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NZ Tour 2004: Chch to Nelson

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I went back to NZ to visit family and friends, and spend a bit of time riding aimlessly about the place. I haven't done that for a while so I thought it'd be a good way to catch up with the place. In December 2004 I rode north from Christchurch to Nelson via the West Coast, then in January 2005 I rode south and through the Otago Rail Trail
Assembling the bike at Simon's
Day 1: Christchurch
Arrived fairly late at night, started ringing people to find out where I was supposed to be staying (because I'm, like, organised. But not much like organised). Got picked up from the airport by Simon, which was good as it was getting quite late. Photos of me assembling the bike at Simon's place. And Simon.

Day 2: KiwiHPV crew
Arrived in Christchurch on my bike to visit the Canterbury HPV crew and other friends in the city.

Day 3: Canterbury Plains
First real day of touring - left Simon's place in Rolleston and headed for the Southren Alps. A chance to find out whether I've acclimatised to Australia's lack of hills as well as the warm weather.

Day 4: Arthur's pass
OK, yesterday was the 7th, whatever. Today is officially the 8th and I'm on holiday. Woke up fairly late, rode a few kms of gravel to the seal, got to that just in time to see a tandem come whizzing down the Porter's pass road. Took off in pursuit for about 100m, then decided not to bother. Caught up with them for lunch the next day instead.
Wandered along, had lunch, got grumpy with the headwind and gentle uphill so stopped at the bealey (a pub).

Day 5: Kea. Down Otira Gorge
Woke up fairly early, biked into Arthurs Pass village and had a look around.The "new" viaduct (I haven't seen it before). That was fun, and the big thrill going upwind through the pass like I did is that you get to descent 500-odd metres in a very short bit of road. Yippee! Then on and down to Greymouth where I expected the West Coast to live up to its reputation (rainy) and stayed in a backpackers.

Day 6: Rainy Greymouth
Rest day. Rain.

Day 7: Rainforest
No rain today. Well, overcast with scattered showers, but that's good enough for me. Rode north, through Punakaiki (pancake rocks) then camped near the Westport turnoff (didn't go in)

Day 7 again: West Coast beach
It's scenic.

Day 8: Birdlife up the Buller
A cruisy day despite the uphill, and the Buller Gorge is always a nice place to ride through. I still marvel at the Shag Point cutout that was originally done with hand tools. Got to join the latte set for a while then camped in a more or less official camp area. Camping with mosquitoes!

Day 9: Buller Gorge
Rode the last bit of the Buller Valley up to Murchison, then discovered that the road was shitty (spill off a truck, roadworks) for the next 50 kms or so, then I'd be on roads that I know pretty well. So I got on the bus.

Nelson (several days)
Spent some time with my family in Nelson.

Marlborough Sounds
Then went to the Marlborough Sounds and sat round while they went to a wedding. It rained.

Picton ferry
OK, you get scenic photos while I did no riding. Should have taken my bike to the sounds, more fool me and all that.

Back in Nelson, I thought I'd shoot a panorama or two from the hills about Richmond so I have something to remind me of home. Not a bad view, if I do say so myself.

Continued in 2005