2017 TheBikeHike – Thames

10 March 2017 ENGLISH

It is nice being able to sit in a dry campground kitchen and update our website while outside the rain is pouring down and forecasted to get even worse; up to 200mm of rain over the next 2 days for the Coromandel area.

We arrived in Coromandel township early afternoon today from Thames and are staying at the campground (in a cabin) for 2 nights.

Yesterday we cycled from Waihi to Thames via the Hauraki Rail Trail (a 60km bicycle trail). We had stayed in Waihi for 2 days, as a large storm front made a direct line for the Coromandel area and dumped a months worth of rain in 24 hours. Roads were closed due to flooding and slips so we resigned ourselves to a day of coffee and watching movies on the laptop. Fortunately the rain eased up during the night so we made an early start for Thames, cycling via the Hauraki Rail Trail. The official Rail Trail publication states;

‘The 82km trail is the easiest cycle trail in New Zealand to ride with the longest tunnel 1.1Km and showcases some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer, from the Pohutukawa trees on the Thames Coast, through lush green Waikato farm lands, to areas rich in pioneering history. A major highlight includes riding through the stunning Karangahake Gorge, one of the “14 wonders of New Zealand”. The trail follows the path of two historic railway lines, running from Thames to Paeroa and Waikino to Te Aroha, while a new path will link Waikino to Waihi’

The cycling from Waihi to Paeroa was interesting but i’m not sure I would class it as one of the ’14 wonders of NZ’. There are several areas of both railway and gold mining history to view (unfortunately one area we wanted to see, ‘the windows walk’ was closed due to a slip). There is a long tunnel to cycle through, 1km long, (that has lighting) is perhaps the highlight of this section and several cafes cyclists can stop at, but at only 26km long (and downhill from Waihi) it was a section that we cycled reasonably quickly.

The next section, Paeroa to Thames, was the longest section (around 35km’s) and I would class it as perhaps the most uninspired section of cycle trail in NZ. It essentially is flat, travels through dairy farms with little to see, plenty of cow sh*t (in areas) to avoid and over 100 poorly constructed stock barriers to cycle over. In hindsight the main road would have been a better option as it has a medium traffic flow and would be faster.

We were on the road at 8.30am this morning as the weather people were predicting the rain to arrive, with thunderstorms, in early afternoon. Although its a short ride (only about 50km’s) there are 2 good hills to climb (total of about 460mn of climbing) and we wanted to be over them by the time the rain arrived.

The first 30km of riding were great, a nice undulating road that follows the coast with little traffic. There are numerous coastal villages that appear to consist of expensive holiday houses owned by Aucklander’s, but still lots of nice beaches and picnic areas along the way with a craggy coastline and green, velvety conifers.

The Coromandel area, for whatever the reason (but I suspect cheap living and a great climate), was Hippy Central in the 1960s and 1970s and there are still real hippies living, feral and shy, in and around Coromandel, most earn a living through businesses they operate and some still live in communes leading alternative lifestyles.

We arrived in Coromandel as the rain arrived and it has set in with a vengeance, we are here for 2 days before cycling over the hills to the western side and Whitianga (weather dependant).

10 March 2017 DEUTSCH

So, da bin ich wieder. Das letzte Mal waren wir in Waihi, wo wir eine Nacht bleiben wollten, aber dank dem Regen waren mehrere Strassen gesperrt und es hatte viele Ueberschwemmungn in der Umgebung, vor allem aber in Thames. So mussten, durften wir eine weitere Nacht in Waihi bleiben. Zwischen Regenschauern spazierten wir ins Dorf für einen Kaffee, den Nachmittag verbrachten wir mit Video schauen, auf dem Laptop. War schön erholsam!

Am Donnerstag morgen waren die Strassen aber wieder ok und wir gingen auf dem Rail Trail nach Thames, wo wir immer noch die Schäden und den Schlamm der Überschwemmungen von gestern sehen konnten. Wir hatten eine trockene Fahrt doch am Abend fing es wieder an zu regnen. Doch bis am nächsten Morgen hat der Regen gestoppt und wir waren früh unterwegs, da wir das Wetter schlagen wollten. Es gelang uns auch fast, aber nicht ganz. Es fing flach an, alles der Küste entlang und war sehr schön. Wir fuhren durch viele kleine Ortschaften mit schönen Ferienhäusern, alles direkt am Meer. Als die Strasse dann mehr ins innere der Halbinsel ging, wurde es auch steiler und wir hatten 2 gute Berge zu erklimmen. Die Abfahrt ist jeweils eine tolle Belohnung für den Chrampf auf der andern Seite und es war immer noch trocken.

Doch etwa 8km vor unserem Tagesziel fing es dann an zu regnen, zu schütten! Was es den ganzen Tag und die ganze Nacht machte. Als wir völlig durchnässt in Coromandel Town ankamen, gingen wir als Belohnung in einen Coffee Shop zum Zmittag, anstatt unsere üblichen Sandwich irgendwo am Strassenrand zu essen. Dort trafen wir dann auch Tina aus Schaffhausen, die schon lange hier in Neuseeland wohnt und wir haben noch lange geplaudert.

Nun sind wir 2 Nächte hier auf dem Campingplatz, aber in einer cabin, bevor es am Sonntag weiter geht nach Whitianga.