Mackenzie Country Brings The Hills

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It was an interesting pint last night. We quickly agreed that the NZ local tavern was nothing like a cosy English pub. The locals were lined up along the bar watching 'NZ RoadCops' on the box.  Conversation was limited to a few "F's" and "Bastard Cops" and the mood was positively negative.  Maybe it was like an English pub……in Birmingham.

We left the campsite much earlier than yesterday.  Up at 8:30 and away by 9:45am.  We were waved off by Zoe and her mother, lovely camping companions who were on their way back up to Nelson in a cool little camper van.  They were worried about us camping but I am more worried about them in the van, apparently the next few weeks are going to get very cold.

Pedalling out of the campsite we almost ran over an animal.  A cat, a dog, a hedgehog?  No, a lobster!  We really cannot work out what it was doing there but in the middle of the road in the heart of New Zealands interior, a lobster was sitting.

The morning was very, very smooth.  We hammered out 30 miles without any serious calorie investment.  It was flat and quiet, only the drizzle made it a little of perfect cycling.  It started through Blandswood Peel Forest and then into pretty standard agricultural land but I am far from complaining about the beauty of green grass and peace.  We even passed through Arundel.  All so wonderfully familiar, after so much unfamiliarity through Asia.

We did hit a building after 30 miles, strolling into the sweet town of Geraldine.  It was the first stop since Austria where we were able to relax with a coffee, a slice of cake and the local paper, bliss.

After coffee, things became much harder.  The hills started to kick in.  They are really tough, much shorter - mostly less than a mile, but really steep.  Our first NZ puncture forced an earlier than planned lunch.  No surprise that it was Pollys bike with the flat, but it was really not a chore to replace the tube whilst Pols whipped up a great ham and cheese sandwich.  The war memorial to those lost in The Great War was a lovely place to stop, the mountain mist enveloped us but we enjoyed being able to sit on our own without being surrounded by piles of rubbish and crowds staring at us like aliens (a standard Asian lunch stop).

The hills continued and the miles passed slowly, not that we were in a hurry.  Entering MacKenzie Country provided more stunning scenery.  Mackenzie Country is so named after 'Jock’ Mackenzie who ran his flocks through these hills in the 1840s leading the way for many more to follow.  It really was like Scotland or The Lakes, beautiful.

Stopping for a chocolate break I received a huge shock.  I have never been so shocked.  It was shocking.  I was not prepared for such a shock and it really shocked me.  That is the last time I rest my bike against an electric fence.  It felt like it had dislocated my shoulder as the current ran through my right arm down my leg to my foot.

Enjoying the view from a layby we realised the target of Fairlie was only 5 miles away and down in the valley.  It was an easy last leg and after stocking up nicely for dinner we checked into the ridiculously nice Fairlie Top 10 Campsite. The kitchen would not look out of place in one of that idiot Ramseys pathetic TV shows.  The lovely Library Café provided warmth and a drink and so we go back to our cosy little tent very happy about another beautiful day down under. Wet and cold it is, but we are having the best time!

Miles cycled: 60, still don’t understand how we were doing more than this
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triciagick on

Did you think of popping the lobster in a pot? X

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