We spent the past 17 days on an incredible road trip of New Zealand’s North Island with Maritia, Steve, Jade, Rhys and Emme. Maritia devised a great itinerary, with the help of New Zealand Tourism, which took us across the Coromandel Peninsula to the east coast, through to Rotorua and on to Hawkes Bay and Wellington, then north again past Mount Taranaki to Waitomo and back to Auckland, via Maramata. It was 17 days of wonderful sights and experiences for us all, and much fun with the family.
Mount Eden at sunrise
Ferry and wandering around Devonport
Driving Creek Railway and views of Hauraki Gulf
Cathedral Cove & Hot Water Beach
Te Puia: Cultural centre, crafts institute, geysers
Redwoods Tree Walk
Bike ride in Hawkes Bay
Te Papa Tongarewa – Museum of New Zealand, Wellington
Auckland Sky Tower
We have now flown to Queenstown on the South Island to see a bit more of New Zealand over the next couple of weeks, before finally heading home. We will be back on our bikes tomorrow to begin cycling from Queenstown to Dunedin, following the Queenstown Trail and Otago Rail Trail.
We are on the traditional territory of the Yuggera People
It was a relaxed final day, with no highway cycling, the end of our 1155 km bike trip in Australia, nearly 800 kms for Wayne.
The ride began with a stop at Shorties Espresso, just down the road from the hotel. To avoid the highway, we followed the CycleWayz route from there, which took us up to the Daisy Hill Conservation Area, with a view of the Logan Valley, eventually winding our way down on to Miles Platting Road and back on the V1 Cycleway. On the path, we met David, whose bike was set up to carry three of his grandchildren, with modifications planned to accommodate two more! He showed us a photo of when he transported a washing machine on his bike…..
The V1 into the city was dedicated cycle path, large sections of which are a three metre-wide path adjacent to the Pacific motorway, a little noisy perhaps, but a joy to cycle on. Arriving at South Bank, we cycled across the uniquely-designed pedestrian/cyclist Goodwill Bridge, stopping to take some celebratory photos, and on to our hotel on the Queen Street mall.
Our time in Brisbane was too short, but fun. We took in some live jazz at the Do-Bop Jazz Bar; had coffee and a mini-tour of South Bank, the bridges and the Botanical Gardens with our friend Sharon’s sister, Allison, and her husband, Tony; visited the Museum of Modern Art; and went out for a Japanese meal and interesting evening with Di and John, friends of Isabel.
With our bikes packed up once again, we left Brisbane for Auckland yesterday. We have so appreciated this brief introduction to Australia, its extremely friendly and welcoming people, excellent food and wines, endless beaches, towering eucalyptus trees, multitude of national parks, the allure of the outback, perfect cycling weather and an inexhaustible supply of good espresso. Paul’s list of Australian birds reached 73.
We are taking some time off in New Zealand to vacation with our Victoria family, who are meeting us here tomorrow. We expect to be back blogging about the final weeks of our trip after August 24.
Coffee notes: Black Lab Coffee – good 8.75/ 10 espresso from Locale. Their No 143 is a blend from Tanzania, Colombia and India.
We are on the traditional territory of the Bundjalung Nation
We are staying in City of Logan. “The acknowledgement and acceptance that Logan has a vast and rich indigenous and cultural history, enhances our commitment to reconciliation and gives us a deeper understanding of our past“ (City website).
As we three were leaving Crema Espresso, we were cheered on by Jeff Downes. Also an avid (boomer) cyclist, he was eager to mention us on Facebook. We will be looking at his website.
The route turned inland through Southport and the waterways of the Goldcoast hinterland, past subdivisions with moorings, backing onto the water. Then, we were into small towns and industrial estates close to the M3 Motorway. Near Beenleigh, we could smell the rum distillery, a byproduct of the sugar cane industry. The town square in Beenleigh was a quiet respite, where we ate pastries from the mall bakery beside the fountain in front of the courthouse.
We are now cycling on the Veloway 1 (V1 Cycleway), which follows the M3 and M1 motorways between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. Today was a combination of dedicated bike paths and in-road bike lanes, but we expect more off-road cycling as we get closer to Brisbane. We were pleased to find that every roundabout intersection on this route has a paved cycle path around the perimeter, making it safer and easier to get around (ie, just crossing each exit, rather than cycling in the roundabout, something we would rather avoid.)The one exception was the large, very fast roundabout accessing the motorway (M1) at Beenleigh. There appeared to be a bike path between exits for cyclists going north-south, but not the other way. Tomorrow will be our final day cycling in Australia!
On Wednesday’s blog, we forgot to mention meeting Barry, another cyclist keen to chat about touring. Barry cycles on a recumbent bike which he swears by.
We are on the traditional territory of the Yugambeth People of the Bundjalung Nation
We followed the Tweed Cycle Way alongside and across the Tweed River, which took us under and then up and over the Pacific Highway. From the path, we could see Wollumbin (previously Mount Warning), an old volcanic plug.
In Tweed Heads, we turned off on Dry Dock Rd for breakfast at Next Door Espresso. Sitting outside in the sun, we enjoyed very good Byron Moonshine espresso (8.75/ 10) and scrambled eggs on sourdough (with an added side of avocado, of course). Further along, we stopped at a small park on the water for another view of Wollumbin, then turned down Boundary Road, the boundary line between the states of New South Wales and Queensland. A quick selfie to mark the completion of our 1000+ ride through NSW, followed by a very short, but steep, climb and we were at Point Danger (named by Capt. Cook) and Snapper Rocks. This area is famous for its wave and consistent surf, but there were few surfers in the water today.
As we passed inland to Burleigh Head National Park, we came across the Jellurgal Cultural Centre, “Jellurgal” being the indigenous name for the headland. We could not take advantage of a guided tour of the Park, but walked through the cultural exhibit of the life and times of the Yugambeh People.The Yugambeth, who comprise a number of tribes/ clans which are part of the Bundjalung Nation, are the traditional custodians of the land located in south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales. The most telling phrase on the wall of the centre was “We are still here”.
The remainder of the ride to Main Beach was fairly flat on bike/ pedestrian paths, quiet streets or separated bike lanes. After so many awe-inspiring vistas of endless unspoilt beaches on this trip, we were a bit disconcerted to see high rises further up the coast! As we approached Surfers Paradise, the coastal path and beaches were busier, with cyclists, pedestrians, surfers and sunbathers. A beach market was not yet open much to Lois’ disappointment. We could imagine what this coast must be like in the height of summer, but just now it is relatively quiet and low key.
Meeting up with Wayne again, the three of us went out for tapas (and Tiramisu!) at Bistro Chico. We are taking a day off to enjoy some beach time and rest in our 15th floor holiday apartment facing Main Beach, before our final two days into Brisbane.