Sunday, 22 February 2009

Another route and some additional equipment

Well, after some thinking the route that I originally planned, I missed out a couple of places of interest. Such as Hobbiton (near Matamata, Waikato), the skiing areas on Mt. Ruapehu (Whakapapa Village, Waikato), and the Huka Falls (Warakei, Waikato). These points were not in my previously planned route, and from what I heard pretty amazing. So hereby a new route in Google Maps (route).

This week also some investments were made in some garments to keep me warm in the cold and wet New Zealand autumn and winter, Icebreaker Bodyfit shirts! Actually these garments originate from New Zealand's Southern Alps, where the merino wool is 'growing' on the sheeps ;). And a Me˚ru' Glacier softshell will keep the wind and water from my body; love the Bever Zwerfsport bargains. For additional insulation I am considering to invest in another Icebreaker Sport 320 shirt, "nature's alternative to fleece", but first I'm going to test the Icebreaker garments that I currently have. I guess these garments are already pretty warm when cycling.

Aside of the garments, I also bought a couple of additional CompactFlash cards for my camera, not to run out of memory during my 2 month trip. I'll be taking about 14GB worth of Sandisk CF cards with me:
  • 1x 2GB Sandisk Ultra II
  • 2x 2GB Sandisk Extreme III
  • 2x 4GB Sandisk Extreme III
And no, will only take a single camera with me. When shooting raw with my Canon EOS 20D there 'only' fit about 210 photos on a 2GB card. So I'll have room for approximately 1470 photos .. that should be enough :p.

Friday, 6 February 2009

And then, an audience!

And then suddenly there were quite a number of readers on my blog, thanks to a small message on [1] February 3rd. This was the second time that I made it on the homepage of with a blog [2], last year in February it was because I started my Dutch blog [3].
Hiya everybody!! :D

And other news, my new flight-data have been confirmed by KLM. They unfortunately couldn't tell me if I could take my bike along, as this was still pending for the second stage (Kuala Lumpur - Auckland v.v.). However, the person I spoke to said it would be allright as for KLM (flying me between Schiphol and Kuala Lumpur) it was already acknowledged that I can take my bike. The request was still pending at Malaysian Airlines ... hope to hear something soon.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Planning around

Yesterday evening was playing a bit with Google Maps, and this resulted in a general route [1] that I would like to ride across New Zealand (approximately 3000 km). I'm planning on cycling from Auckland to Hamilton on a pretty scenic route that I will take from Nigel Rushton's "Pedallers' Paradise" [2]. In order to be able to ride on the South Island I intend to take the Intercity coach from Hamilton to Wellington, from there taking the ferry to Picton.
In the northwest part of the South Island I found a lovely route (the Heaphy track [3]) straight through the Kahurangi National Park [4], however after contacting the Department of Conservation (DoC) I found out that cyclists are not allowed in the national parks. Therefore I will have to cycle around the Kahurangi NP, but I'll try to get close enough for some nice photos ;-).
Next big 'attraction' will be the Franz Josef and Fox glaciers, taking me straight through the Westland Tai Poutini National Park [5]. I'm guessing that I need pretty good gear for the cold and wet weather out here .. but I guess the scenery will be worth it! From Haast I will go back east across the South Island, maybe taking a tour to Mount Cook, eventually making my way to Christchurch. After a days rest, the east coast will be followed up north back to Picton for the ferry to take me across Cook Strait for the rest of my trip across the North Island.
On the North Island I've decided that I should visit Napier for it's art deco style, just curious. After that taking on a couple national parks, Kaweka Forest Park and Tongariro National Park [6] to see if I can find a couple of cycling routes there. Then of course I'll have to pay a visit to Turangi and pass Lake Taupo on the westside making my way back up north to Rotorua. Here my focus will be on the geothermic activities in the region, and gradually moving closer to the airport.
However, I also planned to visit the Coromandel Peninsula, to see how much fun that is during the winter period. But if I run out of time earlier I might skip it and save it for another journey in a couple of years, as I have also decided to do with Fiordland [7] on the South Island.


Sunday, 1 February 2009

Argh! Grmbl! Not amused!

And again I have postponed my trip to New Zealand :grrr:. In a meeting last wednesday with my graduation-comitee I received the notification that my thesis wasn't yet good enough. Therefore my actual graduation had to be postponed to a later date than my fallback date of February 20th.
So, this means that also my flight on the 25th had to be moved to a later date ... argh! Grmbl!

However, as the flight couldn't be changed online, I phoned the KLM-office. The person I talked to said he could arrange the change in my flight, and also take care of my bike-transport in the same aircraft :). But now I am not changing again!!!

Outbound flight:
Amsterdam-Schiphol - Kuala Lumpur International (flight KL0809):
April 24th, 20:55 - April 25th, 15:00

Kuala Lumpur International - Auckland International (flight KL4113):
April 25th, 21:10 - April 26th, 11:20

Return flight:
Auckland International - Kuala Lumpur International (flight KL4112):
June 19th, 12:50 - June 19th, 20:15

Kuala Lumpur International - Amsterdam-Schiphol (flight KL0810):
June 19th, 23:05 - June 20th, 05:45

(all dates and time mentioned correspond to local time-zones).

This shift in departure-date has also a positive side, I've gotten more time to prepare everything for the trip. After reading another blog [1] the thought to ride on both islands has gotten back into my head, however I read a lot of contradictory information on transporting a bike by coach in NZ. And on the website of one of the largest coachliners in NZ I can't find any information on the transport of bicycles on coaches. Thus, another action on my to-do list before departure ...

That's all for now, hey!