Hard yakka: Cycling Picton to Rangiora
Day 11 of Peak to Peak was the morning after the Cook Strait crossing. After 45 minutes of wild partying the night before then going to bed at 8PM we both felt a little seedy the next morning as we jumped on the bikes and headed south. It was a beautiful day, and we were welcomed to the South Island with the first hill outside Picton to warm our legs up. We then had a nice cruise for 20km into the nice little town of Blenheim. My back tyre was worn out and having two flat’s already, I bought a new tyre and an inner tube. We had lunch sitting beside the river before heading off again. We soon hit more hills, and in the hot weather called it a day at 5pm, only managing a total of 80km.
The highlight of the day was finding this beautiful peaceful little place to stay called the ‘Pedallers Rest’. This is a converted shearers quarters which is now wonderfully set-up as a bikers stop-off point. It is on an active farm, about 7 – 8 km south of the small town of Ward. For $20 each Alan and I stayed here, all by ourselves and had the best nights sleep of the trip to-date.
We left with heavy hearts the next morning on our peddle south. However the beautiful views of the Kaikoura coastline soon made up for it, and we had an amazing ride into Kaikoura, arriving at lunchtime on another blisteringly hot day.
Kaikoura means crayfish in Maori. Kaikoura is a beautiful little town on the seaside, with great seafood, whale watching, seal watching and dolphin swimming adventures. We restored our lost energy with a beautiful meal of blue cod, then had a small interview with the local newspaper. We also needed to stock up on groceries and got a surprise to see our faces on the front page of the Marlborough Express newspaper. We set-off around 3PM, the day was so hot the road was melting and we peddled 20km around the beautiful coastal road, past seal colonies which stunk to high heaven (even though they look cute), before reaching a small campsite on the coast called Goose Bay. We decided to stop there for the night after a 95km day. The campsite was well set-up as all campsites in NZ seem to be. We set-up our tent beside the river and immediately got attacked and eaten alive by sandflies. “Where is the train track around here Grant?” Alan asked me. Within seconds his question was answered by a huge roar as a train rumbled past us on an overhead track about 30m away from our tent. We were in for a noisy night!
Between the sandflies and the trains, and for some reason I could not get comfortable, I had a terrible sleep. I was not sad to leave as we headed off again south the next morning. We very quickly hit the Hunderlee range. All morning was spent battling up and down hills on another blisteringly hot day.
We rumbled into a small settlement called Greta Valley with tired legs and 80km of cycling, looking forward to lunch. A blond girl was standing on the road corner – we assumed she was hitch hiking. As we neared her she said “Are you Grant?”. It turned out she was Nicola, a family friend from Taranaki who now lives in Christchurch. She had come out especially to see us which was very nice of her and we enjoyed lunch and coffee together. As we sat at the small cafe, a University friend, Barry and his wife Emma and children turned up also. They had located us from the SPOT tracker, so it became quite a powwow for a while. We were lucky enough to be staying at Barry and Emma’s house that evening, even though they were not home they had graciously allowed us to stay. We had a further 60km to go from Greta Valley, and were happy to find some nice long straits which saw us make quick time all the way into Rangiora, arriving at 5:30PM and 142km day. So here we are, tomorrow will see us heading further south and inland into the central Canterbury area. We are very blessed to be having great weather, no injuries and enjoying the riding and the beautiful scenery.
I leave you with this nice video that Tim Taylor made of our Cook Strait crossing. Its time for dinner and maybe even one beer to celebrate the day! Over and out from Rangiora,