Another day, another wait for work. The entire hostel is climbing the walls as the season just won’t start. Feel back for the harvesters too – these fields are their income, and the later the season takes to start, the less money they can make. If the fruit hasn’t been picked by the start of June, it can’t be exported, and since that’s how they make their money, that’s bad news.
However, since I can’t take hanging round the hostel for yet another day, I’ve decided to hire a bike and head out exploring for once. There’s a regional park about 7km from Te Puke that’s been recommended I visit, so seems like a good sport to start. It’s not a great idea as even the shortest bike in the hostel’s garage is a little too tall for me, but I’ve tried walking the 7km to the park before, and it’s a little unnerving considering you spend most of it walking along a very busy main road. People keep stopping and offering lifts cause they assume you’re hitch hiking. At least with a bike you fit in, and it only takes half an hour to make it to the park.
The park is based around a small mountain which takes approximately 40 minutes to walk up, and lets me wander around a muggy forest while catching side of fields and the nearby towns as I head upwards. When I finally get close to the summit, I get a huge reminder of why people keep saying I would love New Zealand. The landscape is quite literally Scotland on steroids. Rather sad when another country can do your stereotype better than you can.
I end up eating lunch on the summit while I look around, and when I head down I decide to slip along one of the walking tracks which involves me intruding on a herd of sheep (who were not in the least bit enthused at having to get up and run from the scary backpacker) as I headed to get a better look at Tauranga – just a few more kilometres away by main road.
I was tempted to keep cycling and visit the town, but there’s heavy construction work on the road and frankly I’m not confident enough on a bike to risk it, so head back into town and go along the other road to see what I can find.
Distinctly less is the answer. There really isn’t a lot of towns or buildings in the nearby area, so I mostly cycle along roads and bridges and look at hoards of kiwi farms before calling it quits and cycling back to the hostel. I’ve at least seen more of the local area – to see more I either have to rope in a car owner or consider hitch hiking like everyone else at the hostel does (seriously, they even have ‘Te Puke’ signs you can borrow at the hostel for getting back!).