I spent the days between the 27th–30th October in limbo, in the space between countries, in between space and the earth. The only familiar things on the other side were the box with my bike, a modestly-sized rucksack and the four other people I was with. But at the same time, pedalling away from the airport on a just-reassembled bike, there was a familiarity to being in a new place, knowing little and having much to discover.
By the time we'd got to the city two of the five pannier racks had snapped and a third was threatening to. So a fair proportion of the three days in Auckland were spent sourcing and modifying replacements and ditching anything that could make our setups less overloaded.
With our two nights in the hostel up we were stuck with nowhere to stay, so at 6pm the trip began. From the city we took the ferry to the north shore of Auckland then rode into the suburban night until we found a patch of woodland dense enough to conceal our first night’s camp.
The next morning we rode on to Albany coach station. Three hours on a coach took us to Kerikeri, as far north as regular services go. The next morning we turned around and began pedalling south.
After 200km of riding around Auckland, away from Auckland and then back towards Auckland everyone was fed up. The hills and the rain made it physically tough. We were sticking to the main highway, buffeted by logging trucks in the day and camping among the same trees each night in an effort to get to the next place faster, without it being somewhere we were looking forward to seeing. I was taking few photos, in contrast to all the photos of amazing places that we’d browsed in the months leading up to the trip.
We each wanted to be doing something else. We each came to the realisation that the other four felt the same while taking respite from the rain in a holiday park in Whangerei. With consensus reached it did not take long to decide what the something else should be. The next day we got onto the coach heading back to Auckland to start afresh.