Monday, 15 February 2010

Update from along the Otago Central Rail Trail

Since my last update on this blog I have travelled almost to the other
side of the South Island, from west to east.
As you could have followed on Twitter the Haast Pass was pretty
spectacular and heavy, but the actual steep part wasn't that long,
only about 2km.
The scenery does change once you cross the pass into Otago, as I felt
that the air was dryer and you ride on more flat bits.

Wanaka was a grand little town, it gave me a great vibe, and would
love to live their, if only for a few years. The Mt. Aspiring National
Park is only about 40-50km away, and the tow. Is just at a sweet lake
with a splendid view. Spent there a restday, walking around Puzzling
World and strolling through town. The next day it was a long climb up
to the highest public road of NZ, the pass over Crown Range, passing
the access to the Cardrona ski field. The road down was an alpine
style way down, and tested my bike quite harshly. The headset of the
frontfork had quite a bit of room, so that had to be fixed in
Queenstown. Fortunately the guys at a bikeshop lent me two spanners to
fix it myself :).

My plan of riding to Glenorchy wasn't completed, as the ride was just
to hilly and heavy, continuously going up and down. Therefore I spent
the rest of the afternoon in Queenstown, which is quite long enough to
see everything there. Even with a nice stop at a Starbucks (white
chocolate mocchachino's are superb!) and an hour in a jetboat on the
Kawarau river.

Next day cycled past quite a few vineyards and through the Kawarau
gorge to Cromwell. The next morning I met a British cyclist also
heading for the Otago Central Rail Trail (OCRT) and decided to ride it
together to Dunedin. Up until now Dominic and me have spent just about
100km together. If you're interested, his blog is

At some moments of the OCRT all we miss is some Enio Morricone music,
rolling tumbleweed, and either John Wayne or Clint Eastwood on

It is true that the trail is never very steep, but still can be quite
an effort with a strong headwind. It appears also that the nights are
quite cold, but after noon the sun starts to burn.

This morning we, Dominic and me, got offered breakfast by Bill and
Jennifer from Ashburton. Coffee and toast. They were quite interested
in our stories so far, and were quite keen in telling theirs. Thanks
so much for that!

Tomorrow finishing the OCRT in Middlemarch, and then taking the scenic
train into Dunedin, saving us cycling into the busy traffic of
Dunedin ;). No, this doesn't feel like cheating sis!

PS. If on the OCRT, do not stop at Hayes Engineering. They charge you
for just walking around and the food and drinks are way too expensive.
Stop at the tavern in Oturehua, they're cheaper and sell a good pint
of Speights ;).


  1. It was good riding with you, hope I didn't drive you mad with all of my crazy talk! All the best, Dominic

  2. Thanks Dom, it was also good riding with you. And no, you didn't drive me mad, instead I think that it maybe inspired me a little bit for another travel (Coast 2 Coast US sounds like a sweet plan). Besides, it was better than arguing with myself while cycling alone ;-).

    Hope the remaining days of your trip are well, don't miss the Queen Charlotte Drive to Picton, that's sweet! All the best, Eddo