New Zealand

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There’s only one bit of travelling that I really don’t enjoy, and that’s the travelling part.

OK, to be more specific it’s the getting packed and getting there bit.

I don’t know how the last 36 hours of your life have gone, but this has been mine.

Friday: get up at 6am, install new brake pads and two new tyres on Goldie (my old, old, old mountain bike which has been brought out from under the house for this trip due to the fact that you can no longer buy a decent mountain bike with braze ons for touring), take bike to bits and get into bike bag.

Put all other gear strewn around the house in light weight bag.

Wonder what you have forgotten.

Panic. After days of culling gear down, randomly throw things into bag that look vaguely useful (I’m now looking at four waterproof bags, a foldable backpack and a carry bag – all last minute additions – and thinking – really?).

Weigh bag and bike. Cringe. Send Kim text message saying “hope your bike gear is under the limit”.

Put gear into car, swear when bag rips when you pick it up. Transfer all gear into another stronger bag … and wonder how much that has just increased your bag weight.

Drive into town, return library books and get new library books to read on trip (again sigh inwardly as you wonder why you’ve just bought a new kindle and yet still want to take library books), buy $60 wireless bike computer, drop into work, drop off bike and gear, drive home.

Arrive home 11am, do last minute clean, turn everything off, try and get some outstanding work done before bus comes at 11.42am (hope this mornings bus strike doesn’t delay bus).

11.25am … Watch as bus drives past up hill. It’s early!!!! Panic again. Madly finish work, shut down computer and run out door.

Stand around for 15 minutes waiting for the bus which comes down the hill slightly late.

Get on bus, get two minutes down the road and remember that the library books and more importantly the $60 bike computer you bought for this trip are still sitting in the house.

Swear inwardly. Consider option … remember there is a bike computer on road bike at work, decide to ransack that.

12.10pm arrive work for second time, grab road bike, remove bike computer and spend 15 minutes online trying to figure out how to change it for tyre size. Give up, grab 40kgs of luggage distributed between 3 bags and a bike bag and waddle the 200 metres down to the bus pick up.

Wait 20 minutes.

Finally bus arrives, and head to airport.

1.30pm arrive airport, walk in door and think to self “hmmmm … those are very long lines, lucky I’m here early.”

Despair as announcement then immediately comes over speaker about a cancelled Jetstar flight. Rush to departures board to see that every Jetstar and Qantas flight so far today had been cancelled as has one tiger flight.

Think “Oh sh*t”.

Call Kim, get in line, cross fingers, ask if anyone knows what’s happening (they don’t), check online, nothing. Figure there is nothing to do but check in. Don’t get charged excess baggage despite havering 65kgs of checked luggage between us. Big Yay.

2pm: good news, our fight is delayed, but not cancelled (yet) finally check in, go to departure room (get bomb tested again).

Sit around and wait for two hours.

Plane leaves an hour late, but it does leave. Yay.

Sit in Melbourne Airport for 6 hours with all luggage as Jetstar don’t check through. Whilst moving bikes into lift at airport Kim (in flip flops) rips off her big toe nail by dropping bike across it.

Kim not very happy. Tensions rise and we both get a bit snippy. Get bomb tested … again. Finally get on flight and taxi off runway at midnight.

Worst flight in history: just a normal domestic Jetstar plane with tiny seats, no leg room and the plane is like a sauna. Actually felt quite nauseous for a while.

Arrive in Auckland 5.45am (3.45am our time). Get through customs without too much trouble (have to pull bikes and tents out of bag and have the tent taken away and inspected, but expected that),

Get onto 6.30am airport bus, take it right to the end and then carry bikes and all our luggage 300-400 metres to Pier 4 where we are to get onto a ferry at 8.45am.

Wait for another hour and a half. Luckily find a coffee shop with decent coffee and wi-fi so get to watch Auckland city wake up which was cool. Take it in turns nodding off at the coffee shop.

Somewhere during this period realise just how much I stink after travelling for 24 hours and that sauna plane.

8.15am move to ferry terminal. Wait. Get told to go to one entryway, then a different one. Have to move through a large crowd to get there with all gear and nobody helps. Decide I hate all humans and they are stupid.

Finally get on ferry, and enjoy two hour trip to Coromandel.

So tired now that when Kim asks me a question I fall asleep and dream that I answer it only to wake back up and realise that she’s still looking at me waiting or an answer.

Carry bikes off ferry to bus.

At coromandel town find that free complimentary transfers to hotels doesn’t include our caravan park, so have to lug bikes and all luggage 500 metres up the road. Kim has had enough (her foot is killing her) so I carry bikes as she drags the bags up the road behind her.

11.50am finally arrive at our accommodation.

Shower (yes), eat, sleep and then unpack bikes, put everything back together, check it, transfer gear into bike bags.

Finally, the holiday can start.

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