182km - 2hrs : 58min
A pleasant enough night at our free camp. Despite the late arrival of a couple of young German lads who managed to bog their car in the sandy approach. Fortunately we were already ensconced in our tents so some fellow German travelers had to provide the muscle and obligatory cursing and laughter.
A short day! It just happened that way. We knew our destination - Whangaparaoa. Friends of M & U, Sebastian & Barbara who expecting us later today.
Pre departure route planning suggests a couple of coastal loops, avoiding as much of Highway 1 as practical.
The best laid plans etc.
Back out towards Whangarei and Highway 1. A short blat down the highway to Waipu where we turn back to the east coast and head for Mangawhai Heads. More good riding on quiet secondary roads.
The planning session had included a second loop on the coast. Unfortunately a critical turn was missed. Despite the fact I had positioned myself immediately after the left turn in a visible and prominent position, neither M or U saw me, and turned the wrong way. I chased them down Highway 1 until we caught up at Warkworth. To late to turn back so we continue on towards our destination, leaving the highway at Waiwera and stopping at Mahrangi RP for afternoon coffee.
A few more short km through suburbia and we reach our hosts address. I set up camp in the garden, while M & U get the spare room. An afternoon walk down to the beach turns exciting as we come upon a house with its roof belching smoke and visible flames. Call the fire brigade and join with neighbours in trying to convince the female occupant that this was a serious fire & she needed to leave! She seemed a little vague and said it was an oven fire that she had extinguished and that everything was under control. No way....
3 fire engines, 3 cop cars including an unmarked vehicle, a fire brigade car, an ambulance plus a vehicle from the electricity authority - a big turnout!
Out with our hosts for dinner at the Thai Classic Restaurant. Yum! Added bonus of great views across the Hauraki Gulf to the Coromandel Peninsula where Celeste waits my arrival tomorrow.