Brett Mead


Gisborne Herald

DESPITE being vegetarians, lambs' tails were a must on the menu for this German family as they cycled their way around the East Coast. There were no five-star hotels and packaged travel experiences on the agenda of Anja Lenze, Frank Schillig and their children Lara (5) and Jona (4), who are after a real Kiwi experience for their five-month New Zealand stay.

They have been up Mount Hikurangi, fishing at Tuparoa, eaten lambs tails, been crayfishing, seen Maori carving in action with John and Mihi Moke, spent a day at Hiruharama school when they stayed with principal Bill Hughes and wife Jan, and went on horse treks in Tokomaru Bay. "They have been having a really awesome time," Mr Hughes said. "They are not your average tourist and have been getting a superb insight into Maori culture and life on the Coast." Though borrowing a vehicle for some of their trip, much of their journey is being undertaken on tandem bikes designed so the children sit on the front. They have been keeping a website diary of their travels, which started in Auckland, and are continually updating it with pictures and stories. "Travelling by bike has become our favourite way of travelling ? the right speed to see enough but cover some ground too," Mr Schillig said.

Ms Lenze and Mr Schillig have been together for 11 years and share a love of nature, meeting people and not doing things hastily. They were in Gisborne for three days and left for Waikaremoana with plans to travel south.