Metrsideros excelsa: or commonly named pōhutukawa.
For the Kiwi people it’s represent their Christmas tree. Also called iron tree. It is a coastal evergreen tree that produces a brilliant display of red, orange, yellow and even white flowers made up of a mass of a stamens. The pōhutukawa is one of the 12 species endemic to New Zealand. Renowned for its vibrant colours and its ability to survive even perched on rocky precarious cliffs. It has found an important place in New Zealand culture for its strength and beauty and is regarded as a chiefly tree by Maori. The blossom of the tree is called kahika. It blossom between mid November through January.
New Zealand is a country & in 2017 declare a continent Zealandia submerged mass of continental crust that sank after breaking away from Australia some 65-85 million years age. Mostly mountainous. New Zealand’s geography includes glaciers,fiords, mountains, plains, subtropical forest, volcanic plateau and kms of coastline. The Capital is Wellington, while Auckland is the most populous city.
South Island’s Fiordland and Southern Lakes, stood in the mythical Middle Earth in Peter Jackson’s ” Lord of the Rings.
I learn, because of it remoteness, it was one of the last to be settled by humans. The country’s varied topography and shape mountain peaks. It’s the country to ride for hills lovers. I have found flat roads! But don’t last very long. Some are on the north island, most are on the east coast of south Islands. The most I have ride was on the east coast of the South Island. If you want to stretch your legs and have the thrill to challenge your self! Try ” the Skippers Canyon Road”, located in the south-west, it’s now called a scenic roads. Beside the climb, it’s very narrow. 16.5 miles of it! Miners have carved that road by hand 140 years ago.
There is also, Arthur’s Pass; 739m or (2,425 ft ) above sea level, located within the Arthur’s Pass National Park. (Have done) also The Crown Range. It’s located in the Otago region, linking Queenstown & Wanaka. Beautiful! It is one other highest roads in the country , 1,121m ( 3,677ft) above sea level. (Have done)
There is also The Remarkable, Wards Pass, Lindis Pass. Tasman Valley Road, Oahu Mountain Access Road, Forgotten World Highway it is one of the most scenic drives in the world, Queen Charlotte Drive (Have done) Top coastal road trips in the South Island of NZ. Also knows Te Waipounamu. Haast Pass is one of the most beautiful alpine scenic routes in the country (have done) and more have a look and enjoy…….
Fantastic sun rise!
The density of the forest in New Zealand with the different species of ferns is incredible. About 40% of the species occur nowhere else in the world. There no potential danger to walk in the forest. Even though there is wild pigs, deers, wild cats & possums!
majestic City of Auckland
Wellington my favourite city.
Cape Reinga. My starting point
Ninety mile Beach. Didn’t ride the on the beach but have camp.
New Zealand was a dream that came true. So here I am going with my bicycle, cycling around, up & down the islands for three months. Will do from Cape Reinga to Bluff , town before Steward island. It’s about 3300 km, that’s they say! I started my journey in Auckland October 8 2017 will finish February 12 2018. Going north on the East Coast to reach Cape Reinga. Wasn’t a good idea…. I was told to take care of the log tandem trucks & the drivers. They have a bad reputation of not ” give way “. No photos !
Most riders take a bus ” I was told ” and start their journey from north to Cape Reinga towards the South on the west coast trail. I try to do my own way. It was not the most easiest route, but it was worth the trouble. The view was extra and the people that I met was so delightful and helpful. I also did some of the Aotearoa trails!!! I did also a lot of roads. I was not able to do some the trails because of my weight (35) kg.
The Kennett brothers have a great book. Although it’s very good, I have to say there is no ferry at Pouto. It’s a boat owner that offers to take bicycles across Kaipara Entrance ( nature not always favourable for navigation) and it is very $$$$$$. He picks up fishermen when scheduled! Go to I-site in Dargaville for info. The lady will call Mr. Fishing Boat to know when he will be in Pouto. The ride going to Pouto It’s a good road halfway paved, beautiful view. (60) k.
I think I made a best choice by start my journey in NZ at the beginning of October. It’s rainy sometimes but the temperature is great, at night is fresh, (10-12) & campsite are good specially DOC good prices (6$ per person) + no tourists
Here going up a steep and narrow hill in a rainy day. I dress up and get my spirit up to continue up the hills. I had only 60 K to the next campsite. The hill became steeper and steeper. A truck is coming! I need to take care not to lose my balance so here I decide to stop. I am trying to start again it was too steep. So,I push my bike up the hill. Suddenly I hear a woman calling from the other side of the road. I cross the road. She says go my house, ”it’s on the top of the hill” she says, continue saying “the keys of the cabin are on the table, take them go in my house for the shower make your self some food. I’ll be back in two hours”. Her husband will arrive later. Stun continues pushing Mr. Minou. At the top there the entrance of her home was just there. It was still raining.
This woman made my day a happy ending ride.
And the cabin!
THE TRAILS DOORS!
On my way towards Whangaparaoa, Snells Beach,Mangawhai, Lang’s Beach Waipahu Beach. They are so great place to camp, it’s a tourist area on the north island. Wasn’t touristy in October. Only sufers with a rendez-vous with the waves.
Along that way I’m thinking of all these people I have met. Here I’m following this coastal road towards the north. It was exciting, I needed to take care on the narrow roads. Finally got around to get a routing to reach Cape Reinga & Great Exhibition Bay.
After Kerikeri everything got easier. The trucks traffic was thing of the past.
Before going further up went to town Kaitaia. I needed supplies for my ride to Cape Reinga and back (118 km one way). Camping on the 99 mile Beach. I did not ride my bike on the beach (55 km). Instead, I ask a danish family to bring me with them on the beach.
On my way to Cape Reinga I discover a white sand beach. I camp in Ngataki.
That sand is used to do clear glass bottles!
That white sand is extremely special. So special NZ take the sand and use it for making clear glass bottles. Is it true?
Extraordinaire trails. I wish my bicycle wasn’t so heavy :-(. Still did most of the trails. Push my bike through, climb, even down hills. Crossing small rivers because of flush & rocky trail. I enjoyed every steps, every bumps, & holes, every curve…. it was worth the trouble.
South Island much more easier to ride. The people are more laid back, also less population. The population is about 3,677,200 June 2017. It have 77% lives in the North Island. ( Te Ika-a-Māui )
South Island. ( Te Waipounamu ). 1,115,800 June 2017. It has 32 % with a larger landmass. Only 23% of NZ 4.8 million total population.
The weather changes soundly. In the southern hemisphere it is normal. The roads twist, the view is breathtaking and and life on bike ride is delightful.
Surly not mist the Sound regions.
There is multiple options. Where am I going?
Did you know that the Milford Sound/Piopiotahi is a World Heritage site what a feeling, great privilege to able to ride in this area even though it was not always easy. Camping was prestigious. Alone with raw wilderness. The sounds of the between mountains. Have great memories that will last a lifetime. The words are disappearing but feels the goodness of my soul.
It has also been judged the most traveling destination! Rudyard Kipling had previously called it the eighth Wonder of the world.
Marlborough Sounds; Kenepuru Sound is also extremely beautiful. I inter by boat because the weather wasn’t in my favour then came back riding.
Lets talk about possum or opossum; AUSTRALIA vs USA.
Here’s the big surprise, well, for me anyway. The American possums are actually called opossums scientific name, Didelphimorphia. But for some reason, they are more commonly referred to as possums, just like our native Australian species.
But our Australian possums are ( scientific name) Phalangeridae. Both are marsupials, but that’s about it. Other than that they are not really related at all. I wasn’t the only one who was fooled by all this; they are still plenty of website out there that claims possums & opossums are the same. They are not.
It seemed that all the confusion was started by Captain Cook’s botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, who’s name the Australian animal possum because it “look like ” American opossum. A big difference! By BobinOz.
DID NOT FIND AN ALIVE ONE
I didn’t do like most cyclists. I began my ride on the east coast down to Christchurch..Most the road was easy , safe and a superb journey along the seafront. Arrive in Christchurch stayed in a hostel a couple of days to lighten my load. I was trying a new way of visiting some difficult areas. Lighter I was able to go up hills in the trails. Took the bus to Mount Cook then ride to Queenstown.
From Queenstown I have followed the trail. Going to Invercargill
finally arrived to south point of NZ Bluff. Was proud to achieve an other goal. Went a little further south, Stewart Island/ Rakiura. That’s where I met after a good dinner at the hotel pub in Oban, siting on a bench looking at the most southern ocean I had the privilege to see. The sun had set for some time, ! What do I see moving on the lawn………a kiwi!! Made my day.
It’s was time for me to say goodbye to the most southern tip of NZ. Need to hurry up I got to ride the west coast.
Took the bus back to Queenstown the next day was on my way to Wanaka. The ride to west coast was a great aventure. The Mount Aspiring National Park is great to ride. Although it is narrow, windy and there is some hills.
From Haast to Greymouth I have ride mostly on the sea shore. The trails are great and easy. Most cyclists that I met were coming from the other direction. Ha! Ha! Ha! It was good for me I had first class info of what was ahead.
From Greymouth periodic showers were on the menu that day, so the roads were very slippery. At some point , after 6 hours of fighting with tourists buses. Decided to ask a chauffeur of a bus that had stopped , for a ride & help and bring me to Richmond. He accepted! I was very thankful. It was s Chinese tourists bus!
I went some extra k, toward Motueka, Takaka Collingwood & Wharariki Beach. You got to go! If just for Puponga point. The Farewell Spit. A couple years age the Bay was field of pilot whales stranding ( 10. Feb. 2017 ). There’s still bones on the beach. The community doesn’t know why? It’s happens every year , but 400 pilot whales it’s not an every year event.
My three months riding in New Zealand was a dream coming true. I have never thought I would ride the country. nevertheless, I think it is the best way to go around NZ. Even though the country are not prepare to receive cyclists on the roads. I therefore set out to investigate whether the trails system was okay for my equipment. New Zealand has great trails and mostly doable with a touring bike. Although the best is a mountain bike ( bike packing ).
Hope you have enjoyed the riding. Had to resume my blog for the South Island. Had some difficulty with WordPress.