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10.11.2019 Good conditions. Today has been a very rainy day, but we decided beforehand that we would make it a day of rest. So instead of cycling, we relaxed at the cosy hostel and later went on a three-hour guided tour to two caves near Waitomo. In one of them, a boat took us up and down an underground river so we could admire thousands of stunning glowworms, whose fishing threads only appear in torchlight. Down there, we were not affected by the rain at all. Before, we had ten days of sunny spring weather, with mild or even hot temperatures – just perfect for cycling, outdoor meals and camping. Admittedly, the roads here can be a little challenging. They zigzag up and down the rolling hills and often come as bumpy, slippery gravel roads. Coarse gravel makes our tail-heavy bikes serve, so we have to concentrate well, shift our weight and keep the speed low. Unfortunately, the gravel has already claimed a victim: We have lost Addy's speedometer, which must have fallen off its bracket on one of the rough roads. But these roads take us to fantastic places, with green pastures and grazing sheep and cattle everywhere, and now and then a waterfall, cave or natural stone bridge just off the road.  Navigation is also rather easy, as there is often only one main road leading somewhere, while most turn-offs are marked as dead ends. Inhabited places are rare out here, but when we stop to ask for water or directions at remote homes, people will readily help us out and chat a bit. One evening we arrived all dusty, sweaty and tired at Oparau Roadhouse and were welcomed by the owners, Brenda and Bill, who run a filling station, general store and freedom campsite there. Their bicycle fence scared us for about a second, as we wondered what might have happened to all those cyclists. But Brenda and Bill are just the sweetest and most hospitable kind of people who have simply found a way to make their place in the middle of nowhere a bit more interesting and attractive. So if you ever pass by, make sure to pay them a visit. #scoutbound #newzealand #neuseeland #waterfall #bridalveilfalls #waitomo #glowworms #cave #naturalbridge #gravelroad #warmshowers #scouts #dpsg #biketouring

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