrived at the campsite, I was treated to a cabin for the price of a camp site for the night which was incredible. The site was very busy with a huge group of Tongans who were staying for a good stretch of time, which meant that it wasn’t easy to get my washing done but it all worked out in the end and it was so kind of the owners to give me such a huge discount on the room.

Day 63 – Opotiki to Matata – 42.2 miles

When I went to attach my bags to Peggy this morning, I noticed that there was a problem with the front pannier rack – it had broken where it joined to the front forks but it seemed as though it would hold for a few days. I decided not to worry about it too much and get it checked out once I got near to a big bike shop.

My first stop of the day was in the beautiful Ohope – not for anything too exciting but I was very pleased to find that the pharmacy had a bumper offer on multipacks of paracetamol and ibuprofen! They must have known as was coming – I was able to buy about five times my previous purchase and at under half the price bonus!

It was a relatively flat day apart from one big hill just before I got to Whakatane – here I checked at a bike shop but it seemed unlikely that anywhere was going to stock front pannier racks – I would have to order something in… which I wasn’t going to have time to do. Hmmm.

By the time I arrived in Whakatane, I was ready for lunch and treated myself to a sit-down affair at an Irish pub on the corner whilst I looked for a bed for the night. Matata looked promising and when I phoned the campsite, they said that they did indeed have a cabin available for the night at a reasonable price. Goody!

The little shop in Matata was well stocked and the local kids had just finished school when I arrived – they were all on their bikes and asked me where I was going… they were pretty impressed by the answer. I really wish that I had had time to go into a rural school here to discuss my adventure – it would have been great to see what they get up to in school and also to see what they make of my bike ride. I bet the vast majority have seen only a fraction of New Zealand in comparison to where I have been over the past few weeks.

I absolutely loved my cabin at Matata – it felt huge and had its own cooking facilities inside so I didn’t even have to leave the room to heat up my can of Stag chilli (I can’t wait to eat proper food again and am fantasising about Sharon’s buffet lunch on the first day back at school!) I still haven’t lost any weight and I have a strong suspicion that I am going to end up piling on the pounds in my first few weeks back as I gorge myself on real food and ‘Fat Fridays’.

Day 64 – Matata to Rotorua – 51 miles

So today I turned inland. I had asked the lady who owned the campsite about the route but she didn’t seem particularly well informed. I couldn’t really work out what the road surface would be like but decided to risk it anyway. To begin with, it was a great gamble. I loved cycling along the back lanes, seeing very little traffic and gradually climbing over a series of rolling hills – it felt very much like UK cycling for a while and I loved it.

Then… gravel. Freshly graded gravel. Gravel so thick that I was reduced to pushing the beast through it. And I had no idea how long it would last. It lasted long enough but not as long as I had anticipated – perhaps 4km where I was unable to cycle. Then the road deteriorated into more of a dirt track, which is slightly easier to ride along but it was terrifying when I began to descend at an incredulous gradient. I think I was cycling slower than I would usually walk and I was terrified. Thank goodness there were some flatter sections but it was hard going indeed!

I was so excited when I got my first glimpse of the ‘Tar Seal’ (capitalised as it is of great importance to me). I had just rounded a corner where the bank of the road made me feel like I was going to fall off again and there it was, glimmering like a mirage. I squealed with delight.

From then on, the surface was plain sailing and the views began to draw my attention – the ride into Rotorua really is incredible with each of the bodies of water shimmering in the sunlight, varying shades of dazzling blue and green. Lovely!

And I made good time, too! It was wonderful to be greeted by Neville and June, who had been following my progress since the beginning and are a contact through my Grandma’s friend, Margaret back home. PLUS, I only got one strong whiff of sulphur – lucky!

Rest Day

Oh what a wonderful stay I had with Neville and June. I really enjoyed their company and I was so well looked after. I don’t think there was any doubt about my calorie intake during my stay!

We went out to visit the buried village of Te Wairoa, where there were some Maori village buildings and remnants of the hotel which had formerly accommodated people on their visits to the pink and white terraces. There had been a number of Victorian British visitors around the time of the volcanic eruption and it was interesting to see their comments on the events of the time as well as newspaper clippings and photographs of holiday makers. It’s a real shame that the terraces were completely destroyed in the eruption, though I can imagine that we would have found a way to destroy them through overuse anyhow!

After having our walk around the gardens and viewing the beautiful waterfall, we went and procured ourselves a spot of lunch, which quickly took over the entire table as we struggled to eat scones the size of our heads after delicious sandwiches.

We stopped off to view some of the lakes in the area and had our picture taken on one of the beaches, which was lovely. Look at those thighs though! Thuuuuuunder!

I was done for after our day trip and had to take myself off for a nap…

The final string to the bow of Neville and June’s hospitality was Neville’s incredible skill for fixing things! We had trawled around the shops in Rotorua asking for advice about my pannier rack and had come up with nothing. I had however managed to purchase a delicious smelling chamois cream called Butt Butter and a new pair of gloves which the amazing owner of *** bike shop in Rotorua had found me for $10 as end of the line stock. ANYWAY, whilst I had been napping and catching up on some life admin on the computer, Neville had been busy looking at Peggy’s injury and has now constructed an awesome splint! She’s better than new. How brilliant!

It was really sad saying goodbye – staying with Neville and June was living the life of luxury. Thank you so much!


One thought on “Leg 10 – Hastings to Rotorua

  1. Brought back happy memories of my time staying in Opotoki Xmas 1984 & trips around the Bay of Plenty & East Cape. Also found out last w/e whilst out cycling with my old rugby mate that he’s close friends with Emilies parents. Looks like it was meant to be you’re joining us on May 15th . Safe journey whatever mode of transport you’re on. Look forward to meeting next month. Rob


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