Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cycling Oamarama Twizel Mt Cook Lake Tekapo

November 6th Oamarama – Twizel 35km

A beautiful sunny day with no wind or a little tailwind at some points.  This flat stretch of road only took around 1.5 hours to cover.  If we hadn’t of left so late we may of considered going on to Mt Cook but instead we found a cabin for $60 and relaxed.  We had run out of clothes so laundry was done and even dried on the line, the first time since we arrived.  I got chatting to 2 old guys who also fed me some of their home made rum.  One guy was 75 and the other over 65 and tomorrow they are going fishing but have to do a fair amount of off roading first, river cr ossings around 3 feet deep!  Good on em!

We watched a couple of dvds and they were both rubbish, tomorrow we are aiming for an earlyish start as we have 66km to Mt Cook.

November 7th Twizel – Mt Cook

Another lovely sunny day with little wind.  The road passes through farmland for the first 10km then turns off toward New Zealand’s highest peak.  After a few km the road follows the side of Lake Pukaki with incredible views and the brightly coloured water.  With the views of Mt Cook getting larger without too much effort from us we decided to stop for lunch.  A café is conveniently placed 23km short of the village and proved an ideal stop.

Now I moan about the weight of gear I am carrying but we bumped into a German couple with 2 kids, both having huge panniers front and rear he was pulling the children in a huge child carrier and she was also pulling a trailer loaded with gear.  We chatted to them for a while and they were struggling with the weight, I am not surprised!  Opting for buses where possible they were managing to cycle 30km on an average day and 50km on a good day from what I could gather and were freedom camping as well in places.  It looked way too much like hard work for me.

We carried on with our light loads J heading for the YHA.  The last 10km we head a strong headwind but the road was flat and are legs had rested well yesterday so no problems.  I felt bad however for the family travelling behind and wanted to go back and help but would you trust somebody to take your gear for you? I am not so sure.

Anyway got a room for the usual $58 cycling discount the normal price here is $110!  We ate and unpacked, then the family turned up and we let them know about the discount so they stayed too.  Day off tomorrow.

November 8th Mt Cook

Today was another rest day including a look around the information center and the Hilary museum.  The film playing in the information center was excellent showing a mountain rescue however the poor guy died in the end from internal injuries.

The Hilary museum again was very good describing the history of the Hermitage Hotel the museum is in and the stories of other Kiwi climbers and adventurers.  Several old cars, planes and a copy of the tractors used to drive to the South Pole were on display.  We had to pay to watch a film on the late Edmund Hilary but it was very informative if a little expensive.  The 2 short walks in the area both meant riding on gravel tracks until reaching the starts so we decided to just soak up the views from the village.  We have a dvd for tonight and an early start for tomorrow as I guess 100+km to Lake Tekapo.
Statue of Ed Hillary

Maria & Ed the polar bear

Mt Cook 3754m

November 9th Mt Cook – Lake Tekapo 104km

Left5 at 8.30am after having a chat to the manager who was from Colchester, he gave us an alternative to the main road so we will take that.  Said goodbye to the German family who were going to Twizel today but by bus, I guess they are being quite selective of their route and with aall that gear I can’t blame them. 

We had a still morning which was a shame as I was hoping for a roaring tailwind J however the first 22km to the coffee shop took less than an hour.  After a quick refuel we carried on, the lake looked far darker today in the cloudy conditions.  We reached the main road in under 2.5 hours which wasn’t bad for 55km and rode for just 2km more before a lunch break at the tourist information site at the bottom of the lake.  An English couple came over to chat as he was a keen cyclist and had just done the length of the UK but supported.

After lunch we cycled for2 or 3km more before turning off the main road to the canal road.  The first 12km were flat but then 3km of steep climbing.  At the top a salmon farm was the next stop but no coffee shop so just a chocolate bar and a loo stop.  Now the road followed a canal which fed the hydro station.  The water was back to the incredible light blue color and the road flat.  A headwind had picked up but not strong, we crossed the main road but the canal road was closed from here on, many people had said to just go around the gate but with only 15km to go we didn’t want to get turned around so we went on the main road.  The road passed an army camp before going down to the lake.  We headed for the YHA who had no private rooms left but did have a caravan.  We had a look and it was nice and big with a view of the lake, perfect.  We quickly dumped the bags and went to buy food, it had been raining since we left the canal road so we were a little damp.  Food dvds and bed.
Bottom of Lake Pukaki leading to Mt Cook

10th November Lake Tekapo

Well another day off!  We have a few days to kill before we reach Christchurch so no hurry.  A lie in and then a walk was the plan but we got chatting to another cycle tourist from Taiwan called Neil.  This turned into quite a long chat as he was interested in routes to take.  He also had a lot of gear and had been rough camping from Christchurch to here as he hadn’t been making the towns by Dark!

Well the time had gone for the walk we planned so just a stroll along the lake and a few pictures.  There is a little church on the lake which must be a favorite for weddings as the views are breath taking, it did inspire me to pop the question though!!

A bit of organizing for the rest of the day then the hot pools for a soak, should be a good day off.

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