Day 23: Riding Whangarei to Opua

Today was my last ride for the trip, I felt a bit sad about it coming to an end, so I rode slowly and took two breaks along the way. It was quite windy for parts of it, so I probably couldn’t have gone any faster, even if I tried. image

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Mini Stone Henge

Lili’s Cafe was a nice place to stop at the 24km mark, where I indulged in some pumpkin and kumara soup with a jumbo mocha.

image   Overall, the road wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had expected, there was one section of roadwork, and only the last 7km had signs saying “Slow down, high accident zone”. It appeared that most people were going in the opposite direction and there wasn’t much traffic anyway. I originally planned to go to Paihia, a touristy part of the Bay of Islands, but I was staying at a homestay for a week in Opua, 5km away.

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I signed up for WWOOF, World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, where volunteers can work a few hours a day in exchange for meals and accommodation. My host, JP, is a French guy with two young, tri-lingual kids (Linus and Willow), who all welcomed me right away. After my bike ride and shower I was offered freshly squeezed juice and sat on the couch to watch Octonauts with Linus, while he gave me slices of mandarin. Hearing a flurry of languages was interesting, although I might have agreed to get my face painted, I believe demain is French for tomorrow. For the next week, this humble little cabin will be my home, a welcome break from the hostels and noise. image

It’s cuter from the inside, I didn’t even mind crashing on the couch, but then I looked up and realised there was a loft bed! This totally makes up for the lack of bunk beds and tree houses in my childhood. There was also a heater to keep me nice and warm, plus a TV and a stack of books and DVDs.

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Just before sunset we drove to Opua Forest to check out the Kauri trees, unfortunately there aren’t many of them left, because the wood is so useful. There’s a 2000 year old tree in the Northland here too, so I hope to visit it before I go.

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Next was dinner time! It’s a very healthy household with vegetarian and organic food, so I really appreciated the change from my less than desirable eating habits on the road. For dessert we had chocolate ice cream, with frozen bananas instead of dairy, a good old trick I learnt back in Tonga. I’m confident that this week is going to be amazing…

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Even the flower was tasty, with a hint of pepper

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