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07.11.2019 Planning ahead. We tend to keep the planning stage before a trip extremely short, feeling that things will only really start to develop and probably be quite different once we get to the places and see them with our own eyes plus have the chance to discuss ideas with locals. We mostly agree on a distant destination and then make rough plans for one or two days in advance as we go, and sometimes we cycle for most of the day without knowing where we will eventually spend the night. This way of travelling leaves enough room for adventure and positive surprises. On Tuesday, for example, we could finally load our bikes (… with ALL our luggage, yay!) and cycle out of Auckland. In fact, it took us more than 40 km to really leave the city and its suburbs behind us. In the evening we reached Pukekohe, where there was no campground or hostel available, and we were more or less aimlessly riding through the streets when we suddenly came across a group of local scouts having a race with little wooden toy cars they had built together. We talked to their leaders and were spontaneously invited to spend the night in their scout home – which we happily did. Thanks again to the Pukekohe scouts, who were so extremely kind and helpful. And yesterday, the plan we had made shortly before became futile when we realised that a missing ferry connection, the demanding elevation profile and some challenging gravel roads would make it impossible to reach the hostel we had wanted to stay at within one day. This time a friendly lady at a cafe offered us to pitch our tent on their extensive property, where two more cyclists had already taken refuge. So we went on a great little bush walk near the cafe in the evening, and this morning we woke up in its splendid garden – an experience we could not have planned from home. In the next few weeks, we will cycle further south, towards Wellington, eager to see how our route will unfold, and what else is in store for us.

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