Christchurch final leg

Well this really is the last leg in NZ. Transported by the intercity bus again and fortunate enough to have a happy driver although he was running quite late . He managed to state we had picked the flattest and straightest road in NZ to bus , that didn’t worry me we would have had cars and a headwind 2, things I dislike when cycle touring .

We put our bikes together and navigated our way to our accommodation , this didn’t take long . Then walked to get food always a necessity.

We had several important things to do before flying out , procure bike boxes for which we had to hire a car to retrieve , as well as explore the peninsula.

A short ride in Hagley Park has already informed us of a food market and a free classical concert so our last few days are looking better all the time

Riding through Hagley Park

The Avon

Our last job will be to scrub down our bikes and camping equipment before they are boxed up , Sunday’s job .

A lovely drive to Akaroa well worth the visit

And a concert in Hagley Park

A lovely way to finish our tour . Great weather.

We fly out tomorrow at dawn that will be a shock we have cycled about 2600 km in our 9 weeks and have met lots of cyclists with their stories. Locals have asked what are the most memorable legs of the journey and I would have to say there are lots , The cycle down the West coast of the South Island from Westport to Greymouth is especially beautiful looking over the ocean but also the Roxburgh Gorge trail which is definitely spectacular cycling . Lots of memories, now to plan the next trip .

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Timaru

Our holiday nearly over as we head further north , we got the Atomic shuttle from Dunedin to Timaru as you are guaranteed a ride with your bike , we had the pleasure of meeting up with a lovely couple we had previously said goodbye to at Harihari on the West coast . It was so nice to chat with them and see what they had been up to . That what’s makes cycle touring even better the people you meet then run into again .

We were staying with relatives in Timaru which was lovely to make contact again . People that also have a passion for cycling . We were treated to a drive to lake Tekapo which I love a walk down Mt John a picnic lunch and swim in the hot pools. What more could one want

The next day we had the pleasure of having a guided cycle around Timaru through new developments, Centennial park and the wetlands. A great finish to our stay

Our time in Dunedin

Once again we arrived at a destination and was grounded by wet weather . It didn’t stop us cycling around the city until it got too wet and cold . I thought the bike ways were quite good but after speaking with a local cyclist he thought cars were a problem with cyclists . We checked out the beautiful Railway Station we had arrived at the day previously off the Rail trail

The city was bustling with tourists even on a Sunday and in the rain . After picking up supplies for our dinner we returned to camp and when the rain stopped we walked down St Kilda beautiful beach

The locals said tomorrow would be fine and they were correct.

We woke up to a lovely blue sky and sunshine and took off up the Otago Peninsula . It looked especially great after yesterday’s grey and rain , today you could actually see the surrounding hills

This is a wind down now as our trip is nearly over so we chose to ride the flat coastal road around to Portobello. It ranges from having a designated cycle track to having nothing so you had to watch the cars

We stopped at Macandrew Bay for coffee and Broad bay for our picnic lunch

We had decided to return the same way from Portobello and not go the Highcliff road as it is an 8 km climb then a downhill run . Another trip we will do the circuit but not today . A nice relaxing roll today of around 30km and a tailwind I The way home , a great way to finish a ride .

Middlemarch to Pukerangi

Due to our long ride yesterday we didn’t have far to go today only around 21 km. We had a leisurely morning , looked around town had coffee and lunch and looked through the local museum. An amazing place full of local history.

We took off along the highway funnily we both couldn’t remember this journey from our last visit . We turned off the highway which became a gravel road that then turned into lots of hills , how unusual

The only place we have shared the bridge with the train . The countryside still very beautiful

We got to Pukerangi an hour before the train was due and made the most of the sun, as there was a cool wind blowing . The 2 hour trip was very relaxing and lucky we had booked as the train was full.

Arrived in Dunedin and cycled our way to the camp, just a short walk from St Kilda

The cool breeze blowing and the forecast not too good for the next few days, nearly the last leg of our journey, we have to make the most of our stay here , before we head up to Christchurch to fly home . Before that happens our bikes will have to undergo a serious clean , while we think where our next cycle journey will take us .

The Central Otago Rail trail . Oturehua to Middlemarch

We left our lovely accommodation at Crows Nest backpackers and headed off onto the trail but not before checking Gilchrist ‘s famous store , a treat to behold from old to new .

The day warmed up quickly and it was jackets off. We only had 10 km to the highest point on the trail the great it was all down hill from there .

Little did we know we were in for a long ride today . We pulled into Ranfurly and found coffee good reception and booked our train ride for tomorrow from Pukerangi as the train leaves from there every day and only some days from Middlemarch. We also organised accomodation for Dunedin as forecast wasn’t good and the city is busy at this time of year with University starting up. By the time that was done we found the obligatory bakery with fresh cream treats then headed off .

The trail surface from Ranfurly to Middlemarch was excellent and really good riding , also the downhill gradient made for a pleasant ride . We passed over viaducts sand through tunnels and hoped to jagg some accommodation at Hyde. We had passed daisy flat where we could have camped but this is not sign posted at all .

Arriving at Hyde we had ridden around 60 Kilometres then found the Hotel was closed as there was a wedding in in town and everyone had gone , so another 28 km to Middlemarch was the next option .

An incentive to get there and have a beer we rode down at record pace 90 km for the day done and dusted . Feeling very thankful to find a lovely hut at the campground, the Rail trail officially finishes here . Off to Pukerangi to catch the train tomorrow for Dunedin .

Middlemarch camp kitchen a train carriage very cute .

The Otago Central rail trail

Well we decided to stay off the roads and Brad back to Dunedin , what better way than hit the trail. Adjoined it in Alexandra missing the first 8 km from Clyde, we have previously ridden this trail before 8 years ago so we knew what to expect, we thought.

We had perfect weather started off at 8 degrees and warmed up quickly to around 30 by 4 pm . It was different riding the touring bikes as previously we had mountain bikes . The surface of the trail varies but after 62km you get used to it . A fair bit of vibration through the hands and arms . A rail trail is a sure bet no big hills but going from Clyde to Ranfurly gradually goes up hill then your down the other side . That’s 10 km further on from where we stayed the first night at Oturehua at the Crows nest backpackers which has only reopened 3 months ago so we were able to score a bed for the night . We found out after we could have camped here as well . Really nice andcomfortable . We enjoyed a cold beer at the pub in Oturehua and was definitely ready for a good snooze before tomorrow. We really are using the trail as a commute to Dunedin so it was not quite the same as the first time we rode it . Last time was in November 8 years ago and the terrain was much greener . This time the land was extremely brown and dry . A very extreme fire risk .

Day 2 of The Clutha Gold trail and The Roxburgh gorge trail

Well when Greg said it was going to snow I laughed but no kidding last night it snowed on the hills I have photos to prove it

Add rain and wind to the mix and you get a pretty sleepless night in the tent . We all survived only casualty was my mirror on my bike broke off as the bikes fell over in the wind .

When we woke at Millers flat the Rain had stopped that means one thing get cracking and pack up even if it’s 6 degrees. Fortunately they had a great laundry drying room so the tent fly had to hang while we ate our breakfast .

There was a few light spits of rain as we left towards Roxburgh but the sun finally came out . The trail didn’t disappoint and I think is one of the best along with Roxburgh gorge trail. Well constructed easy riding and great scenery .

We came to Pinders pond past Millers flat a free camp there also lovely . We made a detour off the trail to check out Roxburgh and shared a banana smoothie. Great cafe. The we couldn’t hang around as we had a date with a jet boat . The trail wasn’t busy and we only passed a couple of other cyclists. The gold trail finishes at the Roxburgh dam

We crossed over here and headed up a steep climb for the Roxburgh gorge trail only 30 km long but a must , absolutely spectacular. Another wonderfully constructed trail easy to ride and with world class views . Needless to say we had to push the bikes up the first 300 meters with the load the off .

We had arranged to get the jet boat at 2 pm from Shingle creek so there was no mucking around . A wonderful winding descent always followed by the ascent !!

The jet boat takes you approximately 19 km to join the track again,Lawrence our driver was lovely said he was going back to Alexandra would we like a lift all the way , an offer that could not be refused , sun shining on the lake we were off . Bikes and gear on board . Lawrence even gave us a tour and history lesson around all the old gold mining hang outs We didn’t mind missing the 19 km more riding into town to find accommodation and dry out our gear from the rain . Hopefully the sun will stay out

Now to work out tomorrow’s ride.