The photo directly below was the last taken on my cycle trip through the North Island. Just before Upper Hutt, in the Akatarawa ranges. The previous two weeks were full of family and friend meetings and reunions, hard but enjoyable cycling and constant suprises regarding the scenery, people and general vibe of New Zealand.
I left Toon and Gijs in Hamilton, ending the "Three Musketeers" partnership we had formed. The two of them were looking for some farm work and I decided to press on south. A gradual uphill, remote road for towards Lake Taupo was my companion for two days, and was glad to be rid of it when I first saw the great lake. Relatives looked after me in Taupo and Napier, to the east.
Art-deco Napier waterfront
On the way south, along the east coast of the North Island, I once again used couchsurfing to meet new people and find a place to stay for the night. After a few hair-raising experiences on the gorge road over the central ranges toward Palmerston North, I continued south, now on the west coast, toward Wellington.