Saturday, January 25, 2014

Coromandel Adventure with Julia and Chris

We haven't seen our friends Julia and Chris in Hamilton for over a year, so we dropped in on them when we were up north on holiday. They took us to the Coromandel to one of their favourite places, and somewhere we haven't been for several years. We went to check out New Chums beach - one of the more remote places you have to hike to. Very nice with Pohutakawa overhanging the beach. We did some snorkelling around the rocks, lots of fish and sea weed.
New Chums Beach

The walk around to New Chums beach

Unfortunately on Sunday the weather wasn't so great and headed back to Hamilton via Tairua and went for a short swim then checked out Waiere Falls on the western side of the Kamai Range. 

Chris, Julia, Helen and Aaron

Thanks for a nice weekend Julia and Chris... 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Pureora Timber Trail

A few years ago we did some riding in the Pureora Forest to the west of Lake Taupo. However, in the last couple of years there has been a lot of new trails built as part of the New Zealand cycle trail network. One of these new trails goes through the Pureora forest and is called the Timber Trail. It uses several old forestry roads and tramways and links them up, with a total distance of 84 km. You can do it in 2 days, with a lodge and campsite half way - but there was no room at the inn as the track has been pretty popular - so we had to ride it in one long day.... Fortunately the first 12 km are a gentle up hill and most of the rest of the ride it gently down hill. Nothing very technical - just a nice cruisy grade 2 ride. 
The start

The track goes through some old forest, some regenerating forest and some recently logged areas. They have also built some amazing long suspension bridges across some of the valleys. This is both spectacular and also saves you riding all the way down and then back up again... Thank you DOC.

One of the amazing suspension bridges

Aaron riding across the longest and highest bridge - 141 m across and 51 m high.

At the end of the track there is a feature called the Ongarue Spiral, where the old tramway goes over a bridge, through a tunnel and then under itself. A way for the train to go down something a little steeper.

The whole track took us 7 and a half hours... not too bad. Our bums were a little sore at the end of it, and we were tired. But it was a great ride - we will certainly do it again sometime.

Monday, January 20, 2014


Just before Christmas some friends of ours from Canberra, Susie and Patrick, got in touch with us and told us they were going to Rotorua to go mountain biking on holiday. So we used this as a great excuse to make the annual biking pilgrimage to Rotovegas, as well as catch up with friends. We spent 4 days riding over 30 km a day of the different tracks at Rotorua with Susie and Patrick and their friends Sam and Ben. The tracks even held up pretty well after a 24 hours of torrential rain. The kids - Max (11), Nikita (9), Josh (8), Mia (6) and Thea (6) all did really well. They improved a lot and rode as long as 20 km on some days.... I don't think I will be able to keep up with them all in a few years.  

We also made sure we dragged them to our favourite hot pools at Kerosene Creek.  
Relaxing in the warm waters of Kerosene Creek

We also couldn't go past checking out the mud pools....and the Aratiatia dam release... 

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Ohakune Old Coach Road

Last year Aaron rode the Old Coach Road with his friend Craig as part of a bike tour. But he loved it so much he took me back again. It is a nice ride on the edge of the Tongariro National Park between the farmland and the native forest, with a couple of old railway viaducts across some valleys to check out along the way. One way the track is 14 km, but we rode to the end and back - mostly down hill on the way back to Ohakune. 

We camped the night at the DOC campsite just inside Tongariro National Park at Mangawhero Stream, with amazing views of a pink Mt Ruapehu as the sun set.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New wardrobe

After many, many months we finally installed the wardrobe in our bedroom that Aaron has been building in his wood working class and the garage over Christmas. They say if you want perfection you have to be patient.... I have been very patient... and it has turned out great.

It was a bit of a brain tease to get the sections in to the house, down the corridor and around all the the corner in to the bedroom.

The cats also enjoyed helping out....checking out all the new draws and shelves.
Safi sitting in a drawer

Mifi sitting in the drawers

Mifi helping Aaron screw it all together

Another impressive piece of furniture built by Aaron.... now he needs to reclaim the garage from the sawdust and left over pieces of wood ;)