We spent a quiet day in Auckland city centre after our flight arrived. Dave has been ill for a few days so it was a case of conserving energy and resting up.
Randal from Auckland Motorbike Rental came to collect us from the lovely Skycity Grand Hotel this morning and drive us 45 minutes to the coast to collect the bike. He was a friendly, chatty guy with more than 10 bikes in his garage. We were well prepared and managed to load up the bike in 30 minutes, with all the camping gear fitting in very easily, almost too easily. We have rented a Yamaha Super Tenere this time,as Dave wants to try it out with a view to trading in the Ducati in Hong Kong for something Japanese that is cheaper to maintain.
It was a brilliant blue sky day. The temperature was perfect. We rode along the coast from Maraetai to Thames, at the foot of the Coromandel Peninsula, where we stopped for tea.
The people were amazingly friendly and welcoming. Everyone raves about the road to Coromandel Township and warned us about the narrow, twisty bends. The road hugs the coast, right alongside the beach. It was really beautiful but we experienced a heavy shower and the sea turned grey for a while.
As we ascended up the mountain, the views down to the coast where stunning. It reminds me a bit of Ireland but the weather is much better and the flora is very different, in fact, unlike anything I have seen before.
The campsite at Long Bay is right on the beach. We pitched our tent about 15m from the water’s edge.
It became quite busy in the afternoon with locals swimming in the sea and relaxing. The atmosphere was good but much improved when only the campers were left at the end of the day. We cooked and fell asleep in the sunshine.
The time difference compared to Hong Kong, at this time of the year, is 5 hours, which works out well for us as the jet lag means we are able to stay awake till 10pm or later and get up as late as 8am. Like normal people.
First day review of the bike. Dave thinks it lacks power and is too heavy. I think it sounds like a tractor but it’s very comfy for a pillion. It is hard to get on when the side boxes are fitted though. Not very dignified.
The first night in the tent was not great as my body has to get used to it. I kept waking up with painful shoulders and turning over. I do love being in the tent though. There is something magical about getting into you nightie and snuggling down into the sleeping bag, while hearing the sound of the sea outside.
We went into town for a big breakfast, rather than cook and made contact with the internet.
We had planned to have an active day involving a walk but the weather closed in and it rained most of the day. It was fairly warm though. We stayed around the campsite reading and cooking and Dave had several naps.
Just as it looked like a totally uneventful day, magical happened just before bedtime. The sky began to slowly turn orange, then more orange and then some more (no filters or photoshop).