New Zealand Wrapup

Tuesday, May 5th to Wednesday, May 14th

 King and a hobbit house. 

  My turn to pose. 

 Everyone should be so lucky as to live in a country like New Zealand. The air and water are clean, the people friendly, it’s safe, the food is healthy and the scenery is stunning. There’s little visible corruption, crime or poverty. We were surprised at how well travelled and educated people in even the smallest of towns were and how often people told us they had visited Hong Kong. It also doesn’t hurt that everywhere you go the coffee and cakes are excellent. 

Redwood walk in Rotorua

 We spent our final week in New Zealand visiting friends in Rotorua, making the Hobbiton pilgramage, and boxing the bikes in Auckland for our flight back to Hong Kong. Since it wasn’t by bicycle I’ll spare the day-by-day account of things and just show a few of the better photos and a quick wrap up of the trip. 

Hobbiton

 Km ridden: 2400

days cycled: 42

days hiked: 6

days in NZ: 78

average km per day cycle: 57 km

Longest day: 94 km from Invercargil to Tuatepe.

Rest days: Too many to count. Mostly due to bad weather.

Rotorua 

  Rotorua

 Most scenic days:

– Te-Anau to Queenstown via Mavora Lakes.

– The back roads around St. Arnaud.

– The Eastern Cape.

– Wanaka to Makarora.

Cost per day: including insurance, phones, souveniers, bike stuff, transport, etc.. about $90 USD each. Since we didn’t camp much partly because we were lazy and our tent was a bit small, and since we stopped at every cafe that we rode by for coffee and cake, our costs were pretty high. On the plus side we slept well and warm and dry most every night and were very well fed. And we got some cool souvenirs. New Zealand wasn’t a budget travel destination for us.

And finally, the best carrot cakes (you won’t go wrong at any of these cafes):

– Ida Valley Kitchen in Oturehua on the Otago Rail Trail.

– Provisions Cafe in Arrowtown.

– Up The Garden Path in Motueka.

– The Townhouse in Westport.

– Relish Cafe in Wanaka.

– Batch Cafe in Invercargil.

– PR’s Cafe in Westport.

– Melrose House Cafe in Nelson (best presentation and poshest setting)

– Arrowtown Bakery and Cafe. Least expensive 🙂
OTCC (other than carrot cakes)

– Sea salt caramel cheesecake at Fidel’s Cafe on Cuba Street in Wellington.

– Salted caramel cheesecake at USSCo Bar and Bistro in Gisborne.

– Lemon and yogurt cake at Zest Cafe in Gisborne.

– Ruby butterscotch cake at Capers Epicurean in Rotorua!!

Favorite Restaurants:

– Provisions Cafe in Arrowtown.

– USSCo Bar and Bistro in Gisborne.

– Batch Cafe in Invercargil.

Things we miss already:

– The clean air.

– Small towns and rural life.

– Our frequent food and coffee breaks.

Advice for cyclists:

– The main roads have little to no shoulder and are dangerous for cyclists. Wear a bright yellow vest and strap reflectors on your rear panniers. We stuck to small back roads and cycling trails and mostly avoided the busier roads.

– Internet connections mostly suck. They are slow and seldom free. The connections in the poorest of SE Asian countries are better and cheaper.   

– The weather can be extreme. We took a lot of rest days due to the rain.

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