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Edwins Bicycle Tour Downunder
Friday, 11 February 2005
Tuatapere to Invercargill, Wednesday 9 February

1) View from lookout towards Fiordland

2) Town of Orepuki

3) On the coast road

Today was cloudy but dry and fairly humid with temperatures reaching 26C in the afternoon.

After 5 miles we reached the coast and a lookout with views back along the coast to the mountains of Fiordland and across the channel to Stewart Island in the far distance.

Cycling along the coast we started to see clumps of trees bent far over by the south west wind which normally roars up the channel of this remote part of Southland. The trees were seared white by salt.

We stopped for elevenses at a pub in the remote town of Orepuki. Some of the centre was long since deserted with the buildings looking straight out of a ghost town from the wild west.

We continued along the Coast alongside the dark and inpenatrable Longwood forest with knarled and stubby trees looking straight out of Middle Earth. We spotted a New Zealand Wood Pigeon twice the size of an ordinary pigeon perched on a branch.

We stopped for lunch at Riverton and then a flat or gently rolling ride to the South Coast city of Invercargill.

Distance for the day was 52.8 miles with 1197 ft of climb. Average speed was 10.4 and riding time 4 hrs 58 mins.

remote Posted by Edwin at 10:12 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005 10:24 AM EADT
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Te Anau to Tuatapere, Tuesday 8 February

1) Lake Manapouri

2) Martin and Peter riding with a tail wind and no cars

3) Martin and Peter riding across the plain from Te Anau

After yesterday's rain on the minibus trip today was back to bright and clear weather with temperatures reaching 28C.

We had a good hot breakfast at our B & B and set off first alongside Lake Te Anau and then across a magnificent plain with a backdrop of the primordial mountains of Fiordland National Park.

We abruptly came down to Lake Manapouri reputed to be New Zealand's most beautiful with mountains rising up from its shores. We stopped here at a pub for an early lunch and to stock up on supplies for the rest of the days ride. Pedallers Paradise advised and this was confirmed by locals that there were no shops or cafes and few habitations for the remaining 50 miles to Tuatapere.

As we rode from Manapouri the Cheviot Hills rose to one side of us backed by the 1600 metre peaks of the Takitimu Mountains.

The road was now due south for the rest of the ride and the wind gradually increased to a strong northerly. At the same time apart from some short climbs the road was gradually downhill from the 400 metre summit of Jerico Hill to Tuatapere at 70 metres. This made for a rare ideal day of cycling as we rode along effortlessly. Peter was in the lead for a while and easily maintained a speed of 17mph. To top it all off we enjoyed an open road with an average of a car every 5 minutes.

A group of 3 Touring Cyclists going in the opposite direction seemed a little jealous as one called out "You choose the right day to be going in the right direction"

In the afternoon we took a break at the Clifden Suspension Bridge over the River Waiau at the village of Clifden.

Distance for the day was 63.4 miles with 1541 ft of climb and 2037 ft of descending. Average speed was 12.4 and riding time was 5 hours.

remote Posted by Edwin at 10:03 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005 10:15 AM EADT
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Milford Sound, Monday 7 February

1) Humbolt Falls

2) Rainforest Path

3) Milford Sound, Mitre Peak in the centre

4) Milford Sound

5) Milford Sound

6) Milford Sound

We stayed 2 nights in Te Anau and to make it feasible to do the 80 mile each way trip to Milford Sound a trip was booked on the Internet before we left with local Tour Operator Trips and Tramps. Most Coach trips to Milford Sound start from Queenstown 100 miles further away and are more rushed as a result. Also our operator kept to minibuses and 10 person groups.

Our driver and Guide Chrissy was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the area.

The route took us north alongside Lake Te Anau with superb views across to mountains partly shrouded in cloud.

On the route we took a diversion up the Hollingford Valley and a short walk up through rainforest to the Humbolt Falls. By this time it was raining quite heavily, our first in over a month of touring and the top of the 150ft falls was invisible in low cloud.

After traversing a mile long tunnel we headed down to Milford Sound and a 2 hour trip around the Fjord.

Although a clear bright day would have been preferable a rainy misty day had its advantages. One of the most dramatic features of Milford Sound is the enormous waterfalls many of which dry up a few hours after it stops raining. Further the dramatic effect of low misty clouds adds great drama to the views. See the pictures above.

remote Posted by Edwin at 9:36 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005 9:58 AM EADT
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Thursday, 10 February 2005
Queenstown to Te Anau Sunday 6 February

1) The Kingston Flyer Steam Train

2) Lake Wakatipu

We had originally planned for today to cross the Lake on the local Steam Ferry SS Earnslaw and then a rough stuff route over the mountains. However engine problems with the 100 year old ferry and forcast wet weather for the mountains forced a change of plans.

Martin and I decided to take the road round to cover a distance of 107 miles. Peter decided this would be too far for him and booked the Atomic Shuttles bus.

With the aid of a continental breakfast delivered by the hotel the previous night we set off at 7.30. We cycled alongside the peaks of The Remarkables Mountain Range and then alongside Lake Wakatipu as the sun gradually rose from behind the towering peaks of The Remarkables.

Our first stop was at a cafe in Kingston at the southern end of the lake after 27 miles.

A short distance on as we cycled along a valley surrounded by remote mountains we spotted some steam in the distance. This was the Kingston Flyer a steam train running a short route for tourists. The train crosses unfenced prairie land next to the road. We put the bikes down and got pictures from within 10 yards of the track.

Our next stop was at the small village of Athol with a pleasant Cafe. We then climbed to the 398 metres Jollies Pass. The road was then down or flat on straight roads to our last stop at Mossburn and another cafe. The village had streets such as Dorset Street and Sussex Street.

At the cafe at Mossburn I had my 3rd Carrot Cake of the day. One thing about New Zealand is that food portions including cake sizes are much more generous than in the UK. Cake sizes were usually twice as big.

We gradually climbed after Mossburn to a pass at 1699ft near the village of "The Key" The day had been mainly dry with sunny periods and temperatures of 28C. We had a few spots of rain as we crossed the pass, the first in a month of touring.

We descended from the pass and gained our first glimpse of the remote primordial mountains of the Fiordland National Park. The mountains were partly shrouded in misty clouds.

We descended to Te Anau to meet up with Peter at the House of Wood B&B.

Mileage for the day was 107.3. Climbing was 2985ft and an average speed of 12.6. Riding time was 8 hrs 22 mins.

remote Posted by Edwin at 7:52 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 10 February 2005 7:58 AM EADT
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Wednesday, 9 February 2005
A ride to Arthurs Point. Saturday 5 February (2)

1) Pond near Lake Hayes, Queenstown.

2) Lake Hayes

3) Arthurs Point Road

On returning from watching Martin's Bungy Jump I had a pleasant Saturday afternoon ride taking in some quiet and very scenic lanes north of Queenstown.

I returned at first on the main road and then turned off on a byroad alongside Lake Hayes with The Remarkables Mountain range as a backdrop.
I continued on more lanes in valleys with mountain backdrops.

Weather was hot and humid about 33C. I stopped for a welcome cold drink and ice-cream at a shop in the village of "Arthurs Point " and then a 600ft descent to Queenstown.

remote Posted by Edwin at 4:08 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 9 February 2005 5:04 PM EADT
Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Queenstown Bungy Jumping, Saturday 5 February.

1) Martin bungy jumping, original picture showing the great height

2) 10 times digital enlargement of a picture of Martin bungy jumping

3) 10 times digital enlargement of another picture of Martin bungy jumping

Today is Martin's big day. At 12.00 he will be picked up by coach from the Bungy Centre in Queenstown and taken 12 miles out of town to the 140 ft high suspension bridge over the River Kawarau.
This is the location of the AJ Hackett Bungy Jump Centre with Cafe and Spectator viewing platforms.

Peter was delegated to use Martin's Video Camera and I planned to take pictures with both my Digital and slide camera.

Peter arranged to get a lift with Martin's coach. I had had enough time off the bike and decided to cycle there. The day again dawned bright and sunny with temperatures up to 33C.

We had to wait about an hour as Martin was checked and weighed and then queued up. The weights can be adjusted so that the jumper can do anything from just missing the water, to the top of the head to a full dunking up to the waist. When given the choice Martin went for the full dunking.

The procedure is that the ankles are tied and the jumper walks out on the platform and on the count of 3 throws themselves off towards the water below. The jumper before Martin was very nervous and refused to jump the first 2 times he was given the count of 3.

To keep up cycling appearances Martin wore his Alpe Huez cycling Gilet. Martin leaped off without hesitation and got a very good dunking and then let off a very good yell on the rebound.

After several bounces up and down a recovery crew in a boat stuck a pole up for Martin to grab hold of and then pulled him down into the boat.

The whole operation was very professionally handled. Martin had paid extra for some pictures and a DVD and these were all ready within minutes of the jump

remote Posted by Edwin at 8:11 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005 11:09 AM EADT
Alexandra to Queenstown, Friday 4 February

1) Peters Bike on the Atomic Shuttles Bus at Cromwell

2) Martin in the Kawarau Gorge

3) Martin and the new tar road

Alexandra to Queenstown, Friday 4 February.

Today I started from Dunedin with an 8.00 am Atomic Shuttles bus to Cromwell 20 miles north of Alexandra to catch up with and meet the others for elevenses. When the bus arrived the driver had to turn the engine off to get the rack for my bike out of the engine compartment. When he came to start it wouldn't go so he gave the passengers a choice of waiting 30 minutes for a mechanic or all getting out to push- start so we did the latter. This was the first time I push started my bus.

The day started clouded and misty but gradually cleared up as the bus headed inland. By Roxbough 20 miles SW of Alexandra skies were clear with temperatures for the day due to reach a cooler (than yesterday) 33C.

Peter had decided that he wouldn't be able to cope with the temperatures and climbs so he booked with Atomic Shuttles the Bus from Cromwell to Queenstown. On arrival my bike was taken off the bus and Peters loaded on.

Martin and I rode through superb scenery alongside the Kawarau Gorge with its milky blue river with crystal clear blue skies. The only problem of the ride came when we reached a 4 kilometre stretch of freshly laid new tar and Chipping's. This immediately jammed up mudguards and we had to walk on the verge. Even here pieces of tar thrown up by cars jammed Chipping's into the mudguards and Martins front mudguard ended up torn in two and had to be taken off.

Further on our route we came to the Kawarau Bridge and scene of Martins planned Bungy jump of tomorrow. We stopped at the cafe and to view the production line of Bungy jumpers going off every 5 minutes. The record is 402 in a day

My mileage for the day was 36.8 and climb was 3427ft.

remote Posted by Edwin at 7:55 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 11 February 2005 8:00 AM EADT
Bike Repairs, Dunedin, Thuursday 3 February

Lake at Roxborough en route to Alexandra

Today was for me a lazing around Dunedin day while the bike repairs were completed, shopping, updating the website, sending emails, booking my next holiday! In Dunedin most of the day was cloudy and misty with maximum temperatures of 19C.

Martin and Peter had a harder day with a 50 mile bike ride from Beaumont to Alexandria. They were well inland away from the cooling effect of the sea and had clear skies and searing temperatures of 42C.Temperatures were near a record for the area.

They rode through a very scenic area which I gained quick views of on the bus the next day. Their accommodation for the day was at the Beaumont Hotel. You had to be careful not to blink and miss Beaumont as it consisted only of the hotel.

I picked up the bike at 6.00. Repairs were a new chain, a rear dropout saver, new gear cable and a Shimano Deore rear gear changer. Total cost with labour was 260NZ$ or about 100 pounds. With 2 nights additional accommodation it proved to be a very expensive sticky piece of stone.

remote Posted by Edwin at 4:44 AM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 8 February 2005 7:56 AM EADT
Saturday, 5 February 2005
DISASTER. Dunedin to Beaumont (2), Wednesday 2nd February

Mercian Bicycle on its Sickbed undergoing Surgery

DISASTER. Dunedin to Beaumont (2), Wednesday 2nd February

We continued on the descent of the gravel road to Waihola on the main road. As we neared the bottom the road finally turned back to smooth tarmac. A mile further on and we came to a section of newly re-laid sticky tarmac with loose stone on top not yet bedded down.

As I cycled along everything suddenly seized up with a sickening crunch.It would appear that a stone sticky with tar had stuck to the chain as it went round and jammed in the gears and in the second before I stopped pedalling the force of the pedal revolution tore the gears off the gear hanger tearing out one of the jockey wheels.

Close examination revealed that the really serious damage was to the gear hanger which is part of the frame. This was badly bent and the circle of the gear hanger torn apart leaving options of either welding repairs or a new frame.

We were just into town and a few hundred yards from a cafe so we repaired there for lunch and to assess the position. Where we were now and for the next few days of the route was very much the back of beyond
so far as bike repair facilities were concerned so clearly I had to return to Dunedin for repairs.

We decided to split up. I passed the map and the paperwork for the accommodation to Martin. The plan was to meet up in a couple of days.

We checked into buses for getting me back to Dunedin but there was nothing until the evening so I decided to ring for a taxi which cost about 30 pounds. The bike was stuffed in the taxi boot. I dropped
luggage off at Hulmes Court B & B and then the taxi took me and bike round to the Cycle Surgery Bike Shop. They sent me round to a local steel fabricator, Nealsteel. The bike was put on its sick bed for a spot of welding while I waited and a charge made of 10NZ$ (4 pounds)

Back to Cycle Surgery and although full up with jobs they agreed to complete the repair for 4pm the next day. This will involve fitting a dropout support to replace the threads lost by the damage and the welding. They will also fit new gears by borrowing some from a bike as they do not hold the right type in stock.

There are no buses Thursday evening so I next booked a bus for first thing Friday morning from Dunedin to Cromwell arriving 11.30. On Friday Martin and Peter will be riding from Alexandra to Queenstown and should be in Cromwell for about 11s so I rang Peter at the Beaumont Hotel and arranged
to meet up at Cromwell.

remote Posted by Edwin at 5:43 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 5 February 2005 5:52 PM EADT
Dunedin to Beaumont (1), Wednesday 2nd February

1)Brighton Beach

2)Sign for entering Brighton

3)Peter on the coast road

Following a route recommended by Pedallers Paradise we first rode along Stuart Street with a steep climb to 600 ft and then a long gentle descent down the Kaikorai Valley. After cycling under the motorway we took quiet roads on the coast to the south of Dunedin to the small seaside town of Brighton complete with Downland landscape inland. The town centre for this Brighton consisted of one shop.

We then continued on a beautiful coast road for another 10 miles with little traffic and mile after mile of empty white sand beaches pounded by the Pacific surf.

We turned inland at Taieri Mouth and as the road climbed to a vertical 17% it also turned to gravel and climbed on and on to eventually reach 1100ft. Peter must have looked to have needed it because a local offered him a lift to the top. Peter had doubts about the wisdom of this when it turned out that the affable driver was totally drunk and Peter had to hold the wheel for part of the way up.

From the top and on the descent there were great views of rolling downland which reminded Martin of Dorset.

Further on the descent we met the local who gave Peter a lift. He was driving back clutching the bottle of whiskey he had purchased in town. He stopped to chat and advised that our destination for the day wasn't worth going to with a lot of Billy Connelly phraseology thrown in.

See the next post for the rest of the day and some dramatic events.

remote Posted by Edwin at 5:10 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 5 February 2005 5:59 PM EADT
Tuesday, 1 February 2005
Vertical Climbs. Tuesday 1 February.

1) Martin falling off

2) Edwin pretending to ride up

3) Houses on the climb

4) Martin on the early part of the climb

Today was a rest day in Dunedin. In the morning we had some retail therapy including some more film and camera batteries and the obligatory browsing of the local bike shops. Elevenses was at the railway cafe and outside we spotted a signpost for various places in the world including Portsmouth 14,502 kilometres away.

In the afternoon rode a short distance into the northern suburbs riding via the University and a walk in the Botanical Gardens to visit Baldwin Street the steepest street in the world.

A rest day in Dunedin was planned in any event to allow for any problems with the bus transfer from Christchurch. It was a bonus to be in Dunedin with bikes and time to spare and chance to visit a street with a gradient of 38%.

We turned into the street and I had no plans to go up any higher than the early slopes having no intention of falling off after recent incidents. Martin however went straight for it,
I took pictures while riding for a short time and then got off and ran behind. Martin rode about 80% of the way up and over most of the steepest part before stopping. When he tried to start again he fell off being unable to get out of his cleats in time.

We visited the tourist shop at the bottom and had a tea stop at the Botanical Gardens Tea Rooms.

Ride distance for the day was only 3 miles but for the first time ever my bike computer registered a gradient of 40%

remote Posted by Edwin at 8:17 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 February 2005 5:48 AM EADT
Christchurch to Dunedin, Monday 31 January

1) Hulmes Court B & B

2) Taking the bikes off the bus at Dunedin

Today was the first of 2 rest days. To achieve our itinerary in the time and to avoid a long flat straight and busy road we took our bikes by bus
to Dunedin. The bus firm, Atomic Shuttles took bikes on a rack on the back and were able to take 2 per bus. We had booked 2 of us on the 8.00 am bus and the third on the afternoon bus. When we all 3 arrived the bus driver agreed to fit all three with some handlebar turning.

We arrived in Dunedin at 2.00 and had some time to spare to look around and update the blog website. We stayed at Hulmes Court B & B. Although at the top of a very steep hill this was a very good cyclists stop. Free guest laundry, free email access, good size rooms in an old house and very importantly free fruit and biscuits available any time and a large buffet breakfast

remote Posted by Edwin at 5:37 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 2 February 2005 5:50 AM EADT
Hamner Springs to Christchurch. Sunday 30 January

1) Looking back up the pass towards Hanmer Springs

2) Amberley Tearooms

We got away at 8.30 with the help of a continental breakfast delivered to the room the previous evening.

Hamner Springs is on a 10K deadend side turn from the main road so we headed down this road first. The main road had some ups and downs but more downs as we gradually descended from 1300ft to sea level.

We made good time and stopped for elevenses at 11.00 for a change at some tearooms at Culverden. We then headed on along a road quite flat and straight through Balmoral Forest to stop for lunch at more tearooms in Waikari. We then had a climb of about 100ft to the Wepa Pass followed by a 600ft descent. On the descent we spotted the Wepa Pass Steam train
labouring up the hill.

We stopped for tea at Amberley Tearooms passing up the chance to visit Amberley beach due to lack of time.We arrived at our B & B near Christchurch City Centre at about 6.00 pm.

Distance for the day was 81.4 miles with 1049ft of climb 2106ft of descent. Our average speed was 11.2 mph and time riding was 7hrs 7mins.

remote Posted by Edwin at 5:28 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 1 February 2005 8:59 PM EADT
Monday, 31 January 2005
Maruia Springs to Hamner Springs, Saturday 29 January.

1) Mossy woodland

2) View at our lunchbreak

3) Near the summit of Lewis Pass

For today's ride Peter was worried about the heat and the 900 metres Lewis Pass so he arranged to get a bus.

For Martin and I with a shorter than usual mileage we started the day with a soak in the hot pools and then elevenses at the hotel cafe. We bought supplies at the hotel as there was again nothing available on the route.

The climb to Lewis Pass at 902 metres wasn't too bad as we were already at 600 meters for our overnight stay. The scene was of remote mountains and forests and light traffic even on a main road.

The descent was one of the hardest I have experienced with a constant headwind and the road often climbed up and down the side of the valley.This was more than compensated for by the amazing scenery. See the pictures which are worth more than a thousand words.

The days mileage was 47.9 with 2870ft of climb of which 1870ft was on the descent from the pass. Average speed was 9.9 with riding time of hrs 43mins.

In the evening Martin and I tried a local remedy for our itches of a mixture of white vinegar and baby oil which had some limited effectiveness.

remote Posted by Edwin at 4:03 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 31 January 2005 4:56 PM EADT
Murchison to Maruia Springs, Friday 28 January.

Maruia Falls

We had a cooked breakfast delivered to our motel room at 7.30. Pedallers Paradise advised no facilities before our planned tea stop at Springs Juction so we stocked up at the Murchison Supermarket.

We headed south on route SH65 and stopped for an elevenses break at a scenic bridge where a side road crossed over the river. A few miles down the road we had another scenic stop at the Maruia Falls. This was formed only in 1929 when an earthquake diverted the river from its former course.

There was then a long gradual climb to Shenandoah Saddle where we stopped for lunch and waited for Peter.

Unfortunately we had now reached the realm of the Sandfly the serpent of the eden of the West Coast of South Island. These are like mosquitoes with teeth twice the size. They come out any time of day and laugh off most types of insect repellant.

Peter was feeling the heat which was again about 30C. By the time he arrived we were anxious to get away from the bites. Martin also needed to get to our nights accommodation early as he was meeting some friends who had moved to New Zealand. We agreed to meet up with Peter either at the Tea stop or at our destination.

The ride down from the pass was hard with many ups and downs and with the effects of the heat multiple cool drinks were needed at the Springs Junction Cafe.

With no sign of Peter we left a message with the cafe that we had gone on. Our destination was Maruia Springs Thermal Resort. This is about 10k up Lewis Pass but before the serious climbing starts.

Peter had an interesting story to tell when he arrived. On the ride from the pass to Springs Junction he found the heat was getting too much for him. He started talking to an elderly lady who was looking after some cows asking her if she knew of anybody who could give him a lift. She said she would do it herself except she couldn't be sure he was safe. Eventually she rang her daughter who told her that Peter sounded ok and to give him a lift. The bike just fitted in her car boot.

In the evening we relaxed away the aches of the day at the hotels geothermal hot pools.

The days ride was 60 miles with 2624ft of climb.Average speed was10.9 with 5hrs 24mins riding time.

remote Posted by Edwin at 3:30 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 31 January 2005 5:00 PM EADT
Nelson to Murchison,Thursday 27 January.

1) Martin on the road to Murchison

2) Spooners Saddle

For the Cycletourist needing an early start many New Zealand motels have the very useful facility that you can order a cooked or continental breakfast delivered to your room often as early as 7.15. We made use of this in Nelson.

Another useful facility is the guidebook Pedallers Paradise in 2 parts for North and South Island. This gives guides to routes including graphs of the climbs involved which Peter found useful to know and details of facilities on the route including shops and cafes.

The guide for todays route told us that after an elevenses break we were unlikley to find any food or water before our destination. We stocked up at a nearby Supermarket which was a Woolworths food store.

We headed south on route 6 with a stop for elevenses at a nice cafe in the small town of Wakefield. Soon after we started on the first serious climb of the day to 464 metres Spooners Saddle (pass) where we had our picnic lunch. There were fine views looking back along the valley
bounded by mountains to Nelson.

Temperatures were warming up by now. We were later to learn that in the inland area we were headed temperature during the day reached 34C.

After a short descent from Spooners Saddle we started a long gradual climb with a steep section over the last mile to the 635 metres Hope Saddle.

The last 20 miles seemed to drag. Eventually we got to our motel at about 8.30 pm.

Ride distance was 79 miles with 3464ft of climb. Our average speed was 9.8 and riding time was 7 hrs 52 mins.

remote Posted by Edwin at 3:16 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 31 January 2005 4:38 PM EADT
Picton to Nelson, Wednesday 26 January

Queen Charlotte Sound

Today's ride was very scenic riding on Queen Charlotte Drive alongside Queen Charlotte Sound with views like that of a Norwegian Fjord.

We stopped for elevenses at a cafe at Ngakuta Bay and then lunch at a Marina Cafe in the small town of Havelock. We stopped for a tea break at a cafe in the small town of Rai Valley before tackling the climb to 247 metres Rai Saddle. This was followed by a short descent and then the climb to the 357 metres Whangamoa saddle.

By the time we rolled down to the coast of the Tasman Bay we were running quite late and arrived at our motel in Nelson at 8.30pm.

During the day we completed 69 miles with 3421ft of climb at an average speed of 10.6 and time riding of 6hrs 22mins.

remote Posted by Edwin at 3:04 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 31 January 2005 4:27 PM EADT
Wellington to Picton, Tuesday 25 January

1) Leaving Wellington

2) Queen Charlotte Sound

Today we were due to catch the Interislandline ferry from Wellington to Picton on the north coast of South Island at 3.30 so we had some time to spend looking round Wellington.

A little crisis developed first thing as I realised I had left my small Pentax Digital Camera on the train possibly in the seat pocket. After a few phone calls to the lost property department and some checks were made it was established that the Camera had not been found during cleaning and the train had left a few hours before as the morning train to Auckland. The guard checked the train but there was no trace of the camera. We went to the Station and picked up confirmation that the loss had been reported for Insurance purposes.

Some retail therapy followed to find me a new camera and Martin some new cycling sunglasses from a bike shop as he had left his old ones in a taxi back in Hamilton.

The bike shop recommended a good local camera shop and I picked up a 5 megapixel Samsung Digimax V50 for 700 nz$ or 280 pounds.

In the afternoon we caught the Interislander catamaran ferry to Picton. There were great views as the ferry made its way into Queen Charlotte Sound

In the evening Martin asked me to help him organise the booking over the Internet of a bungi jump in Queenstown. This is the first time a Tour member has asked me to organise his suicide. The fateful day is fixed for the 5 February from the original Bungi Jump bridge at Queenstown. Watch this space!!

remote Posted by Edwin at 1:29 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 31 January 2005 1:42 PM EADT
Saturday, 29 January 2005
Hamilton to Wellington, Monday 24 January

For today we were taking our bikes by train from Hamilton in the north of North Island to Wellington in the south ready to start our exploration of South Island. We took the Tranz Scenic Overlander train which is one of only 2 a day.

The object of these trains is to view the scenery as much as transport with frequent stops and long hauls up the many hills with scenic commentary. The 400 mile trip took 10 hours.

Bike arrangements were quite good with the bikes pre-booked and we put them in the luggage van.

The train journey included a famous spiral where the line curves round on itself to gain altitude.

We got into Wellington about 9.15pm as the train was running an hour late due to speed restrictions on the line

remote Posted by Edwin at 6:29 PM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 29 January 2005 8:19 PM EADT
Tuesday, 25 January 2005
Rotorua to Hamilton,Sunday 23 January

Today we were due to get the bus back to Hamilton at 5.15 p.m. so we had the day to explore the thermal sights of the Rotorua area. Many of the best sites are some distance out so we took a prebooked half day minibus trip with Elite Adventures.

This was very good with Ben our Mauri driver and guide giving us all the local information and only us and an American couple in the group.

We started with the Wai-o- Tapu Thermal reserve with bubbling hot mud pools and multicoloured thermal pools. We then headed on to the Waimangu Vocanic valley to view more multi coloured hot pools among lush tropical vegetation.

We returned to Hamilton by bus and enjoyed an all you can eat 3 course buffet at a restaurant in the evening for 19NZ$ (about 9 pounds) With a lack of cycling miles we couldn't do this justice but managed 2 deserts

remote Posted by Edwin at 5:35 PM EADT
Updated: Tuesday, 25 January 2005 8:07 PM EADT

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