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20/01/31, Day 7, Matamata to Mangakino

So after al frustrations yesterday I decided to take things easy today. I set my aim at reaching Mangakino today, which would be about a 90k ride. Some 5k from the route there was also the Hobbiton movie set, so after consulting with my little brother (who is actually not so little) on wether it was worth visiting, I decided to give it a try. 

So I reached Hobbiton around 0800 and got to join the first guided tour. And I must say that it was actually way nicer than I expected. The landscape is beautiful and with the Hobbit holes it is all pretty idyllic. I had feared the very touristy nature of it a bit, but because I was on the first tour there were not too many tourists around…

It was a nice break from riding, but it also meant that It took about 2,5 hours out of my riding day. At around 1100 I still had about 85k to cover. By then the wind had also picked up again, so progress was slow. After about 10k I picked up the Waikato River Trail to which I had been looking forward a bit: a nice leisurely flat gravel path along the river. That was only in my mind though 🙂 it turned out to be a pretty rough up and down mountain bike trail. So at the first opportunity I left it to just follow the road. Later on I picked the trail up again in the hope it would have improved, but it was just as bad. I really should have read into this stuff before coming here… so much for preparation 🙂

On the trail I met Katy, a Californian Cyclist. She actually mentioned that the 52k of trail up ahead was going to be even tougher. And the tour Aotearoa actually said that heavily loaded tour bikes should avoid this section. So we plotted a detour. After that I had lunch at Arapuni and she continued. I caught up with her a little while later while she was shaking fresh plumbs out of a tree, which was a nice treat 🙂 

We rode the rest of the day together, which was a nice distraction. She’s here for a year and follows the same route as I do. She left Auckland around the 21st, so here speed is a bit more sane than mine is. I should take it as an example though. In total I rode 110k with again 1500 meters of climbing. Just got to camp well after 700. Luckily days are long.

After diner Katy mentioned that the tour Aotearoa facebook group mentioned a closed bridge on our route tomorrow. Thank god for Katy. It means I am going to take a more direct route to the start of the Timber Trail, skipping some rough tracks and some climbing. There’s multiple points where I can break up my ride and camp, so I’m just going to take it slow. 

Good day today 🙂



I like my sunrises 🙂


Great slight foggy morning!


Overlooking the shire haha


It is a scenic place though. They put a lot of effort in maintaining it…



Bag end…



It’s like cattle herding, but then with tourists. Being the first on there meant there were not too many tourists around though…



Crazy rover trail. I’m obviously not kiwi enough to take tracks like these…


Cycling across a suspension bridge from 1924, quite wobbly 


New Zealand is quite hilly…



Katy speeding up the hill! She’s strong!



Crossing some gorge…


And we ended the ride with riding through forests, which is my favorite 🙂 

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