Bay of Plenty

On 2. of January I started to cycle. I went along the eastcoast until thames, overnight I stayed on campings. I skipped Coromandel, as it was very busy und went straight to Tauranga and then Rotorua.

Cycling in New Zealand isn't always nice though. The country itself is one of the most beautiful to cycle. Lush green hills with hugh trees, subtropical forests, volcanoes the sea with nice beaches and rough rocks. Also a lot of sometimes quite exotic birds to see, some come every year from Antarctica to stay over winter in New Zealand.

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Also People are very friendly and helpful, they don't hesitate to explain the way and are sometimes even ready to host a cyclist. For example Rey, a firefighter and Vietnam veteran. He invited me for a coffe after we stored my bicycle safely in the fire station. In the end he even gave me his number, in any event I should call him. He knows other veterans all over the country and could mobilize them if necessary ;)

But there's one exception in the friendlyness: As soon as the Kiwi's sit behind a vehicle's steering wheel they get impatient and sometimes even dangerous. There's also some who seem to hate cyclists! Overtaking too close and jostling der way through is quite normal here. That's normally bearable, but sometimes the emergency lane on the highways get's to small to cycle on, namely on bridges and narrow passages in the hills and gorges. But if I leave them pass they even appreciate and smile to me. It seems you just have to know how to handle them ;)

In Thames I found a cycletrail, just by accident. It connects Thames and Waihe. I got informed that New Zealand wants to connect the whole country with similar ways. Up to now there's just a few, but every now and then another one get's opened up. See

My first longer brake was already in Mount Manganui, next to Tauranga. That's where Fritz and Erika live, some fare distant relatives of me. We were actually a bit unsecure about how exactly we are related - we guessed that Fritz' father was a cousin of my grandfather. Anyways, it was really nice to get invited and treated as a guest for several days. I also went playing golf with Fritz - the first time in my live. I managed to get the ball in all nine holes, though the beginning was quite frustrating, but in the end I even had some good shots. I will never get a golf lover, but I understand now, why people like it.

I also climbed up Mount Manganui and we visited Fritz' Sister Martha and her Husband Arthur. They live on White Cross Orchard near Whakatane. They, or nowadays more their children, grow a lot of differnet fruit there, for example apples, peaches, grapefuits, tangelos, grapes and so on. They even have some specifically Swiss fruits, which can't be importetd anymore because there are restrictions to prevent the spread of plant diseases. This years harvest seems to be very good, but price of the very tasty grapefruit dropped so low, that it is not worth picking them as labour would be too expensive.

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On the way to Rotorua Google played a mean game with me: The way east of highway 36 (Omanawa rd, Galaxy rd) leads trough state forest which is only accessible with a permit. When some passing woodcutters told me I already cycled 15km on these roads, all uphill...


Now I am in Rotorua, a town which smells sulphuric everywhere. It is ful of hot springs, and some of the bird even stopped breeding their eggs, because there's enough of thermal heat ;)

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All Photos

38 out of 38 on Flickr