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hakataramea pass

i had a light start into the day until the turnoff for the hakataramea pass at kurow. it was perfect cycling weather with enough clouds to cool down the temperature in an otherwise blue sky.

the hakataramea pass was another recommendation from bob, the guy we stayed with at the buller gorge. a quiet gravel road leading through one of the most beautiful areas of the south island.

i found a wonderful spot for the night directly at the hakataramea river. since these were my last days in new zealand i was happy to experience all that makes it such a great country for cycling like here in mackenzie country.

the pass itself is not that high. so the crossing of several fords was the most challenging part. i went further on gravel and over the mackenzies pass before i came out at burke’s pass village, where i passed with jens, laurence, sarah and churo about four weeks earlier. from then it felt like the trip was coming to an end as i only retraced my steps on known territory back towards christchurch.

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dansey’s pass

it was nice cycling weather when i left ranfurly and it stayed that way until halfway up the pass. the top of the pass was engulfed in a black cloud which i soon couldn’t see anymore because of the mist that was getting more and more dense and a constant drizzle was cooling me down considerably. but it was a rather fitting atmosphere for that kind of scenery. the road leading to the pass vanishes in the mist.

on top of the pass the sight was reduced to 30 meters and the drizzle was now a proper downpour. the downhill part was quite tricky. sometimes the gravel gave way to sheer rock with muddy patches on top which were slippery and more than once i was rather sliding downhill.  i was chilled through and through after the descent and the last kilometers were dragging on until i stopped at a campsite as i was in dear need of a hot shower.

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travel

otago rail trail

once in middlemarch, the start of the otago central rail trail, it began to rain and i opted for a stop at the kissing gate cafe. along the upper taieri gorge the trail is crossing viaducts, leads through tunnels,

and over some of the original bridges from the rail line.

there is an informal camping just next to that bridge with a river flowing beneath it providing water and inviting the dusty cyclist for a swim. early next morning i was on my way again to ranfurly where i would leave the rail trail towards danseys pass.

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dunedin

my motivation stayed with me until dinner but was rapidly reclining within 5 minutes. washing up and brushing my teeth was all i could muster before crashing into bed. i got up once for breakfast the next morning but went back to bed immediately and stayed there until the afternoon. in the evening we enjoyed a couple of drinks and the view from the roof top terrace and recalled the highlights of the past weeks cycling together.

the next day we said goodbye at the railway station where jens and laurence hopped on board the taieri gorge railway to get towards the otago railtrail. the two of them would continue to the westcoast whereas i would take a more direct route back to christchurch.

i followed an invitation from maria and david whom i met at amberley a couple of weeks earlier. their house is a bit outside of dunedin and overlooking the ocean. here i had two wonderful rest days and started refreshed towards the central otago railtrail.