A capital experience……..

CIMG8061My trail through Northland has given me a range of experiences to occupy my mind for months to come. A west coast route has taken me through Waipoua Forest, with its legendary giant Kauri trees. The biggest is Tane Mahuta, just 2 minutes walk from the road, towering over 52 metres high, with a girth of nearly 5 metres. These trees were much valued by bygone sailors, making perfect wooden masts for sailing ships, and producing the highly valued gum for making varnishes and paints.

The Save the Children volunteers of Dargaville gave me a royal welcome,

Save the Children, Dargaville

Save the Children, Dargaville

with the local press reporter waiting to take photos. As I hit the edge of town, a passing lady motorist stopped me saying she recognised me from a press article published days before I arrived. Wasn’t quite sure how to handle this local fame…….but I was delighted to be hosted by Brenda, a long-serving volunteer with the charity, in the large family house that she now occupied on her own.

As I pushed on towards Wellsford, I encountered my first stretch of flat landscape (almost fenland flat), but the advantage was quickly CIMG8090diminished by a bludgeoning headwind that almost brought me to a halt along a straight unprotected stretch. Then, when I hit the infamous SH1 (State Highway 1), life on the fast lane became a reality…..except the fast lane for me was the hard-shoulder (where it existed). It was a holiday weekend for Aucklanders, and everyone was on a mission to go somewhere……and in a great hurry.

But a quiet haven of a camp site, just outside Warkworth, provided respite from the motorized storm, meeting up once again with Ted, a fellow camper that I had encountered two days previously over 200 kms away. Ted and I had had a shared existence in education, but his latter years had been spent in Malawi teaching classics.CIMG8103

But what of the New Zealanders I have encountered? To say they are self-effacing is a serious understatement. I have been warned a multitude of times, by Kiwis themselves, that I should beware of the “ragbags” out there who will be determined to rob me of everything I own, even at a remote location like Cape Reinga. But all I have encountered, at every stage, has been friendliness and kindness, almost to a point of embarrassment. People have chased behind on the bike to thrust a $5 note in my hand for the charity. This afternoon, a car pulled up beside me at traffic lights and the driver pushed a handful of coins in my hand to buy myself a drink. The owner of the campsite last night insisted on giving me a plateful of food to tide me over till the morning. A woman, while we waited for a ferry crossing, wordlessly walked over and gave me a $20 bill. She never attempted to explain why she was giving it to me.

iew from the Flynn family home

view from the Flynn family home. Stunning!

Kiwis seriously need visitors to come and reaffirm a vision of themselves and their own country that some of them may have lost. They readily play themselves down when, on the contrary, there is an intrinsic caring integrity deeply etched in the character of the nation.

Oh yes, and what of the progress of my cycling venture? Well, as I hit the hectic outskirts of Auckland, I am almost 600 km into the 4000 km expedition, exhausted from the fatigue of constant climbing and debilitating temperatures, only to be welcomed with open arms by the Flynn Family, close friends of my brother Chris. I was whisked off to a family barbecue, a swim in the family pool with stunning views over the harbour, and a whistle-stop tour of downtown as the sun was setting. A huge thank-you to them for opening the gates of their city to me. And it needs to be said…….Auckland is a city of many surprises. Definitely worth a visit.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on January 27, 2013, in New Zealand End-to-End 3000kms and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. What a cool adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  2. Sounds as though you are having a great adventure Frank. New Zealand is an awesome place and the hospitality of the Kiwis is exceptional.
    Travel safely.

  3. Good work Frank! Enjoy your journey further south, and may the headwinds reverse course!

    • Seems I caught a tailwind yesterday coming along the Coromandel peninsula. Wonderful!

      • The Coromandel is really nice isn’t it? That’s a massive understatement, actually. We really enjoyed our time there on our first NZ trip. I bet there are some very enjoyable cycling roads there.

  4. Nice one Dad! Well done on the fundraising, the donations keep coming in! 🙂 Don’t forget to eat lots!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Matildas Musings

A blog written by Matilda - the "old lady" classic tandem - and her Musings about her adventures, trials and tribulations with the "old git" and Chief Pilot, aka Colin and the "old gal" and Chief Stoker (as well as Chief Engineer) aka Diane.

Fit Recovery

Stay Clean Get Fit

Northern Walker

Lightweight backpacking, hillwalking and bicycle touring adventures in Northern England and Scotland

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

All contents ©2018 Compass Cycles.

Bike 5

Five miles or less? Bikes are best!


KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change


On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news


Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living


The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child


Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs


................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: