We spent the evening and night at Lake Pukaki free camping at a beautiful spot with clear view on Mount Cook. Because of the good weather we are lucky to see Mt Cook all the time the next days. We ride along the shore of Lake Pukaki following the A2O (alps2ocean) trail. We meet a kiwi family on 2 hase pino bikes from Dunedin who ride it the other way. That reminds us of course of Jurgen and Barbara except that this family has older kids that actually help pedalling.
The A2O trail is very diverse but stunning especially between Lake Pukaki and Omarama. From gravelroads to dry, dusty and very hot land to riding along a straight clear bluewater canal to Lake Ohau, where again the winding trail follows the shore of the lake. Again we meet up with fellow cyclists, 4 kiwi’s on mtb who are doing it the easy way. From Lake Ohau it is a 12 km beautiful but tough (and doable) offroad climb with spectacular views. We are loving it! The ride down is a fast one and with tailwind we arrive in Omarama.
From Omarama to Kurow the trail follows a few lakes that are connected by dams that provide electricity by hydropower. The water from Lakes Tekapo, Pukaki and Ohau are collected here and generate the energy. Unfortunately it is a cold (10 degrees) and cloudy day and again we face headwind but Ivar leads the way. We get photographed by Roger Whitefield who is so kind to send us the images. Thanks Roger!
From Kurow the A2O trail has new sections that are only open since a few weeks, the official opening was just the day before we ride there. We pass a wineyard, ride along farmland and wetlands and are offered homemade lemonade for 50c as we talk to the owner of the land. The track is still very soft with loose gravel. In Duntroon we pass the elephant rocks and then go into a crazy gravel ride with very steep ups ( with switchbacks!) and not so much downs. It takes us a long time to do only a few km! Climbing is still tough for Anneke, but she just stops often to catch her breath, but she makes it to the top that way! (Ivar: I’m very proud of her!)
In the end there is of course the downhill part as we have to go to the ocean. We arrive late that day in Oamaru but we made it! So far we cycled 617km in 10 days, so now we take a bit easy until we reach Dunedin. We cycle each day more than anticipated, so we have a bit of rest in Oamaru and hopefully see some penguins here. It is said they walk up to the campingground here. We will see…