February - April 2017
  • Day55

    Rotorua - Crankworx final day

    April 2, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 64 °F

    The closing of the Crankworx mountain bike festival fittingly marks the end of our time in NZ (just a day of travel before an early morning flight). The Air downhill race was the last event of 10 days of great mountain bike viewing. It was also a reminder about how cool, friendly, helpful and approachable the mtb community is, even the top pro's and it's great to be a part of it. People are keen to chat, offer lifts and generally enthuse about everything mtb.
    For once we went out for a meal in a small bar and were surrounded by the great/legends of our sport off duty. Not an ego in sight.
    New Zealand has been every bit as good as our time here 12 years ago, with a minimum of crossover - much of what we've done has been new to us. Considering we also spent two months here last time and still think there is plenty to see, it shows how diverse a relatively small country is. However, next time we will DEFINITELY bring our bikes!
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  • Day55

    Crankworx Rotorua

    April 2, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 59 °F

    After Wednesday's torrential rain and events postponed, the sun came out on Thursday and stayed out giving us four days of biking heaven! It has been an awesome event where there were biking disciplines we have only ever seen online so great to see live. Photos do not give the full scale of the size of the jumps, they are absolutely huge! There are not many events that you can go to where you can see 4 different competitions from the same spot on the hillside! There were so many stars from the biking world just wondering around and very friendly and approachable. One of the nights we were out we ended up by chance in the 'happening' place for all biker people/stars for a film preview. Adrian Loron (who came second in two events) has been staying all week in the same motel as us and is super friendly and down to earth. We did do some homework while here too as we had a workshop on suspension settings so its not all fun. Photo 1: Slopestyle. Photos 4 & 6: Downhill. Photo 2: Dual speed and style. Photo 3:Pump track challenge. Photo 5: Whip off!Read more

  • Day50

    Rotorua continued - EWS & Crankworx

    March 28, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 72 °F

    Hitched out to the EWS (enduro world series) and given a lift by event doctor and the top NZ enduro riders Mum. Hitching in NZ is normal and doesn't take long for someone to stop and help. Two race days were wet again which made the conditions pretty hard for the riders (and spectators on the steep muddy hillsides!). Great to see some top riders on the trails, their skill in the testing conditions was amazing.
    We also spent some time around Rotorua, when there was no biking obviously! There are many hot water and mud pools throughout the town, filling the air with steam and sulphur smells. New hot springs are emerging daily in the parks, roads and gardens. Generally the council stick some rocks on top to stop you walking over them and everyone gets on with it! There are also some beautiful buildings from the late 1800's.
    The Crankworx festival starts tomorrow with many of the top riders already in town, must admit to being a bit star struck....
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  • Day47

    Rotorua - EWS and Crankworx

    March 25, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 63 °F

    Caught a bus in Auckland for the 5 hour journey to Rotorua. Famous for hot springs, geysers and bubbling mud pools, there is a distinct smell of sulphur where ever you go. James is sat outside a supermarket with a full rucksack, eating a bread roll - small girl walks past with mother and says 'mummy, what's that tramp eating?'. Time for a shave and haircut??
    The main reason we are here is to catch a couple of mountain bike events in the town. Apologies for non bikers, the following may not be that interesting!
    We will be here for 10 days to watch the EWS (Enduro World Series) and attend the Crankworx festival. Both are staged at various stops around the world so we are very lucky, and VERY excited to have the opportunity to be here. Friday was a practice day whilst Saturday one of the race days for the EWS. Friday was also the official opening ceremony for Crankworx, with lots of speaches and a welcome from the local Maori tribe. As the stages are quite far apart, like a car rally, plenty of walking involved. It's great being a part of the mountain bike community again, where everyone chats and assists each other. We helped an injured rider on the course and a top 10 seeded rider picked us up on the road when we were hitching back into town - can't think of many sports that this would happen....
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  • Day44

    Back to Mangawhai Head

    March 22, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 70 °F

    On our way back South we had to go back to Whangarei to get another massive icecream, this time one scoop of raspberry and white chocolate and the other maple and walnut..... Needed a wander around the harbour after that lot. Had a look at more beaches along the way, stopping off for quite at one and watched more surfing lessons in very calm waters. Stopped at Waipu, more Scottish than Scotland. They are very proud of their ancestors who sailed here from the Highlands via Canada, due to the clearances. They have a Highland Games on New Years Day, a piper painted on the wall and a welcome sign written in Gaelic! We camped for the night again at the very peaceful house plot that belongs to a family we got to know last week.Read more

  • Day43

    Matapouri Bay

    March 21, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 66 °F

    Spent the day at this beautiful bay. The sea was so calm so there was no body surfing today, just swimming in crystal clear water. Before the tide came in too far we walked/climbed over the headland to the Mermaid Pool which was so clear and a lovely spot to swim and dive down. Back in the bay and at the other end there is a river inlet that also made for great swimming as the upper level of water was quite warm. After some bangers on the bbq we watched all the goings on of a wedding on the beach while taking another swim, hopefully we won't be in the background of their wedding snaps!Read more

  • Day42

    Tutukaka Marina

    March 20, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 66 °F

    We woke in the night and heard the unusual call of a female kiwi (but still yet to see one)! Rather than take the easy option of a ferry we took the long gravel road around to Paihia. It was like a stage of the World Rally Championship (the photo is the nice smooth section) that took about 45 minutes, passing only 3 truck like 4x4's.... Paihia had a nice but definite tourist town feel to it with helicopters buzzing out over the bay. Yet another good spot for a picnic and swim. Went the 100m out to the swimming platform so James could perfect his back flips off it and I could perfect my dive bombing technique! As we loved the Tutukaka coast so much we decided to head back down this way to spend longer exploring here.Read more

  • Day41

    Bay of Islands

    March 19, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 66 °F

    Our campsite was next to the longest footbridge in the Southern Hemisphere and it certainly is long! Took the longer and winding road to Russell via some lovely calm bays, overlooking headlands and islands. Took a swim and had a picnic at Kaimarama Bay and Hauai Bay, both at the head of the Bay of Islands. Saw a big stingray swimming along the shore at the sleepy historic town of Russell before stopping for the night at Orongo Bay.Read more

  • Day40


    March 18, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 68 °F

    Headed for the Tutukaka Coast road and found a bit of paradise! The tide beat us this time while we tried to walk a short estuary to get to Kukutauwhao Island so we could see the lighthouse. Matapouri Bay was a gorgeous spot for trying out some body surfing in the crashing waves before using the councils bbq to cook our chicken kebabs on. There are a number of bays here to choose from but we chose Woolleys Bay to visit next before taking a gravel road to Whananaki for the night. We couldn't resist a swim in the campsite pool before setting up the tent. A fun evening chatting with NZ/American couple after debating Brexit with an Ex-pat.Read more

  • Day39

    Around Whangarei

    March 17, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

    The campsite manager did such a good job of explaining all the local places of interest that we stayed another night so we could explore them. By just driving through the town you would not have an idea of all it has to explore so were thankful for his advise. We were able to walk from campsite and it turned into one of the longest walks we have done! The 22m imressive waterfall was set in a basin and we followed the river along thick tropical rainforst right at the edge of the town seeing some examples of huge Kauri tress that are very important to the Maori culture until we got to the town basin. The 6km walk around it had some intersting art sculptures as well as a group of drama boys rehearsing the Hakka. Visited some more Botanical gardens that had a fern and cacti house in town. All that walking meant the huge ice cream we had was a welcome treat although the walk back was a bit hard going...Read more