November 14th, 2008 – by: Rubbertoe
The oldest church in NZ
During the following days I set my self the target to reach Cape Reinga and drive back down the west coast to Auckland. There is a lot to see and I was also eager to put Betsy to the test. She’s amazing! I was so pleased to find out how well she runs and how little she drinks, I could almost cover 600km with one tank of petrol, cost $60ish nzd. Old Bella was doing 240km for $80 aussie dollars! The only disadvantage is that with a small 1.8 litre engine Betsy does take her time climbing up the hills, but it gives me more time to admire the beautiful panoramas, and believe me I have been left with my mouth open several times.
The roads in NZ are simply fantastic.
They twist and wind up steep hills through magnificent green forests, and when you reach the top you’re rewarded with miles and miles of beautiful green rolling hills under a clear blue sky, as long as it’s not raining, and it does rain a fair bit unfortunately. I did wish I was riding a motorbike on a few roads, leaning into corners, blasting the throttle on the straight stretches and dodging dead possums. Never mind hey, I’ll have to come back another time for that.
Just a short ferry ride from Paihia, is the small town of Russell, allegedly the first place in New Zealand to be permanently settled by Europeans.
I jumped on the ferry with Mike, my foldable bike, and went for a little spin. I couldn’t help feeling chuffed with the purchase of Mike; when folded you can take him anywhere, on the ferry, train, bus, up an elevator, in a dorm room, etc. and he takes up very little space yet he’s a proper size bike when assembled. Three cheers for Mike, hip, hip… So useful, I might buy one when I return home.
Russell is very small and charming, rich in history. I visited the Museum, the oldest Church in New Zealand with a bullet hole (I couldn’t find) and some pretty old tombstones in the graveyard, the Flagstaff Historic reserve and Long Beach, where you can have a swim. There are millions of B&B, a few coffee shops and several restaurants. It was a nice day and I had spent the previous night in the car, justifying a treat for lunch, so I had a bloody good fish and chips at Sally’s overlooking Kororareka Bay.