Day 9 – Whangamata to Mount Maunganui 100km

100km fully loaded. My longest ride yet with the front panniers. Yay!

A long day in the saddle. We got up early and was out by 8:20am. Daylight savings and a full campsite prevented any earlier departure. Luckily at that time, temps were cool and little to no wind.

First up were some winding rolling hills past Whiritoa. Then on to the major hill for the day. The climbing was fantastic: in the shade and a good steady gradient. The hill had two summits with a short decent in between.

First stop was in Waihi at 30km. Waihi which is a gold mining town. We scoffed down second breakfast and the other went for a look at the still operating open cut mine.

On departure of Waihi, we hit kiwi fruit country. The sides of the roads were lined with kiwi fruit orchards. I had never seen a kiwi fruit vine before.

Then we raced in to Katikati having knocked over 56km for lunch, making great time. The heat was really starting to crank and I needed an extended break. We were there about an hour before heading off for the remaining journey.

I had been told that the final 40 was going to be flat but it ended up being rolling hills. Going seemed very slow in the heat and with the busy traffic on the road. We ended up stopping with 20km to go at a roadside shop for an ice cream to try to cool down. It was a delicious real fruit ice cream and I also bought some biltong and droewors.

With about 15km to go, we hit the city of Tauranga. I was back in my element – city riding! Wanted to go to Bivouac in Tauranga but missed it by about 15mins. Opps.

So, we just followed signs to Mount Maunganui and arrived around 4:30pm. We are staying with relatives of Bill and Richard. They have a beautiful beach front town house with its own natural salt water hot spring spa in the backyard! FAR OUT! Private backyard hot spring! Of course, after dinner and gelato, the spa was filled and well utilised!

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