Tour Aotearoa – Day 2.10

It stopped raining and the sky was actually blue! Woooooohoooooo! Today was going to be a good day!

We set off and it was freeeeeeezing cold, and the road was such a drag. A lesson in roads for you Jersey folk reading. In NZ they don’t make roads with a really nice asphalt seal on top to make it smooth, instead they get some tar, chuck some rocks at it and hope some stick. Done. They’re all janky and not in any way shape or form smooth, which makes riding on it reeeeeeally hard work. Even better when the sun shines it gets tacky and the roads melt! Winner winner!

It was however beautiful climbing up the valley, with the river below, which was bright blue still and the mountains above us, with a little smattering of cloud.

We pass some really epic waterfalls crashing down the rock face, of course it meant we needed to have a Peter Andre moment. And of course a car drove past when we were doing this haha!

Eventually after winding up the valley we make it to the base of the hills so we stop for some lunch. Bad move. A million sandflies were also hanging out there too, and decided to ignore the bug spray and join the party. They were not invited to the party! We quickly scoffed the (disgusting) gluten free wraps we’d made, although most of the wrap fell to the floor. Even the sparrows that were hanging around weren’t too keen on eating it!

As we left the car park, a woman was stood out on the road, she was waiting for another group of bike packers who were behind us… although… they had a load of their stuff being driven for them! CHEATS!

New signs for the modern day man…

We were at about 55km for the day at this point, I’m sure the book said the climb was at 60, so off we tootle, thinking the hill is to come soon, around the corner my bike computer beeps at me and says hill 2/4. Hmmmmm, maybe this is the hill… the road gets steep, this is the hill. We pass over Haast Pass bridge, you will know it if you’ve ever driven over it, the most powerful river crashing through rocks and it’s bright blue! Sadly we didn’t get a picture as cars / hill / trying not to die by angry cars killing us after one had already hit me with its wing mirror but use your imagination. It’s pretty epic.

We climbed, climbed and climbed. It got steeper and steeper. 490m climbed in 3km. It was steeeeeeep. My legs weren’t playing ball and just had no power at all and it was just a struggle to keep spinning.

The road flattened out and bit, and we were surprised it was already over. Although the climbs are rubbish, we do seem to be getting better at them. I think living in Wellington has been good practice!! Eventually the road returned to a climb and we were at the top, wahoooooo!

It was beautiful, really dense forest again and the thought of a 3km descent coming our way too!

We fly down the other side, thankfully no cars try to overtake us as we’re descending this time, unlike spa-gate the other day! Then came the long stretch of road to Makarora, it was all gently down hill, but my god were there some arseholes on the road again. One particular Maui campervan close passing us, pulling in to go to the blue pools, then close passing us AGAIN! That stretch of road has certainly been the most dangerous part of the whole trip for sure.

We call into Makarora for a coffee, cheese and onion toastie and much to James’ disappointment, the pies are all faaaaaancy with blue cheese and other such lovely things that he doesn’t like, so he opts for hot chips and a coke. A car who close passed us further up the road is parked up outside and goes to drive off. I spot his petrol cap flap is open, and my small bit of revenge for him close passing us is to not tell him. Muhahahaha

The road takes us alongside Lake Wanaka, then up and over ‘the peak’ to cycle alongside lake Hawea. We’re still not entirely sure how to pronounce Hawea, but are doing so with a Geordie accent and it works for us! Hawea pet! (James: the pet is just for added style)

Of course it starts to rain, so jackets on. Then as soon as we’ve put our jackets on it stops. Classic. The scenery is stunning though, reminds us both of Scotland as all native bush around here has been cleared.

Is it even a day if we don’t get caught out by rain and have to hide under a tree

The stretch of road alongside Lake Hawea, is also full of arsehole drivers, one is so bad I take his rego to report him to the police. Thankfully he’s an arse with a personalised number plate which makes it really easy to remember! He overtook on a double yellow, 100kph stretch and gave us no room at all. He deserves a letter from the cops and a record on his license!

At Lake Hawea we call into the shops to pick up a snack and a cold drink. Was supposed to refill the water bottles too, but I forgot. I grab James a pie and me the BIGGEST slice of carrot cake. I would not be exaggerating if I said it was bigger than my hand. When I came out the shop, James is chatting to a guy with branded socks from his work. Eh. Turns out he’s the brother of one of James’ colleagues!! he recommended the track were about to do and we leave him to ‘enjoy’ the rest of his break in a house with 4 families and more children than I care to think of (apparently they are their own children, why would you get extra, eww)

With a combination of google maps and our actual route map, we find the trail. Once again it goes past the most clear water I’ve ever seen, which leads onto a bright blue river, where we pass some kayakers playing in the current.

The path starts to get boring and we’re a bit over it, when finally we get to the bridge which is our photo point for this section. -doesn’t mention me being on the bridge and someone else then going on, only for me to reverse, them not say thank you so me get a weeeeee bit pass ag and say ‘you’re welcome’ loud enough for them to hear- whaaaaaat, I was tired and they were rude

Fiiiiiiiinally, we make it to Wanaka, past some veeeery swanky houses. We decide that we’re going to drop a couple of casual million that we have hiding down the back of the sofa and buy one and work remotely from here.

We plonk ourselves on a bench and try to find somewhere to stay for the night. Again, it’s expenny, but surprisingly cheaper than Haast and a much higher standard!! Google maps says 2 minutes, sweet. Google maps fails to mention it’s up a (what feel like) 500m hill, it’s probably only 50m but still, after 150km it’s not what I wanted!! Checked in, showered and changed be wander back into town for some food and find a Thai restaurant as I neeeeeeeeeed vegetables. The food is awesome. I get slated by James for only ordering one portion of rice to share, apparently although we only ever share a portion of rice, this is not sufficient. (James: not after we’ve just cycled 150km you **** {turns out he’s still sensitive about it today!})

The food takes over an hour to come out and it’s getting late (considering we’re usually in bed by 8pm, getting food at 8:30 was quite the challenge) when it arrives it is taaasty and just what the doctor ordered!

We manage to waddle back to the room, jump into the most comfortable king size bed, don’t even realise James is there as it’s so big and off to sleep. Successful day completed.

The adventure continues…

One thought on “Tour Aotearoa – Day 2.10

  1. I woke up this morning and see that you’ve brought the showery rainy weather with you! Grrr. Yesterday was primo here. Looking forward to catching up on the not-so-dusty trail later today folks.


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