Kaipra Harbour through the mistThe weather map could not settle. Over the past few days it has predicted fine thru to gale and storm warnings. By 10 am it had been dry all morning and while a bit windy the rain radar was blank so a decision had to be made.

11 am found me on the motor way and by noon I was waiting for Brian in Kumeu, just north of Auckland. Sadly in the agreed rendezvous car park I managed to drop the bike, not hard, just over balanced on completely dry and flat concrete. Luckily a very helpful chap ran from the cafe to help me lift it up.

Apart from my pride, which was pretty bruised, I'd broken one of the new and hitherto unused panniers. The plastic hook that stops it flapping in the breeze had broken and also a cosmetic but rather unsightly gash on the brushed aluminium. Much gnashing of teeth and wondering how the journey might be undertaken now. Cable ties?
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Read more: Dargaville

Only the startAn early start (again)  would have gotten us out of Dargaville very early but prudence prevailed and we had a muffin and coffee at the only open cafe. This was lucky as we took ages to find anywhere else long the road where this was an option.

The Waiphua Forest and Kai Iwi Lakes are terrific, the trees, the water, the roads and whole ambiance is so fabulous, if you've not seen these then you should. We took a couple of turn offs to the big Kauri tree and another to a forest watch tower. Both of these are very well done and you can't help but wonder if our leaders would be better to spend their time and our money on developing such facilities rather than passing new legislation aimed out allowing them to waste it telling us how good they are and why we should vote for the sods. (I wonder if this will infringe the new legislation, I hope so. Take me to court Helen!)

Our plan was to get to Kaitaia for lunch however we got to Rawene, some considerable distance short, just after 11:30, just missing the ferry so lunch was at the very excellent Boatshed cafe.

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Read more: The King

Maturui BayLet's be a bit back to front about today. Brian and I ended up at Waipu Cove after a long and exciting day running around Northland. Sitting in the local fish and chip shop (having a ham dinner, they'd run out of fish and had to be persuaded not to close and to give us something,anything, else!) a familiar face wandered in. It was my old friend Netti from the UK, looking for dinner, she's staying in a bach just down the road from us. This is a very small country!

Mangonui continued to improve this morning with a visit to the other restaurant for breakfast (coffee and scone). Lovely place sitting in the sun watching the world go by. We finally left and after chats with a lovely old lady from Wellington who's been living in town for 30 years and a couple of other folk we headed out of town.

Our first detour was out to the Maturui Bay an its nearby bays. This is a fabulous spot, truly awesome and well beyond my slender grasp of the english language to do justice to. Sadly as with the rest of the world the locals are working hard to bring it to others by installing a new sub-division and allowing a huge number of new houses to be built. No doubt once this is done the caravans will have to go as they will be lowering the tone of the place. Let's call this progress.

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Read more: Small country