New Zealand March 5-6

Thursday March 5th

We started the morning in Kinloch with a nice hike on the K2K trail, one of the trails that goes from town to town along the lake, and then came back for a swim.

The lake was so clear and refreshing- we swam for a long time! We decided to head towards the Waitomo district, famous for its glowworm caves. However, we discovered they were really expensive and seemed a little cheesy so we decided to head out to this remote village called Kawhia, which was supposed to be beautiful and have a hot sand beach.  It was a very twisty, hilly, long drive.

When we finally got there we weren't too impressed. There was nowhere we felt safe camping, so we decided to make the trek back out to the main road.

We were there just long enough to take a couple pictures
We retraced our route back to Te Kuiti for some fish and chips (side note: restaurants that serve both fish and chips and Chinese food are really popular here, seems weird to me) to keep us going before hitting the road again. We just kept driving and driving, looking for a good campsite. We have such a short time here, we didn't want to waste a night camping on a highway. We finally found a nice spot on the black sand beach in Mokau. It was a long day of driving!

Yes, Rory had quite a sunburn on his legs.

Friday March 6

I am so glad we pushed on yesterday until we found a good campsite. It was so nice to wake up this morning and be able to walk on the beach. The black sand seems much finer than normal sand and it is really soft. We were warned against swimming in the ocean because of riptides, but we found a little sheltered inlet for what is now our traditional morning swim.

After our walk and swim we headed back to the campervan for breakfast and the first tragedy of the trip occurred! The French press (or coffee plunger as they call it here) fell out of a high cabinet and broke. Emergency situation! I can't love without my coffee (even on vacation). Luckily it was easily fixed. I bought a coffee once we hit the road and then we bought a new French press later in the day in New Plymouth.

Once on the road, we headed south to Onaero Bay, our home base for race weekend. There was an intense rainstorm when we first arrived, but then it cleared and we got to play on the beach.

Later in the afternoon we headed into New Plymouth to find the previously mentioned French Press and to pick up my race packet. We were a bit early for the expo so we took a nice walk on a path along the water. The infrastructure here is amazing; there are wonderful biking, running, and hiking trails everywhere. 

The expo was quick and easy! Perhaps expo isn't even the right word to use. This is a tiny race, so it wasn't really an expo. It was just a hotel banquet room with a table for packet pick-up and a table for t-shirt pick-up. But it was well organized and everyone was really friendly, so it left me with a good feeling about the race.

Then we headed back to our campsite to whip up a pre-race dinner: chicken, risotto, corn, and of course, some New Zealand Pinot Noir.