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I decided it was best to rest and take some time out for my leg (which appears to be slowly healing and yet yesterday’s hitchin kinda flared things up a bit but I’ll survive).

Regardless, my time at Rongo Backpackers (Rongo meaning peace in Maori) and the idea behind this is to establish a beautiful artistic community with lots of great ideas including a permaculture farm, more building expansion, and the development of a bigger community. So far they are off to a really great start in this chilled out environment. I think anyone coming off the Heaphy Track would be silly to not stay here for a few days and see what they have to offer honestly.

I managed to spend a bit of time getting to know the woofers and the collective owners of this project (well some at least) and it was worth it. The Rongo backpackers has been focussed on making their hostel as sustainable as they can afford to (read: the more money they make the more they invest in environmental projects to reduce their carbon footprint). Roll the list…

  • They have some pretty amazing things setup such as a huge rain barrel in the backyard that feeds the shower water (possibly the toilets as well). This is the first time that I’ve run across a hostel like this and it makes me pretty happy to have a staggered shower with reused rain water (YAH)!
  • All the water for the showers is heated with solar heating on the roof. I was totally giddy when Paul took me around to show me the heaters. Two different panels were used to heat all the water used by everyone (sizeable hostel really) staying at Rongo. I’ve seen this once before at a sustainable eco-lodge up in northern Alberta called Aurum Lodge (beautiful place to stay too)
  • Composting – This included raw food for the garden and cooked food for local pigs *being a vegan I’d rather see the food go towards something then be chucked out*

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There is something about riding on the highway with passing vehicles and taking in the terrain around you.

I arrived in Triabunna after a short bus ride and a great chat with a girl about all things environment! Nick was waiting for me at the station with a huge HUGE hug and big smile. As we walked my bike and gear back to the sleeping location I was greeted by four other peeps and more hugs (ahh shit do I ever love hugs). In total the tour consisted of Ang, Nick, Michelle, and Mary-Anne. It was sweet to have riden with them for the entire week as we had a lot to share together.

Tragically, I was to late to help them present the OZ version of the Otesha skit. The next day was actually they’re day off so we headed to Maria Island (close by) for a ride along a rocky roadway to a beautiful beach. I could hear Erica’s voice saying to me that riding on the track (read: road / path) wasn’t smart on thin walled tires but I did it anyway. Upon returning to the ferry about 5 minutes before I got there my tire blew. Phewfff.

The next day was our first ride out to complete the journey and to get things started I blew my tire once (replaced it with a fresh one = problem solved) and then had some serious issues with my panniers but fixed that later in the day thanks to Nick, a piece of metal found on the road, and duct tape around my water bottle (that’s right Wheats I still use your trick). HAAA HAA.

The terrian was freakin beautiful and smokey because of the degree of the forest fires that are ravaging this country-side. It’s tragic and real here as they are going through serious droughts and fires are ripping right through the country at fast rates.

Along the week long treck there was some really amazing steep hills, amazing connections, and lots of shared love. It was nice to at least share stories from our various tours, compare notes, and talk about different environmental issues.

Along the way I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Gee an amazing activist, writer, and energetic women. The night we stayed with Bob & Helen was full of lively discussion, understanding of the issues (on my part), and interesting perspectives. I felt super lucky to have been a part of those conversations and experience. She is heavily involved in fighting Tasmania Old Growth cutting.

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