Up up up: Our hilliest day to date

168. Sunrise at Anaura BaySunday was a very long, very hilly day (for me anyway), involving harnessing my inners Jens (SHUT UP LEGS) to cover the 113km from Anaura Bay to the Te Araroa Campsite, which is actually probably closer to Hicks Bay than to Te Araroa. It also involved quite a few climbs, which we had conservatively estimated at around 1,000m of climbing. We were wrong; it was actually more like 1,500m of climbing, so our hilliest day to date. No wonder my legs are sore this morning. Continue reading


Go East!

0158. Anaura BaySince Thursday we have been grinding our way up and over the hills between Wairoa and Gisborne and have now picked up the Pacific Coast Highway which will take us all around the East Cape of North Island. We are currently in Anaura Bay, a tiny settlement with a campsite on the beach. Hopefully it looks like we will avoid Cyclone Winstone, although we may end up with some rain over the next few days, so we shall see what happens. Rain would be a relief from the absolutely scorching days we’ve been having here. Continue reading

Hanging out in Napier

0119. Art deco festival in NapierThursday (18th Feb.) evening was spent with our sheep farming WarmShowers host and we got taken to the Pongaroa Hotel for “a good feed”. We’d hardly seen any traffic on the road from Alfredton and any place marked on our map consisted of only a few houses, yet Pongaroa Hotel was surprisingly busy. There had been rugby training that evening (so clearly there’s more than 15 men in the area!) and there’d also been a farmers meeting. We wouldn’t have ventured into the pub had we been staying on the Pongaroa Domain campsite, so were grateful we were being chaperoned by James and were able to glimpse this part of Kiwi life. Friday morning dawned bright and once we were ready to leave the sheep farm it had started raining. Typical. Continue reading

Some stats (as of 22nd Feb.)

Distance cycled: 2,034 km

Amount of uphill: 17,575 m (or nearly x2 Everests)

Longest day: 118km from Omarama to Wanaka 

Hilliest day: 1,080 m of ascent between Fox and Lake Ianthe

Longest straight road: 18.4 km from Mayfield to Arundel

Number of nights camping: 31

Number of campsites used: 24

Most nights spent consecutively in a tent: 14

Warmshowers hosts: 4 (Fox; Greymouth; Martinborough & Pongaroa)

Ferries taken: x2 (Diamond Harbour → Lyttelton and Picton → Wellington)

ParkRuns completed by Adam: Hagley Park, Christchurch and Porirua

Combined weight loss: about 12 kg (7kg Philippa and 5kg Adam)

Wineries visited: Six, and counting

Wine consumed: lost count (hic)

Overall route


Falling back in love along Route 52

0071. Traffic on Route 52After a difficult start to North Island we were hopeful that Route 52 from Masterton to Napier would restore some peace in the world because we wouldn’t be on gravel cycle routes and fingers crossed the roads would be quiet. However, things didn’t seem to be getting off to a great start when it started raining whilst we were eating breakfast at the Masterton campsite. Fortunately, we’d already taken down the tent, and as we knew we didn’t have a long day up to Alfredton we faffed about until the rain had passed. The first stop was the supermarket because we knew it would be four days or so before we’d hit another major town. Continue reading

The love stopped on Valentines

0027. Found in Bothamley Park, Porirua (Copy)Over the last few days we have definitely had some experiences on North Island. Some have been fabulous, and others have been quite trying. We have learnt about some of New Zealand’s cycle trails – mainly that our bikes don’t suit them that well. We have tried some great wines, with me even liking some Pinot Noirs, and we’ve met some lovely, friendly people, which seems to be a common theme in New Zealand. We are currently in Masterton planning our next few days up to Napier. Continue reading

Sounding out the wine in Marlborough

0260. Grapes at St. ClairsAfter riding over from St. Arnaud we were in Marlborough. There were grape vines everywhere, and we mean everywhere. We’ve both seen vineyards in Europe but nothing had prepared us for the scale of the Marlborough vineyards. There was only one thing to do and that was to try some wine, so we devoted Monday to that task. We rode down to Blenheim, diligently following Steve’s advice and avoiding Highway 1. We had to cross it and that was bad enough. However, after being a bit disappointed with Blenheim (the buildings could have featured in a Western movie….) we set off to the Prenzel distillery. Okay, not wine, but we’d been told they did some good booze, including gin and who doesn’t like a good G&T? The only problem about getting to the distillery was our failure to ride past the very first winery we came across. Oops Continue reading

NZ C2C (Charleston > Blenheim)

Horseshoe Bend on the Lower BullerWe’ve spent the last few days cycling from Charleston, on the West Coast, to Blenheim, on the East Coast, following the beautiful Buller gorge for a lot of it. As with any bike ride, there have been highs and lows, surprises and disappointments. We are spending a few days in and around Blenheim to try some wine and will then head out to Marlborough Sounds probably tomorrow (Tuesday) before taking the ferry across to North Island this Friday, bringing our South Island adventure to a close. We had expected to spend about 6 weeks here, but I’m such a cycling goddess that we’ve covered the ground quicker than expected and so will instead head over to North Island a bit earlier than expected. Continue reading

Thoughts so far

Beautiful unspoilt baysAfter picking up the west coast in Haast six days ago we’ve pretty much followed the coastline northwards. Today, Tuesday, would effectively be our last day following the sea because tomorrow we’ll turn inland and head up the Buller Gorge and then over to Blenheim, where we’ll sample some wine and then get the ferry to Wellington. Our first day following the coastline was drizzly, overcast and fairly monotonous as we rode through the rainforest from Haast. Today was a total contrast, with blue skies, white topped waves, the sun scorching down and constantly changing views. We’re really thankful Duncan had told us to carry on up the coast and not to turn inland at Greymouth. Continue reading

Over the hills and far away

Whataroa RiverOn Friday morning we waved off an American couple on a tandem who’d also spent the night at Pine Grove. They were heading South and we were continuing North. It was grey and rainy again. We weren’t quite sure where we were headed for on Friday as we had contacted a warmshowers host and had potential but uncertain accommodation in Fox for Friday night. As we were on the outskirts of Fox Glacier we turned Adam’s phone on and had a message from Jules and Mark, the warmshowers hosts, that they could definitely host us after all – hooray. This turned out to be very lucky as the 35km ride in the rain was pretty miserable so we were happy to stop and take it easy for the rest of the day. Continue reading