“You two look as though you are in the zone” were the words we heard from a delightful young lady called Chantelle who wanted to take our photo as we were enjoying a well deserved lunch at the top of the Lindis Pass.
Wanaka – Omarama (75 kms)
Sunday was not a good day to ride over the Lindis Pass. The Wanaka show had been on over the weekend, Motatapu the previous day, and a rodeo on at Albert Town. Hence the Pass was very very busy with traffic of varying speeds and it appeared at times little thought for two cyclists slowly climbing up the Pass! The road didn’t have much verge either. But we sure enjoyed our lunch at the top and said thanks to our angels for protecting us.
The good news for the day was that Colin had dropped us off at the top of Cluden Hill (north of Tarras), saving us 40 odd kms – oh that was a real bonus. We didn’t think Motatapu had affected us physically – but by the time we reached Omarama, I was sure ready for a hot shower and cup of tea. We pitched out tents at Omarama Top 10 Holiday Park which was top notch, very clean with great facilities.
Omarama – Kurow (66 kms) part of Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail (A2O)
Today we joined the A2O trail which went via Otematata to Kurow. Don’t expect a good coffee in Otematata!! We crossed the Benmore Hydro Dam which was made from dirt – quite spectacular location. As we cycled alongside the Waikati River, one couldn’t help but notice the changing colour of the trees. The road from Benmore Dam down to Aviemore was sealed and very quiet, it was great cycling.
Later we crossed the Aviemore Dam. When growing up I’d heard of these dams but had never seen them – so to finally see them and realise their location was revealing.
To cycle into Kurow (Richie McCaw country) was cool. It’s a cute little town with a very informative I-Site receptionist. We have found the I-Site centres a valuable resource in a town. They have so much knowledge and always willing to help – no question too small or too stupid. I know it’s their job, but they do a wonderful job.
We had another great tent site at Kurow Holiday Park. After a meal of fish and chips we decided we needed to walk our dinner off, so off up the Kurow Hill we went. We loved the sign at the bottom, especially the part about being “huffy puffy”, and mentioning the fact that there were armchairs on the way up if you felt you needed a rest. It did cross our minds – however did they get the chairs up there?? If in Kurow and needing something to do, do this walk – the views are well worth the effort. After that walk I was sure ready for bed.
Kurow – Oamaru (86 kms)
Our last day on the road saw us packed, fed, and on the road by 8 am. It was going to be a big day for us as majority of time we would be on trails where our average speed is slower than on sealed roads (which is pretty obvious).
We intended to visit the Maori Rock Art just before Duntroon but it was closed. But luckily for me there was a coffee van – oh it was a great coffee. Linda, owner of the coffee cart was trying to convince us to the ride main road to Oamaru, kept referring to the two hill climbs on the trail. We couldn’t make it out why and still don’t understand why she would recommend the main road route. We said to each other “we can ride main roads whenever, but we can’t always ride great trails.” We loved the trail to Oamaru, it went through beautiful countryside with magnificent views. Sure it had a couple of good climbs but we’ve come to accept what goes up must come down and besides it’s character building – yeh right some may say. We even met a woman who took our photo while we were having lunch (being photographed was becoming a common occurrence, which baffled us). We meet a young French couple on a tandem and wondered however would they manage the tight hairpin turns with their longer bike?? We also meet quite a few other cyclists all on electric bikes. The electric bikes are very common and I guess if they enable people to get out and enjoy the trails – why not.
We stopped for a much needed cuppa at at Gods Old House, Windsor. It’s a beautiful Oamaru stone church built in 1914 but now only offers tea and coffee, no cooked food, (it used to offer accommodation). It’s well worth the visit.
We arrived in Oamaru around 5 pm and cycled to the end/start of the A2O trail through Oamaru gardens (which are beautiful) and down to the old wharf. There was no-one around to take our photo together, so here is me.
Our adventure has now come to an end. What an amazing adventure it has been. Thank you Sari for your company, guidance, leadership and very generous spirit. We have had incredible experiences (some out of comfort zone stuff), met remarkable people, and seen magnificent and stunning scenery. Would I do it again – sure would. What would I do differently – at this stage nothing. Equipment – perhaps a faster boiling billy. We only had one puncture the whole journey and no other mechanical issues – our bikes performed like us – reliable and steady!!
So that is it from me, there will be more blogs to come: recipes from our generous hosts; equipment we used and handy hints etc.
Take care out there! GoldCard gal