Living The Cyclists Dream Down Under
Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
360Trip End Aug 21, 2011
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It was not a textbook cycle touring start to the day. Sleeping in until 10am and then spending another two hours over breakfast and finally packing up the tent and gear on to the bikes, is not how bicycle tourists should behave. At midday we pedalled away from Christchurch, around the airport where we had touched down 2 days before and off across The Canterbury Plains. It was fresh but the sun was there, it was the perfect autumn day. The bikes which have been fully serviced lasted two miles. Poor Polly had been struggling to keep up, we found this was due to a jammed rear brake. The root of the problem annoyingly is something which the mechanic must have broken and then ignored
We followed a road out to McLeans Island (no idea why it is so called, answers on the blog comments section please) which passed through a beautiful pine forest. We then turned off towards West Melton and Aylesbury. We stopped for our first break and agreed that we will take less breaks than we did in Asia (largely due to 2 bottles of water and 2 packets of crisps setting us back £9). The countryside was just perfect. Open fields either side of us and mountains in the distance (we will be climbing The Southern Alps in a couple of days' time). As expected there were lots of sheep also.
As we rested for lunch it was impossible to ignore the absolute peace and quiet. We could not have found ourselves in a more contrasting situation to the 5 months of constant noise and chaos of Asia. There was nobody around. For most of the day we pretty much had the roads to ourselves. It was damn good to have cheese and Branston pickle sandwiches for lunch as well.
The afternoons scenery continued to charm us. Through the beautiful villages of Charing Cross and Horarata we passed. We stocked up for the night in the village stores (only the second shop we found all day) and asked for the nearest campsite. It took us slightly off our route but we were delighted when we found the camping ground. In the village of Glentunnel we pitched our tent as the sun went down. The autumn colours of the forest paired with the sound of a rushing river made for a pretty perfect camping spot. No rain, spectacular scenery, no traffic, cheese and pickle sandwiches, I want every day in New Zealand to be like this one.
Miles cycled: 42 to get us back in the swing