Saturday, February 15, 2014

Cycling NZ 15 years later

[Michele] Fifteen years ago, Gavin and I spent 4.5 weeks cycle-touring though the North and South Islands of New Zealand.  This was an amazing way to see the country.  Visiting some of the same sites 15 years later with kids in a campervan highlighted how different modes of travel evoke very different experiences.  This makes me realize that we should do more cycle-touring.

Anyways, Gavin and I were both very excited to get a chance to do some bike riding with the kids in New Zealand.  By the end of our trip, we had three days of riding in three very different but intense environments.

The first was a day on the Central Otago Rail Trail. If we had had more time, a 4-5 day trip would have been wonderful on this remote and majestic trail.  Our one day trip had us crossing viaducts and passing through tunnels.  No, Robin didn't like that part.  One highlight was finding our first geocache, which quickly led to an addiction to geocaching.  In Rotorua we even picked up a trackable that we've brought to the US to put in a geocache here... after the snow melts I guess.

first geocache of many

The second day of cycling led to another addiction, single track mountain biking. We spent the first half of the day exploring geothermal feature around Rotorua.
In the afternoon, we discovered an amazing mountain biking park that just blew us away.  We flew through the stunningly beautiful forest along maintained tracks that were designed for fun.  We rode until we were all tired, and then we went again... and again.   Robin and Will are both clamoring for us to find comparable parks near Amherst.
The challenge will be to find a Mountain Bike park near Amherst that
comes close to the one we biked in Rotorua.
One of the things I love about New Zealand is that if you want to ride
with your son right up the edge of a boiling mud pit, no one is going to stop you.

The third day of cycling was a rainy track along the river in Turangi. Riding in the rain didn't charm California-raised Gavin but the kids made the best of it. This was one of our last days in NZ and we were all starting to feel some eagerness to be on our way home.  The rain seemed to be lamenting our departure.

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