A Land of Kiwi and Maori
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September 1, 2002


We fly with Air New Zealand from Sydney to Auckland, north island of New Zealand. Winter is over. We land in spring. It would be diffucult for us to travel in winter. We plan ahead to arrive here in spring and next destination in summer to Chile for the smooth journey. Few cyclists arrive in spring, there are more in summer.

Our flight was 2 hours. We say goodbye to Aunt Toi with happiness, although we had some difficulties. Our air tickets flying to Chile is scheduled on Nov 29, 2002. During this time, our journal is all about New Zealand.

We have a warm welcome in New Zealand. Jill Newson waits for us at Auckland International Airport. We have never met Jill before. We got her email while we were travelling in South Australia in July. She emails us that she has a room for us in her apartment. Jill worked for Potatoes Company brand "Man Man" for few years in Thailand. We feel like she is our good sister in Auckland. We have a confidence of meeting Jill.

We went through the immigration with a little problem. The police dog smells something in our panniers we had used for food storage. Jill is looking for us. She say greeting and introduce herself. Jill helps us loading our bicycle boxes and gear in the car. Jill is so kind. She had borrowed her friend's van to up our gear. Her car is too small.

We enter city of Auckland in about 20 minutes. The beautiful sunset is shining with gold light this evening. We arrive at Jill's home in Ponsonby Road at Picton Street, very nice atmosphere. Jill has a very beautiful house. She welcomes us to her home. We see the Sky Tower and the whole city view. Jill cook us a lovely dinner. She gives us the key and says "please make yourself at home". Jill is very busy working woman.

 


September 11, 2002

Ten days in Auckland is really value to us. The house is nice and located in the city centre. We plan trip in detail starting from North Island to South Island. We try to find a good map and information on the bike route. It is quite easy to get the complete information. We buy a ferry ticket on a fixed date to get 30 percentage of discount. (when crossing from north island to south island) We need to buy air tickets from Queenstown to Auckland, luckily it is on promotion at NZ$118 (full price is NZ$440). It is a good idea to plan ahead and search for the good price of air tickets in the website. We save cost a lot by planning ahead.

We bike from Jill's house to New Market train station. We take a train to leave of the big city. It is very difficult to get out of Auckland. No bicycle is allowed on the Motor Way, there is a fine at NZ$ 1000 to cyclist using Motor Way road. We get info from books and advice from the bike shop that they all recommend to take a train to leave of the city. The population of New Zealand is 3.7 million and half lives in Auckland. Auckland is more wellknown than the capital city of Wellington.

Train provides good services. Friendly staff helps us lift our bikes. The name of train is Tranz Metro. We pay NZ$6 to Papakura station. (NZ$ 2.25 = US$ 1, 1 NZ$ = 20 Baht) The staff sends the signals to the driver to stop the train and give us some time to lift the bikes.

The heavy rain is falling now. We stand under the roof for 2 hours and finish reading few books, the rains seems no stop. This is why New Zealand has green grass field. It is truly a wet country. We find a motor camp not far from the train station. We sleep in the small caravan tonight.

We start our real journey from now on. We see beautiful green field of sheep farms. Sheeps are not scared of us here. In Australia, sheeps always run away from us. There are different kinds of sheeps with white face and black face. We enjoy the scenery seeing milk cows and meat cows.

We use the road to the east at Kawakawa Bay from Papakura train station. We ride along the coast to Miranda and stay overnight. The backpacker may use the hot pool if they would like.

We meet one cyclist from Scotland. He takes leave from work and does a bike trip in New Zealand for a year!!!. That is really long trip in New Zealand.

Sep 13, we leave Miranda and turn right to Ngatea on Highway no. 2. We say goodbye to our cyclist friend, he is heading straight to Thames. Our next destination is Waihi. The road is easy to ride. We see Tree Fern both sides of the road, remind us of our beautiful Thailand. It is quite difficult to see this kind of trees in our country. There are different kinds of Tree Ferns. "Silver Fern" is the symbol of New Zealand. If we turn the fern leaves to othe side, we will see the beautiful white color. Waihi has a small motor camp near the mountain and the price is reasonable. The owner knows Thailand well and give us some discount with a pretty smile.


We still are on the highway no. 2. We leave Waihi and bike along the coast to Katikati. We see beautiful view, more sheep farms, kiwi farms and avocado trees. We arrive big city of Tauranga late evening today.

 


September 15, 2002


There are 2 roads to Rotorua, the main highway and short cut road to Pyes pa. We choose the short way and steep road. Leaving Tauranga, we climb the big hill and even steeper after 20 KM. We have to walk and push our bike because the road is too steep. The road is full of dust. Then, we bike downhill and reach Highway No. 5. Rotorua is not far ahead. Many tourists visit Rotorua. They will not miss if they come to North Island.
   
Tourist visits Maori Village and Thermal pools. Relaxing in a hot pool in the hotel is quite nice. The city is near the big lake with the history of Maori. We see white smog around town. People tell us that it is a city of volcano, still active. We smell a lot of sulfur all over the city. People who live here, they get used to this smell.

We have short time in Rotorua because we have scheduled to take a ferry to South Island. If we finish our trip to Queenstown, we may have some chance to visit Rotorua again. We leave Rotorua and bike to Taupo on Highway no. 5. On the way to Taupo, we visit few places. In North Island, Taupo have the largest number of tourists. This route is still up and downhill but not so difficult. We have an easy ride looking at beautiful scenic reserve. On this highway, there are 2 thermal areas. We clearly see the sign of the thermal picture.

 


Thirty kilometres from Rotorua on Highway 5, the thermal area named Wai-O-Tapu is located. We keep our bikes inside near the ticket office and walk to different points of interest with the map. We had a long walk for 3 hours. We are back on the highway no. 5. We see the huge factory and smell the diary products. We slowly climb uphill. We see the forest of pine tree both sides of the road for 20KM. We couldn't reach Taupo today so we find a place to camp near the forest. The next 20KM is Taupo. It was very cold night. New Zealanders tell us that there is no snake and no big spider here. Some people tell us the snake came with the ships at the seaport nowadays.



Before arriving Taupo, we shouldn't miss to visit Huka Falls, very beautiful place. We could hear very loud noise of Waikato River, it is the main river to north island. The water is very clean. Huka Jet is a fun jet boating to see the spectacular Huka Falls. We ask the staff for the information. It is 360 Degree Spin, sliding past cliffs and trees and feel steaming hot water from natural springs. The price of the ride is quite high for budget travellers like us. We introduce Huka Jet staff about our trip and ask Huka Jet for a discount or sponsoring us a ride. The staff immediately click our website and agree to sponsor us. We got free tickets. We get dress and bring our camera along. It is a great fun ride for 30 minutes, very excitement. The jet boat takes us to the Aratiatia Dam. We get to see very close to beautiful Huka Falls and spin 360 degree. We feel amidst of beautiful river environment of bush and landscape, the power of the nature at Huka Falls. Huka Jet gives us a full set of our photos. Thank you very much to Huka Jet for your kind support and giving us a great experience. Huka Jet has a website at www.hukajet.com with lots of information.


After having a great fun with Huka Jet, we continue our journey to Taupo. We stop at the lookout and take a photo of beautiful view of Mount Ruapheu.

The road is downhill to Taupo, we see lake Taupo. Lake Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand. We stop at supermarket to storage food. We turn left and head to Napier. We see a Thai restaurant so we stop for a meal. We talk to the owner Mr. Nalith Huot, he is Thai who lived in Trad province. He has been living in New Zealand for 30 years. We had a conversation. Nalith admires our project and give us the refund of the meal. He also sponsor us small amount for the trip. He is very kind to us. He feels proud of Thai Bike World and asks us to stay longer in Taupo. The relationship is getting closer. Khun Nopparat is Nalith's wife. She was driving a car and leads us to her house. We follow her on our bike. We had a good conversation and have a happy time together. We help Nalith in restaurant, whatever we could support. Nalith said that he is very happy that we are here. We are very happy to be with his family.


 

 

September 22, 2002

We stay 5 days in Taupo. We go back again to Rotorua, but not on our bike. Nalith shows us around Rotorua and the boiling mud. Nalith and family sponsor a buffet lunch for Wan's birthday party. Wan has a very deep feeling for his kindness. There are many rainy days in Taupo.

We say goodbye to Nalith and family and continue our trip. Everyone wishes us well for the journey. Nalith say "we all welcome you again here before you are going to Chile". We have a promise that we would like to visit him again. Thank you very much for his support to us. It has rained long time. We couldn't stop any longer and have to move on. We are on the highway no. 5 to Napier. The road is steep on the mountain and twisting. We see less houses and farms. We are in the pine forest and very nature. We arrive Tarawera at night. We find only one bar beer in Tarawera. They have one small caravan in the middle of the lawn. We sleep in the caravan for the night. It was heavy rain and strong wind all night long.

The trip is getting more difficult with long steep hills. We reach Titlokura Summit late afternoon. The wind is so strong at times and this makes us so slow. The road is now down to Highway no. 2. We find a motor camp at Bay View. The weather is nice with no rain and beautiful wind blow from the ocean. We sleep well all night.

 


September 24, 2002


 
We start early in the morning and feel fresh of the sunshine biking along the coast to Napier. There was a big earthquake destroying lot of houses in Napier. We see fruit farms, cattle farms and vineyards. We did not visit the city centre and continue to south on Hightway 2 to Hastings. Many fruits farm are along both sides of the road. We would love to visit them and help them with the farm work. We have an easy ride seeing more sheep farms. We see thousands of black swans. The color of the swans contrasts with the green field, looking alike the green carpet on the farm. We really like the scenery. We arrive Waipukurau and find a place to stay. It has rained all night.
   
 

 

 

September 25, 2002

We leave Waipukurau early in the morning, no rain but strong wind and very cold at 9 degree C. When we pedal, we feel warm. As soon as we stop pedalling, we feel cold.

The road climbs steeply to Ruahine Range. It has rained with hail. The temperature drops down to 2 degree C. We keep rolling to warm up. We only rest and eat bread for meals. We have made 80km to Woodville at night today. All the motels are expensive. We find Masonic Hotel (bar beer hotel) and ask the staff to sleep in the big storage room on the first floor. She is so kind to give us a place and sleeping materials. We paid NZ$10 for the night. Woodville is small town with many junctions to different cities. Many truck drivers stop for drinks in this hotel before going to the destination.

 


September 26, 2002

The rain performs the duty. We also do our duties. We say goodbye to the owner of the hotel at 7 o'clock. Our next destination is Wellington. The wind is very strong. We feel so cold. We stop at Pahiatua for the internet access in the library. We see the big beer factory brand Tui (black bird name "Tui"). We arrive Masterton. There is a big roundabout and heavy traffic. We continue and arrive Carterton at night. We bike in the rain and find motor camp. We stay in a safe place.

 

 

 

 

September 27, 2002

We have a plan to visit the Royal Thai Embassy in Wellington at 6.00 pm today. The road is uphills and downhills to Featherston. There is one high summit ahead. We ask the information center and they recommend us to take a train from Featherston to Upper Hutt. The reason is the wind is very strong and unusual today. We agree and take a train for 20 minutes to Upper Hutt. The train runs through the tunnel. Wellington is next 50KM. We have 2 hours and speed up to be on time. We arrive Wellington 6 p.m. and look at the map. The Royal Thai Embassy is on the Cook Street located on the big hill. It takes us 1 hour to reach the Royal Thai Embassy. We meet Khun Jek and Khun Too, the secretary to the Ambassador. They still wait for us. Our bicycles rest in the embassy. Khun Too takes us to a Thai Restaurant for dinner.



Wellington is a capital of New Zealand since 1864. The first capital is Russell and second is Auckland. Wellington is on the mountain having strong wind and heavy rain all year. Many houses locate on the hills. Wellington is the most south capital city in the world.

 

 

September 28, 2002

Khun Jek, Khun Jim and Thai students including us, we all go to Cape Palliser. Jim is diving for Cray Fish. Khun Jek drives us for 2 hours passing small town of Martinborough. We get close to Cape Palliser along the coast. We see many seals and take a photo. Jim was ahead of us diving in the sea finding the cray fish. We walk to the lookout seeing beautiful seashore. Jim shows us 6 cray fishes he got. On the way back home, the police check Jim's fishing license and measure size of all cray fishes. The law is very tight to preserve nature. We say goodbye to Jim and family. Jim gives us 2 cray fish and wish us have a safe journey. Jum and Khun Jek hand us an envelop to sponsor to Thai Bike World. Khun Jek drives us to Khun Too's place for our stay. Thank you very much to Khun Jek and Khun Jim for your kind support and the wonderful trip today.

We stay with Khun Too's place. It is raining. Khun Too takes us to a Thai Restaurant and meet Khun Aoi Thompson, Head of Thai Community and members. They welcome us to Wellington with a lovely dinner. Thai Community sponsor Thai Bike World. Thank you for your kind support. September 29, we stay all day in Khun Too's place. We read Thai newspapers and follow up the news. The dark clouds and rain is as usual. We have cray fish for the meal.

September 30, we pay respect to the Ambassador Anucha Osathanon and update him our journey. We have a group photo taken with all officers. The Royal Thai Embassy gives us a great support. The driver takes us to Chile Embassy for applying the visa and post office to pick up a package. The officer at Chile Embassy gives us a good support and very friendly.

The Ambassador Anucha invites us for dinner with all officers. He give us envelop and says "I have been thinking a lot of what to give you. I think this is the best for you and you could use this in New Zealand". He sponsors to Thai Bike World.

 

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