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NZ Tour 2005: Chch to Otago

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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
Takaka Hill But of course, I started with an overnight ride in Nelson. Just up the Takaka Hill for a night. Then off to Christchurch on the bus to help a friend build a wall.
Takaka Hill Sunrise Slept somewhere just off the road in a comfy patch of bush. Woke in time for sunrise, then off down the hill while it was still cool.
Rakaia Bridge Heading south from Christchurch after a few days helping Simon build a wall in his garage. A hundred kilometres of flat, straight road with not a lot to see or any way to skip it. So I just sat and pedaled. Spent the night in a pine plantation near Hinds. A drink bottle leaked inside a pannier so I did some clothes washing. Sitting in a pine plantation is not very exciting, but my knees hurt a bit so I'm stopped for the day. I played with the camera and bike computer... 98km at about 30kph, a little over 3 hours on the bike.
Geraldine Rode to Geraldine (36km) then it started raining. Forecast is clearing this evening, so I went to the library. New Zealand towns have astonishingly good libraries compared to Australia. So that kept me entertained for the rainy day. Met some interesting Germans (Tania and Marcus) and biked out of town with them, but they had funny ideas about camping so I left them to it. Camped in a(nother) pine plantation 10km or so out of town. major achievement for the day was buying a spoon (I lost my one at Simon's place).
Hills! Sheep! Getting noticeably away from the plains now. It was chilly when I woke up so I went back to sleep until it warmed up. Undulating roads into Fairlie, and the headwind started getting stronger. the whole hilly headwind thing is not much fun, but it'd be less fun on an upright. Forecast is for better wind tomorrow so plan a short day. More knee pain. Bah!
Tekapo Woke up, rode a few km to find somewhere in the sun to cook rice for breakfast. Stopped at the Burkes Pass Cemetary, resting place for a fair few mountaineers. The pass is short and reasonably steep, but nothing like Porters Pass or Otira Gorge (in Arthur's pass), so I breeze up that. At the bottom I'm taking photos and a bunch of merkins come past, then they pass me again at the top as I'm taking more photos. Quite amusing. Rest day in Tekapo and it's a tourist town, so I'm in the backpackers. Rode up to Mt John Observatory for sunset, then back down (now *that* is a hill :)
Aoraki Started out looking at the Southern Alps and Aoraki. Then cruised down to the info centre by the hydro canal then rode the canal for a bit. Directions mildly confusing, so reverted to the road. Went into Twizel, shopped a bit then on to Omarama. Omarama is where the glider kids go, but the useful thing for me was the weather forecast. Southerly change = not pleasant. After a 10km stint into a headwind I decided that I really needed dinner (a 125km day), so I did that then decided that I was going to wimp out and stay in the farm labourers cottage "backpackers".
Stealth Camp No photos, just riding today. So here's how I camp.
Otago Rail Trail A big day for me. Saw the Clyde Dam, went shopping in a supermarket (in a big town, even!), started riding to Otago Rail Trail.
45 South Somewhere there's a photo of me at 15 South as well, during CANC2. This is as close as I can find (near Capricorn Roadhouse, south of Newman in WA). No journal notes, just photos.
Day 11 Last day on the Otago Rail Trail, woke to early morning mist again and headed for the highway rather than following the trail to its end. For some reason the hilly highway seemed more like I remember Otago being - perhaps because it's farmland rather than the river valley that the rail trail ended on. Dry hilly country is more "real Otago". Then it was out to the coast and on to Shag Point, home of the penguins.
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