Guest Writer: James Moss ~ Cycle Far
Check out more of James’ adventures at CycleFar.com!
“I’ve been living in New Zealand for the last 18 months following a cycle tour from England. I didn’t cycle all of the way but rode a comfortable selection of about 25 countries along with my partner Ellie. Ellie had recently spent 6 months in New Zealand but for me it was the first time.
The initial introduction was very unfortunate. Upon arriving at Auckland International Airport our bikes were stopped and searched. We were found carrying a small container of methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) that we used to fuel our Trangia cooking stove and fined NZD 500! Had it been a bottle of Vodka (a perfectly adequate fuel substitute for our Trangia) in a delicate glass bottle with a leaky lid we would have been fine, but denatured undrinkable alcohol in a super durable plastic container with safety lid is in violation of the aviation safety laws.
Delayed by hours of arguing and messing about with manual credit card payments we finally arrived on New Zealand soil in the middle of the night. We cycled out of the city late into the night until we came to our first suitable wild camp site and with very little conversation we set up our tent by torchlight and quickly fell asleep.
Because we pitched the tent in the dark I had no idea what vista lay outside the tent that morning. Groggy from mild sleep deprivation I caught glimpses of the early morning sunlight hitting the top of the tent and gradually creeping down the sides illuminating the inside. You can’t ignore the day night cycle when camping, there’s no option other but to conform. It was clearly going to be a bright and sunny day, the air was fresh and cool and reluctantly I felt myself waking.
I unzipped my tent and gazed in astonishment. We were up on a hill in a field looking out over a maze of small rugged hills, verdant gullies and farmland.
A quick look at the map indicated that to get to New Plymouth, Taranaki we just needed to head South. Over the next five days we passed small mountain ranges, black sand beaches, valleys with fast flowing rivers and eventually arrived at the foot of Mt. Taranaki, a perfectly symmetrical and charismatic volcano that watches over the peaceful coastal towns that surround it, one of which is New Plymouth, my home.” James~ CycleFar.com