Climbing buddies

After our Motu Trails adventure, it was weekend, which meant we would have friends from Auckland coming down to join us for some climbing! We drove back to Mangorewa Gorge, where we met up with Tim and Stu. We had been raving so much about this crag, that they were keen to check it out for themselves.

The sun, the great and long climbs, the river running right next to the crag and the same old banter with our climbing buddies made for a great day and before we knew it, it was time to walk back and head to the campsite. Beers and curry, as per our climbing trips routine, and then it was time for bed. The next day we went back for more, doing some climbs we didn’t manage to do the day before (I went back early to have a nap in the van, which was also really great). Then it was time to say goodbye to our mates again for now, until next weekend of course!

Thomas and I stayed another night at TECT, with the next day spent working at the Rotorua library followed by driving towards Mangakino. There’s a few really nice campspots along the Waikato River Trails which are perfect, as we can cycle for a bit or use the trail to go for a run and then have a swim in the river to rinse off, without having to drive anywhere, so that’s exactly what we did in Mangakino.

What a casual shower after exercise in vanlife looks like

Since I would have to work for the next two days, we decided to head back to Froggatt, one of our favourite climbing places, as it would be our best bet to find someone for Thomas to climb with. He got lucky and spent two days climbing while I managed to get a lot of work done. I discovered that the town of Te Awamutu has free WiFi in the city centre, which made it possible for me to park up the van and work from home, sweet! I was also pleasantly surprised when I went grocery shopping and found some delicious sourdough bread, which is hard to find in New Zealand. So now we love Te Awamutu!

After a lovely night out at Lake Ngaroto, where the lakeside loop turned out to be perfect for our evening run, we drove to Waitomo, where I had picked a random hike to do. Random being the right word, as part of the track didn’t seem to exist anymore and we ended up bush-bashing our way back towards another trail. Thomas gave up after that (fair enough as it hadn’t been very pleasant walking so far) but I followed the actual trail up to the river and back, not the most scenic walk I’ve done but nice to get a decent hike in. Plus, I got to see three different colours mud!

And then it was weekend again! Time to go climbing with our climbing buddies, yay! For this weekend, we had decided to do some bouldering at Waitomo. Thomas and I had been before, and the boulders on offer here are awesome. Reminded us of all the good times we had in Fontainebleau this past European summer! We did a nice, long day of bouldering on Saturday, with a lunch break inbetween the vans, eating salad and drinking tea, while trying to solve cryptic puzzles. When there was no more skin left on our fingers we retreated back to the vans again and drove over to Mangapohue Natural bridge, which was actually really cool to see (and really hard to take good photos of..). Stu had had a bit too much sun by now but Tim joined us for dinner, beers and more cryptic puzzles (which are hard enough by themselves so imagine doing them in your second language!).

So much fun bouldering in Waitomo with our buddies!

And then came Sunday, and it rained, which is not good for bouldering on limestone. We went for a coffee while discussing our options and eventually the boys decided to go and hit Froggatt again (I told you it’s one of our favourites) while I drove on to good old Te Awamutu for some more working from the van. The boys ended up having a great (and pretty dry) day out at Froggatt so it was well worth driving back up for. It was time for the boys to head back to Auckland, and for us to make our way slightly further south again, as next up was cycling the Timber Trails!

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