OMG WHAT A LONG DAY! Literally did so much stuff today is hard to think it’s all happened in one 24hr period!
Woke at Sally’s in Auckland and finally, after 3 days of talking about it, the weather was good enough to go paddle boarding… Good enough, but not great as it started raining. But I was wet anyway from falling in often enough it didn’t matter. We probably were only out for 45 mins but it was long enough for my stomach. I’m definitely a land based mammal… Paddle boarding was good fun tho, if a little tricky to master. I was on the longest, largest, most stable board and I still looked like a kangaroo on an electric fence, not graceful like Sally and Asha.
After another fond farewell, it was on the bike to take on the Coromandel loop. A coast road that loops the peninsula east of Auckland and once again provides some in-fucking-credible roads. It was interspersed with some rain showers so it was a little hairy coming down the mountain passes at times. At one point I stopped to take some photos at a lookout point and two guys rock up on their triumph street triples. They gave the obligatory motorcyclists nod and screamed off into the distance. I thought it was just a British thing but, it must be international.
Carrying on around the loop, I saw a sign for Hot Water Beach so had to check this out. I rocked up in a dusty car park and got chatting with a French dude and his mates. They are working on a kiwi farm to build funds to carry on travelling around NZ. They were kind enough to store my motorbike gear while I went to find out how hot this water was.
Turns out it was ReallyHotTM and in places too hot to stand in. There is a thermal spring that escapes into the ocean here and is obviously marked by the throng of people all hanging out in one small cluster on an otherwise deserted beach. I stayed for 20 mins or so to splash around in the urine-warm pools that people had dug and then wandered back to find the friendly French bunch. It was fun but not as idyllic as you would hope for a beachside thermal bath.
Moving on, now covered in a fine film of sand and salt, I made it to Tauranga with only a few petrol scares. Turns out if I’m going uphill, I have loads of fuel but going down hill the warning light comes on when actually I’ve got loads left. I stopped outside a good looking hostel and fate provided a motorbike bay right next to two triumphs that looked suspiciously like the ones I saw earlier. I went into the bar to see if I could find the owners and got chatting with them, really nice guys. I didn’t really want to leave the motorbikes out on the main road overnight so they kindly offered to store the bike in their mate, Ray’s, garage overnight! When the bike was safely stowed they invited me up for a beer and we ended up having an awesome party all night… literally all night, I’m knackered now! Can’t thank them enough, they are proper top lads!