Not finished yet decided to explore some trails after a car trip down the Caitlin’s

After finishing our trip from Reinga to Bluff we got the bus to Balclutha to check out some trails .

We had treated ourselves to a car rental for a day where we tripped around the Catlins an amazing coastline . A lot easier to get around in a car as up and down into. Aya and beaches . We viewed waterfalls and the cathedral caves ,really worth a visit

We also got out to Nugget point such an amazing place

After our lazy day in the car we headed out to Lawrence from Balclutha ended up being 72 km but we travelled a very quiet great sealed road , actually across all the mountains through rich farmland

We missed taking the punt across the Clutha River as timing was out as it only runs 2 hours morning and afternoon. Works on the flow of the river and a pulley system

We had booked ahead a hut due to wet weather forecast again and was so glad we did , temperatures dropped to 7 degrees . When we woke it was misty and cold but certainly hot in the kitchen where a blazing fire was going .

We set off for Lawrence on the Otago Gold trail such a great trail easy riding The trail followed the Clutha River for a large part which was very scenic. We arrived in Lawrence and pitched the tent for the night

Lovely camping ground friendly folk and a good local pub

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The last leg Invercargill to Bluff

We were keen today to finish this trek we had started 7 weeks ago , the 2 of us and our Vivente cycles . As a special treat we left our load in Invercargill and decided to have a lighter run to Bluff. We were going down the main Road and knowing that we shared that with a lot of cars and trucks as the port is in Bluff . We both just took our right panniers as I have noticed traffic gives you a better distance when you have them attached . I have felt quite vulnerable in the traffic here as they don’t appear to be cycle aware.

There was a large storm coming over the country so that was more incentive to get cracking . The wind was building and gusty but we had it partly on the tail, I counted 26 truck trailer units passed us on the way down and we had to be so careful as they sucked us in with the gusty wind .

We were totally elated to arrive at Stirling point , we even met up with another cyclist Tony from Uk We last saw him at Haast so we shared stories and morning tea together .

We have succeeded in our cycle trip with our 2 great bicycles . Not one puncture from Cape Reinga to Bluff. No mechanical problems they just required new brake pads at the end of the North Island and will require a very good clean before returning home .After a couple of days R& R we are off again to check out a few more trails north as we make our way to Christchurch to fly home in a few weeks .

We have met such friendly people from all walks of life , so if there was doubt I couldn’t make the journey I have put that doubt to rest. Hopefully we are a little fitter than when we arrived and I know we have enjoyed such great beers and tasty fresh cream baking .I now remember what a real hill is .!!! And have felt very warm weather so unseasonal for here. 30s heat , flooding it’s all happening . Time to bunk down somewhere dry .

Mossburn to Invercargill via Winton

Well wind blowing we decided to go the fastest route to the bottom. We left thinking Winton but as we got to Lumsden in record time the fastest 20 km ever on the loaded bikes sitting on 30 km , tail winds are great .

We stopped for coffee and NZ best donuts according to the cafe , they were pretty good as well as good coffee

A really lovely cafe with lots of character. We wandered around through the old train station now a cafe and a place for freedom campers to use

We also noted the building where the famous Lumsden bank robbery took place

Now a cafe . It was nice to look around but time to get cycling again . The road was not too bad to Winton traffic was good and gave us room there was also a good edge most of the way . We lunched in the picnic area just before Winton on the tasty food we purchased at Lumsden

We decided to keep going and cycled through to Invercargill the road had a lot of heavy traffic and the wind was changeable , I guess you can’t have a tailwind forever .

We arrived in Invercargill having ridden just over 100 km

Last day to reach Bluff tomorrow hopefully sneaking it in before rain

A few snaps around the city

Movora Lakes to Mossburn

Well when we awoke there was fog to the ground no view anywhere.

But our little Robin still came around to see if there were free crumbs from breakfast . Never too much left in our bowls , our staple of porridge and dried fruit most mornings.

We packed up and left the lakes , as soon as we cycled out onto the main road the fog was gone , it hung only over the lakes

We were surprised there were no biting insects at all , must be the dry weather. The cycle trip to Mossburn was undulating gravel road We came to the mountain cycle trail at morning tea had some snacks of apple and meusli bars. We started the trail but I found it too rough to continue with the touring bike so headed back to the gravel road. We still enjoyed the ride as there was very little traffic , only the odd tourist bus and trampers walking ,

We made Mossburn around lunch enjoying some tasty bacon and egg pie and coffee from the Dome cafe

There were no shops to purchase food for cooking so it was pasta and tuna again at the Mossburn holiday park . A lovely camping ground but we decided to take a hut.

It was so hot and the sun was just setting around 9.30. The weather changes so quickly and it was so hard to think that by Thursday it will be a maximum of 12 and raining in 2 days . The wind started to blow during the night a really savage blow . I was hoping it would be a tail wind in the morning.

The owner had given us food to feed the farm animals in the evening , something different .

A really lovely camp only 3 km out of town and great facilities

Tomorrow on as far as we can go before weather changes

Queenstown to Walter Peak station and around the mountain trail.

Well we have found the weather to be so changeable , we wanted to do the trail so we bussed it through to Queenstown from Haast . A couple of days rest and relaxing .

We caught the lady of the lake the Earnslaw and camped out at the DoC new park at Walter Peak , this would have been our best site so far for it was free along with gas BBQ toilets Tables a shelter and the lake to swim in

Couldn’t beat this scenery anywhere. Campsite takes 12 Tents first in no booking .

We had a really good sleep away from the hustle and bustle of Tourist Queenstown. We had been a bit unlucky with our budget accommodation with noise. You just can’t beat the outdoors .

The trail took us out of Walter Peak station towards Mt Nicholas station on a dirt road , undulating and beautiful for the first 27 km We rolled down the road into Mt Nicholas station although there is no public access just to view and spoke with the woman managing this property with 40,000 merino sheep. Not many in sight she explained at present they are all in the high country, wow at the top of these mountains.

The manager directed us back into the main dirt road to save us backtracking . We made Von hill recreation ground at lunch , noticed other cyclists swimming so decided to do the same . The day was very hot and we had taken extra water with us knowing it would be a long hot day . The creek was very cool and refreshing we needed that before the heart breaker climb for me .

I enjoyed the swim immensely not knowing what I was about to encounter.. Von hill was a killer for me and we had experienced climbs before steeper so I think the heat the gravel road and me having a slight respiratory bug may have contributed to my poor performance. Greg had to take my front panniers for the last km and I was seen pushing for a bit . I think I experienced too much heat as I felt awful . Anyway once to the top it was downhill and we had a tail wind , and undulating trail to the Movora lakes . It was a 58 km ride not my best one but I did it .

We had filled up our water at a creek on the way just as well as the lakes were really low , and showing signs of being very dry

we had a pretty good sleep and campsite was lovely with a very inquisitive bird

It was nice having a quiet night , we had our usual pasta and tuna meal , followed by a cup of hot chocolate and more chocolate that had melted with the heat . Who would have thought 30 degree days down here. Off tomorrow on day 2 of around the mountains

Pine Lodge to Haast

Woke up early today ready for our longer ride 85 km including a couple of reasonable climbs. I could see blue sky out on the coast but of course by the time we were ready to leave around 7.30 the rain had rolled in . I deliberated which jacket as I have found my waterproof one too hot to cycle in up those hills . After deciding on the heavy one as we had 35 km of flat before the mountains. Just as well it kept me semi dry , I think I have mentioned before I really don’t like riding in that rain especially on the highway with the traffic. We headed off hoping it wouldn’t rain the whole 85 km . We found ourselves at the Salmon farm cafe for morning tea , very tasty hot chocolate and smoked salmon on toast

Off we headed in misty rain , I had changed my jacket before the hills even went for sleeveless brave against the Haast sand flies they will pick you up and carry you away . The rain lifted and we rode by Lake Moeraki a very beautiful lake it also has a lovely lodge there.

It was time for lunch so we stopped to admire the view at the lookout as there was a table to sit at as well as toilets , always need these more on the rainy days !!! We met another cycle tourist Tony from Manchester UK a fit young man who had cycled from Fox township also going to Haast overnight . The heavy rain came in and finished that conversation we took off only another 25 km to go . A cyclists dream a downhill run and a tail wind . We arrived at Haast around 3 pm . and found a bed at the Wilderness backpackers, A Dry haven where we could once again wash and dry out all the gear . We had booked to get the intercity bus tomorrow through to Queenstown. We have planned to do some off road trails again and are running out of time . We need another 3 months !!

At least we had a nice dry bed at Haast at the Wilderness backpackers .

Rawene to Waipoua State forest

Somehow I have been so efficient and posted twice for this section but just decided to leave it in Day 10 of our travels our first day of cycling in the wet . When we woke in Rawene humidity was 98% so rain was surely on the cards . I must admit I was worried about the big climb ahead today then when the rain started we both felt we had heavy legs and our spirits were down . The first leg was undulating as we headed to Opononi and Omapere where we stopped for coffee at the pub , first one for a few days . The beautiful sea views were a blur with the misty rain then our hearts really sank on the first climb out really doubting today’s travels . We stopped for lunch of cold potatoes and sausages from last nights dinner at Waimamaku. Sheltered under a large tree there was a very old table to sit at . We next had the big climb and pleasantly we were both surprised gradient was not too bad and we could roll the bikes along nicely in granny gear. Our spirits lifted now and the 8-10 km climb passed well . Helped along by our music thanks to our UE wonder boom , thanks to our offspring a great Xmas present .we made the top of the range then shortly after descending into a short way we reached Tane Mahutu Lord of the forest and one of New Zealand’s biggest trees. An amazing Kauri tree. We had another short climb then down a sweet 10 km run and felt cold for the first time since arriving , a combination of being tired and partially wet. After a short dirt road arrived at the Waipoua state forest camping ground and seeing the weather grey we took a hut.Now while writing this sun is out and full blue sky at 7.30 at night.Tomorrow we are off to Dargaville another adventure awaits.