Saturday, 7 November 2015

Bike packing New Zealand: South Island

 South island here I come.
Some times you just have to turn around and ride back to take a photo.

 The South island has some pretty fantastic scenery, this is Perelous Sounds
 Finishing a days riding at the beach in Nelson. Its a hard life this bike packing malarkey.
 The road goes on, Southwards and into the mountains.
 Lake Rotoroa, bliss.
 Murchison Church, possibly the most unusual bivvi spot of my trip. It was late and the door was open as I passed so I decided it would be good to sleep under cover. I'm not religious but some times you do have to wonder... that night was minus 2 degrees, if i had bivvied out i would have frozen. Maybe the door was open for a reason?
 Some bivvi spots aren't quite so glamorous. This was the classic ditch under a bramble bush in the rain option.
 Arthurs Pass, the main pass across the Southern Alps. Fantastic views guaranteed... apart from when you cross it in a rain storm.
 Unlike the Western Side of the Alps the Southern side was bathed in glorious sunshine, perfect for a spot of sun burn. The landscape in New Zealand in incredible.
 Next stop was Christchurch to visit more friends from home. Christchurch was devastated by an earth quake. It was my first time in an earthquake zone and the damage was sobering.
 Crusaders! Being a tourist watching the rugby, Crusaders won.
 Back in to the epic scenery.
 That's Mount Cook in the background, the highest peak in New Zealand.
 This its my favorite picture from my trip, its only an irrigation canal, but the sky is epic!
 The sky was on fire as I rode up Flanigans pass. It was a little sketchy and more of a hike a bike than a ride. Not easy with a fully loaded bike.
 Another classic bivvi spot, the combine harvester bivvi. I was lucky to find this just in time to shelter from a massive electric storm
 Lake Wanaka...
 ...the tourist classic photo, the lonely tree.
 Riding up the Crown range, by this point i was massively regretting my 1 x 10 drive chain choice. At least taking a photo gave me an excuse to have a rest.
 For the record i don't agree with selfies... but some times exceptions have to be made.

 After 3 months on the road my trip had to come to an end, Queenstown was home for the last week.

The weather turned on the last few days of my trip as the first Snows of the winter fell. It was time to go home back to the norther hemisphere and back to spring. New Zealand is an incredible country and there is still plenty more to see, my flights back are already booked! Bring on the winter.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Bike packing New Zealand : North Island

After a weeks 'rest' in Sydney I was exhausted. I landed in Aukland and hit the road after a morning looking around the city. City life, isn't really for me so I was keen to escape and see what NZ had to offer.

Chasing shadows...

My first night camping was on the Seabird coast. It was the first night camping and a shock to the system. For some reason I presumed that sleeping in a sleeping bag liner at night in the NZ summer would be warm... it wasnt!

En route to Tauranga in the Bay of Plenty

The Mount, Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

Our family friends emigrated to NZ ten years ago. I was great to catch up and go for a spin in their speed boat! 

Next stop was Rotorua. The second half of my trip wasn't just about touring. I wanted to explore the world class mountainbike trail New Zealand has to offer and Rotorua was at the top of the list.

At the top of the trails in Rotorua, by this time the beard was sprouting and getting quite scruffy. I was proud though, it marked a landmark achievement for my baby face!

Heading South to Lake Taupo I spotted this graffiti, its like they knew I was coming!

The north island has plenty of geothermal activity. This stream is boiling hot!

I arrived in Taupo pretty exhausted so did some touristy stuff including taking this photo of Hauka falls.

Some times you just have to sit back and admire the view.

Back on the road or in this case off road! I cycled the Great Lake trail around Lake Taupo and then onto the Timber trail.

 The Timber Trail is a fantastic ride through remote ancient woodland. There are numerous suspension bridges across steep valleys that often sway as you ride across.
 A trail side bivvi on the Timber Trail. I learnt a valuable lesson, Possums like stealing food! A cheeky Possum ate my race cake as I slept, I was thankful they don't have bears in NZ
 After a long 3 days riding I decided to have a rest day... instead of resing I ended up hiking up Mount Ngauruhoe...
 ... otherwise known as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films.
 Suns out guns out!
 Onwards and South Wards. The next stage was the Mountains to Sea trail through the Whanganui National Park.
 I couldn't complain about the sunsets in new Zealand
The Mountains to Sea trail ends abruptly at the Whanganui River in the middle of nowhere...

 ... the only way out is by Jet boat, great fun! As you can see the other passengers were loving it.
 The Whanganui river... not bad!
 A highlight of the trip was riding into Wellington Harbour at sunset... I'm a sucker for a good sunset!
 I happened to arrive in Wellington at the same time as the Kaproti Classic, New Zealands longest running Mtb event.
I finished in 11th position in the race. I was pretty happy after a 40hour week on the bike and a 20mile hike on my rest day. Now i needed a proper rest before hitting the South Island.