We never thought 36 hours was long until we flew from NL to NZ, trust us, it’s long. We arrived in Christchurch on Saturday the 2nd of January at 16h and we were in bed by 20h. Slept for 12 hours and luckily we felt a lot better the day after.
On Sunday we visited Christchurch and saw a lot of the rebuilding going on still after the earthquake. The Re-Start mall made from containers is a special place, after such a tragedy which has happened here. It’s rainy and only 15 degrees, about the same temperature as when we left The Netherlands.
We try and buy all stuff we need to start our trip on Tuesday, but due to a bank holiday here in NZ we can’t find a good frisbee which is definitely a need to have. Luckily the frisbee community here helped us out and Simon Weeks gave us a New Zealand mixed ultimate championships disc! We will make good use of that during the trip 🙂 He turned out to be a world cyclist as well.
We leave Christchurch with great weather, and the cycling goes well. It’s mostly flat but a lot of it is on some minor highways, so we learn to bike as much to the left side as possible with big trucks passing us by.
The only non flat bit is when we descend into the Rakaia Gorge, which has beautiful clear blue water. We also have to climb out of the gorge which is quite hard and steep: 15%!
We meet a lot of lovely people down the road, and they all give us great advice on where to go and what to see, and telling us how to pronounce all the city names… as we are doing that wrong! Ivar evens learns the words Kai and Taka, both meaning good food 🙂
Until Lake Tekapo it is a fairly easy bike ride for us, and we even ride up with two other dutchies on a tandem. Lake Tekapo is also wonderfully blue, a real pleasant sight.
Unfortunately the night at the lake was one to remember. The wind picked up and during the night it was storming ravenously. We really thought the tent was going to fly away, Ivar went out a couply of times to add more lines and pegs and secure the tent.
The last day towards the Alps we take the Braemar road to Lake Pukaki, our first ride on gravel. The gravel is ok itself but the strong headwinds make it a bit more challenging. The road offers great views and slowly the Alps come nearby and that really makes it spectacular. At the end of the Braemer road halfway Lake Pukaki, we pick up the Alps2Ocean track, which goes all the way from Mount cook village to Oamaru. Because the ride from the Braemer road to Mt Cook village is a one way trip we decide not to do that part, as we would have to do it twice then. The first part ends with the mountains from the Alps in plain sight, rising high above the clear blue Lake Pukaki.