Week 6 – in South Island
Our last week of cycling with fully laden bikes, and what a year we have had.
We spent the beginning of the week being teased – we cycled past jet boating, bungee jumping and wineries but we were short on cash and time so didn’t indulge in any of these events but stopped briefly to watch others take part.
We have spent this last 3 days cycling an off road, old rail track which has been a really scenic and sometimes wet ride. We topped this off with a train ride on one of the most scenic train journeys we have ever been on.
We are now travelling by car, courtesy of our friends Tony and Beth, this way we can double back up to the central mountains to take in areas we would have missed if we’d cycled up the coast to Christchurch including Mount Cook.
Our thoughts are now focusing on home and reunions with our family and friends.
Whilst writing this our friends Lisa and Sharon are participating in the DW race we know how hard and challenging this race is so we’d like to mention them in this blog, our thoughts are with them and the other competitors taking part – good luck guys.
All the best
Gary, Ginette and Stuart
$500 reward but he must be returned with his wife to New Zealand
a bit off roading??
Gary looking like he’s been in the wilderness for the passed year
more views from the train
waiting for the boys at one of the tunnels on the Otago rail track
Steam boat Queensland
Shrek how you’ve changed in one year
peek a boo – chinese gold miners workers cottage
bungee jumping – I so wanted to have a go but couldn’t justify £100 for 5 minutes fun
loved this toilet sign at the bungee jumping site
the smile disguises the fact that I still hate off road gravel tracks
‘turn right Clyde’ – this tickled Gary, for those too young to remember it came from is a film called Any which way but loose
almond nut tree, yum yum
now that’s what you call a ‘beetle’
at the top of a gorge just passed Queenstown
crossing one of the many bridges on the Otago Rail Track
yuk, we saw this macabre sight early one morning there were several of them on the fence
this was a kitchen at one of our campsites it was an old rail carriage
views from the train from Middlemarch to Dunedin
end of the train line for us
Week 5 in South Island – West Coast done!
A mixed week with the weather, terrain and moods.
It has been a wet week so much so wet that we have paid to stay in accommodation on two nights rather than using the tents.
The terrain at the beginning of the week was a little bit disappointing but the last few days from Frans Josef to Queenstown has been hillier with some spectacular glacial, mountain and lake views.
We have met some like minded travellers on route many cycling the North to South cycle challenge (The Bluff). We have also met up with some friends we made in Laos, Beth and Tony, who have spoilt us rotten, bringing us beer, food, and encouragement whilst we rode up a rather big mountain. They even took us to ‘Paradise’ and back.
We have another interesting week ahead but then we are going to use a car to do a bit of touring as we feel parts of New Zealand are same, same but not different, which can lead to a boring ride and deflated moods.
It is hard to believe that we will be home in 2 weeks, where has the time gone…
Stuart the slave driver
Gary has been a good boy, chocolate lolly time
A wet Franz Josef Glacier in the back ground, the man is actually a poster not a pin up.
In Kwitcha town all the house have names, apparently I should live here.
A high hill climb made easier with less luggage thanks to Beth and Tony. Outside Queenstown.
The zig zag road down from Crown range, Queenstown
Rainbow in the hillside by lake Wanaka
We think this is a Tom Tit. My cockney slang imagines something quite different.
Its a hard life at lake Paringa, well it is when the sandflies start biting.
A wet cold data Makarora, starting with a puncture to repair.
Beth and Tony showing us fantastic New Zealander hospitality, we met this lovely couple on an Island in Laos.
One of many other bras that had been hung on display on a fence by the roadside.
A plane flying under us to Queenstown airport
what a beauty at Bruce bay.
The dirty grimy thing is the fox glacier, no not me, behind me.
A mirror view of Stuart in Red.Fox Glacier
Off road cycle route to Fox Glacier
the road to Haast
one of the many clear and sky blue flowing rivers crossed on the way to Haast
stunning view from a bridge crossing West coast road towards Haast
Franz Josef Glacier
Car park campsite, actual turned out to a great site at Pukekura
Wild white Heron
Hokitika, I see no ships!
warning sign by the rail/car shared bridge
A shared bridge, trains and cars and of course cycles, check the tracks through the roundabout
Now in South Island
Wow! We can’t believe how fast the time is going
We are now in South Island, which is starting to get colder (even Stuart has had to put on his leggings and jacket).
The views are more spectacular we especially liked the views on the ferry from the North Island to the South Island.
The mountain views and long valleys are “same, same but different” as the UK (an Asian saying) with the dwellings making the biggest difference.
We have travelled across the top of the Island and have made it to the west coast and plan to travel down this hilly coast to some glaciers mid week before going to Queenstown.
We’re hoping the weather will improve because as we write this it is a cold, wet, windy day in Greymouth.
Good luck to all the seniors time trialling for the GB Dragon Boat Team
All the best
Gary, Ginette and Stuart
Gary washing his tits in lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud.
the fiord type scenery after leaving Picton
Stuart impersonation of Wallace gromit
Stuart finally feeling the cold at 11 degrees while Ginette is still showing a bit of leg
A cold wet day but still time to smile
Gary trailing behind again, but at least I get to take these pictures
Ginette taking a break, come on Stu giddy up.
Gary was bought up in highfield, but in Hemel Hempstead
As Gary now looks like a tramp we decided to camp next to some real ones, see the old mattresses and knackered caravan
An example of some bad taste hired camper vans of which there are several
Our scenic riverside ride
A small crowd gathered on the beach for sunset at Greymouth
clear and blunt anti drinking sign
Picton Harbour North Island NZ
At the current exchange $230,000 is £115.000
Lake Rotoiti, St Arnaud.
See I told you she was an Alien.
Gary and his twin dog, check out the beards
A flat ride to Greymouth with mountains close by.
the fiords on the ferry ride to the North island New Zealand
Sunset at Greymouth
cold wind at 16 degrees, 1700ft
Week 3 in North Island
More hills, it is getting colder and we’ve had a couple of treats.
The weather hasn’t been great but much better than the forecast of non stop rain for 4 days. We have got wet on a couple of the days and it has been very windy, at one point we struggled to cycle along a flat stretch of road at 7mph.
We have stayed in a mixture of camps in some beautiful settings. They’ve all been less touristy, which suits us and most have been either by a river or by the sea which has allowed the boys to have a play, I’ve been far too cold to join in, Stuart finds this hilarious as he has spent the week in shorts and teeshirt.
We have even had the ‘luxury’ of staying in hotels, once as a treat after a really hard day on the bike (an interesting experience, read the diary for more on this) and a pre booked backpackers hotel in Wellington.
We’ve watched dragon boating and caught up with some new and old friends.
The scenery has already started to change with much more mountain backdrops our next stop is the South Island, where we’ve been told to prepare for much bigger and more spectacular views and hills (And colder weather). We look forward to sharing photos and tales of these next week, until then take care.
Lots of Love Ginette, Gary and Stuart
another bug in our tent
Gary chilling on a swing in the sun
What is with these shoes tied to fences?
Cheeky wild Possum
one of many murals in a town called Foxton
Gary playing in the park
Gary scaring himself doing a take from the ‘Shining’
Stephs Hamilton dragonboat team taking a swim in the rough conditions
catching up with our good dragon boat friend Janet in Wellington
Another easy day off the bikes?
Telly tubby land
Stuart and Ginette playing on the trampoline
what a cool post box
Gary cracking the whip
A beautiful view with a waterfall in the background
hard day at the office
Ginette in front of Stuart at the bottom of a hill as well as up the hills
That was a tough climb