Miranda – Matama

It was a pretty easy ride today, ending in another hot spring in a holiday park at Matamata, Opal Hotsprings. Ending in a hot spring is a great way to travel!
Writing again from another hot spring is a habit I’m happy to get into. Today was a bit of a nothing day, 100ish km of flat, long, boring roads to Matamata. Matamata is probably most famous for being ‘Hobbiton’ in Lord of the Rings (or one of the many sets). The town itself is pretty vibrant with lots of young people out and about, always a good sign in a country town.
I’m staying in a holiday park, Opal Springs, this (like last night at Miranda) has its own hot springs. Lots of people to talk to and cook with, in the holiday park. People on the TA are extremely friendly, I guess everyone has something obvious in common.
It’s been interesting meeting other people just touring as well. One girl, in her early 20s, I met at Miranda had worked in the mines for a few years at Kalgoorlie and decided to do something different. Another guy, at Opal Springs, has taken two months between jobs to start at the top and cruise down the path, with lots of side trips. My biggest complaint so far is that the trip is a bit rushed, but the time I set up at night and cook there is very little time left to write, reflect, and work on a podcast …. A couple of months would be much better.


Mangakino – Waikato River Trail

After a night of rain things got slippery and steep … A lot of it is gorgeous singletrack, the parts that aren’t though are tight switchbacks on slippery rocks and mud at 15% grade, both up and down! Quite a bit of the mud was through recently clear-fell forests, not at all nice riding.
Mangakino is clearly a town that had suffered from the Covid shutdown, buildings were new but almost all businesses were closed down with fairly recent posters in the windows. There is unfortunately very little left in the town now. That evening many people had booked the only accommodation, an old hospital. Somehow I had missed this and it was full. Luckily there was a reasonable free DOC campsite near the lake, while the Midges and Mosquitoes also loved the lake view, the location was good.It even had a shower, cold water but when you are covered in mud it is still a shower!

I wouldn’t put this as my favourite part of the trip and would happily have skipped it.

The River Trail

The Map

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