We arrived in Paeroa just in time for the skies to let loose. We started on the flat Hauraki bike trail in a fine mist. Knowing we’d be getting wet we started the ride in full rain gear.
The Hauraki Rail Trail starts in Kaiaua on the west side of the Firth of Thames. It runs 112 km south to Te Aroha with off shoots to Thames and Waihi (through the Karangahake Gorge). A 37 km extension to Matamata (aka Hobbiton) is in the works. The trail surface is gravel and passes through many cow fields with lots of jarring cattle crossings and muddy/cow shitty road crossings.
We jumped on to the highway about half way to Paeroa – much quicker going even with the added hills. Traffic was Sunday light and the rain had slowed.
Paeroa is famous for being the second “ingredient” in L&P soda.
Our Paeroa hosts, Glenys and Allen, offered the use of their kitchen for dinner. We made butter, garlic and sage Pici pasta with chicken tikka kabob and a salad from their garden. We picked up the tikka spices at the farmers market in Thames.
After dinner Allen took us out to the Karangahake Gorge for a night hike and glow worm spotting. We hiked the Karangahake tunnel which had glow worms all along the ceiling. The worms gave the feel of star gazing inside the tunnel.
We emerged from the 1070m tunnel on a bridge over the river under cloudless skies full of stars.