So we had an amazing time in Hong Kong with Helen, Richard, Robert and Beth. We did loads of sightseeing, walking around, drinking and eating. Jim enjoyed an extensive tasting of craft beers for a birthday treat, and I tried everything on offer at the three nearest bakeries to our hotel. We had such a lovely week, topped off with a trip to Marks and Spencers for some percy pigs, a little taste of home.

Top tip for cycle tourists in Hong Kong, there is a service like uber but with vans called gogovan and its super cheap and easy for transporting bikes in boxes and all your luggage around Hong Kong.

But soon we had to pack up and go to the airport, enjoy a very cheap macdonalds and a 5 hour wait (no delays, I’m just super worried about missing flights), and head over to New Zealand. Our two flights and longish connection at Sydney were OK but nothing special, although Jim was pretty excited to get to fly on a jumbo jet. And after so much faff cleaning our bikes and kit, customs was a breeze. They only wanted to see the tent!

We got to our hostel and unpacked the bikes, ready to set off first thing. Of course we slept in (slight jetlag), but were soon on the road. The suburbs of Aukland are SO like England, its green, hilly and cloudy, and we can read all the signs and talk to people! It’s been reminding us of Scotland and the lake district a lot.

We found our new favourite supermarket, and it’s fully stocked with anything we could need, although a bit more pricy than Asia, then got out in to the countryside. Big rolling hills, proper hills, and green fields everywhere. It’s very scenic. We headed east, towards the coromandel peninsula, and found a freedom campsite behind a library where we could camp for free. Nothing fancy but very nice! We are seeing a ton of tourists in campers.

After a rainy night we cycled across the plains to the coast, stopping at Thames for another supermarket visit. Then we headed north, on a windy and rolling road hugging the coastline, with an incredible view of the sea and the opposite coast. We had three big climbs, which I felt very out of practise for, but which had amazing views over the island from the top. Everything is just so beautiful here! We were rewarded with a long descent into Matarangi, where we are lucky enough to have been invited to stay with our friend Mark’s parents and get to catch up with Mark and Helen, who are visiting from LA.


Jim’s words: Beer, Terrapin, Birthday, Jumbo, New Zealand, Steep and Camper Vans.