With Keith as our guide, we had a very informative 36 mile cycle around the highlights of Auckland city on Sunday morning. His determination to give panoramic views proved useful for practising pedaling uphill, including a jaunt through Cornwall Park, then on up to Mount Eden a, currently, inactive volcano. A plaque at the top informed us that London is a mere 11,500 miles as the crow flies. Auckland is a modern, bustling, cosmopolitan city spectacularly located between the Tasman sea and South Pacific ocean, with numerous coastal islands.
The rolling hills of Waikato, on our drive from Auckland to the little town of Thames, were dotted large outdoor milking parlours and herds of multi-racial cows, grazing parched pastures much in need of rain.
Our kind host, Keith, left us at Thames, where the cycle tour, panniers loaded, begins. The first 18 miles followed the winding coast past, driftwood strewn coves, a flock of, orange billed oyster catchers and banks of New Zealand flax interspersed with escaped blue and white Agapanthus, now growing wild. As we progressed north up the Coromandel peninsula, jutting out into the South Pacific Ocean, the going got very much tougher, with two long and very steep hills; grunted up in bottom gear. A delicious double scoop of antipodean ice cream in Coromandel town did much to restore energy levels.