Page 4 of Clare and Vernon Travel Blog Posts

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales May 22nd 2006

Taking colds to Newcastle 11-15/05/06 We say our goodbyes to the hostel staff and head back into Central Sydney, we're going to cheat and take the train to Hornsby thereby avoiding the worst of Sydney's traffic. The Pacific Highway is a secondary road here as a freeway has been built next to it, so we get a quiet ride almost all the way to Gosford, although the bikes are rattling well under the strain of all the pot-holes. We meet two hills which we have been warned about, however we manage to ride up them both with a couple of recovery stops; they're not as steep as Kiwi hills. As we near Gosford, the road becomes busier and we seek refuge from the traffic on the combined footpath/cycleway. After a short distance having to regularly cross ... read more
Ray swimming in seaweed, Lake Tuggerah
Newcastle Harbour by night
Sunset at Nelson Bay

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney May 10th 2006

Two Poms in the big city 30/04/06 - 05/05/06 We arrive ahead of schedule and get through immigration incredibly fast, the longest queue is for Kiwis and Aussies, the everybody else aisle is almost empty. Amazingly the bikes have arrived on the same flight, we get them back together and entertain the crowds by removing many layers of clothing and emptying pockets before rearranging our bags and heading for the train station. As it is already dark we have decided to take the train to Central Sydney, rather than trying to navigate in a strange place in the dark. We reach the YHA and check in. May Day, our first day in Sydney, we walk up George Street to get an appointment at the Travellers Medical and Vaccination Centre for malaria advice; the earliest they can ... read more
Denizen of Sydney Aquarium
Blue Mountains
Saltwater Crocodile, Sydney Aquarium

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Christchurch April 30th 2006

Making all the right decisions 16-18/04/06 We have a choice when we leave Invercargill; we can take SH1 direct to Balclutha, a fairly flat and boring route on a quick road, or we can take the Southern Scenic Route through the Catlins, a much more interesting (and hilly) route. SH1 is the sensible choice as it will get us to Christchurch more quickly and we have a flight deadline. The first problem with the Southern Scenic Route is finding it! We cycle past the turning before looking back and seeing the route sign which has been thoughtfully placed on the southern approach, but not the northern one. Once on it we quickly leave Invercargill behind and ride through farmland on easy roads as far as Fortrose. At this point we can choose the inland route to ... read more
Curio Bay
Fossilised Tree, Curio Bay
Niagara Falls (New Zealand)

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Southland April 15th 2006

Our slowest speed yet 04/04/06 We're off towards Queenstown today, the forecast is for a southwesterley so we will at least get wind assist by the Haast river; we ride away from Haast Township into a northeasterly which stays with us all the way along the river - ho hum!! Our progress is slowed by photo stops at every waterfall we see, they are all very impressive since the rains of the last two days. We reach the Gates of Haast and the road goes up, a lot. We get off and push, doing the next mile in about an hour. Thankfully the road levels out considerably once we are higher up the pass and we can remount and ride again, albeit rather slowly. We make it to the top by 5pm and roll down the ... read more
Lake Hawea
Mural at Mountain View Backpackers, Wanaka
Queenstown lakeside

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast April 4th 2006

Mind the gap 19-23/03/06 We're off down the West Coast on State Highway 6, the road rolls gently for the first few miles, then we crawl up Costello Hill, before finding out what 40mph rain feels like freewheeling down the other side. We struggle over three more vicious hills and reach the sea, the views are amazing, beautiful little bays with waves rolling in; we want to live in every house we see. We reach Punakaiki in the late afternoon, our progress having been slowed by photo stops at every bay. The backpackers is full so we pitch the tent in their garden and say hello to the German guy from St Arnaud, again! The next morning we head for Greymouth, we're undecided if we will stop there or get as far as Hokitika, it all ... read more
If you ignore this sign...
... the consequences can be painful
Hokitika town clock

Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » West Coast March 18th 2006

Heading West 11-18/03/06 After a day mooching around Picton we're heading for Renwick in the heart of Marlborough wine country; we catch a nasty, thin, cold rain just as we crest the hill out of Picton, but soon afterwards the sun appears and the road flattens out. It's an easy ride into Renwick and we soon arrive at Watson's Way Backpackers. The next day we tour some of the local vineyards, but my tastebuds are misbehaving and I declare every wine I sample "foul" and spit it straight into the spittoon, Vern seems to like most of them! We find a decent local beer, some good olive oil and a Vern recommended wine, which we'll try when I've got my taste buds back. In the evening we drink the beer and play petanque. On the 14th ... read more
Picton Harbour
The ferry terminal at Picton
Vernon cooling his feet.

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington March 10th 2006

Sorting the knee 05-09/03/06 The road to Wellington from National Park looks like a great riding route when the local plant life isn't horizontal and the weather isn't blowing "againsterlies" (we'd like to thank Wafflycat for that description). As it is we're sitting on the train admiring the views. On the morning of the 6th we head into Welly to shop for Sealskinz for Vern, they're waterproof socks which he can wear with his cycling sandals (yes, we know Socks And Sandals - the horror!). While we're in Pennyfarthing Cycles we start discussing my knee and are overheard by Shane who, with typical Kiwi recitence, takes over the conversation and convinces me to have a Cycle Surgery session this afternoon. Which is how, later on, I'm sat on my bike on a turbo trainer pedalling whilst ... read more
The Beehive, Wellington
Corrugated Iron car
Watch where you're driving!

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Wellington March 4th 2006

Heading towards Mount Doom 27/02/06-01/03/06 We 're finally leaving Hamilton, it's going to be weird not being at J's Backpackers anymore and we can both heartily recommend it to anybody heading to Hamilton. Trevor and Bruce show their appreciation of our stay there by ignoring our departure, there's more important stuff to be done, like bagging a place on the sofa to sleep on! We say our goodbyes to Fi and head off towards Te Kuiti. The road is fairly flat, I think Peddler's Paradise describes it as "gently rolling" and the weather is kind to us, cloudy so not too hot and a side wind which only occassionally veers to a head wind. Sadly as we're approaching Otorohanga my knee starts to play up - what a surprise! We decide to stop for the night ... read more
Tranzscenic railway baggage car
Mount Ngauruhoe (honest!)
South Crater, Mount Tongariro

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hamilton February 26th 2006

Frankly this is beginning to get a bit repetitive!! New Plymouth 08-15/02/06 We decide to take the Intercity bus to New Plymouth and then travel down to Wellington for a few days before heading back to Hamilton so that the next medic can give us his opinion about my knee. We are booked into the Sunflower Backpackers which is in the centre of New Plymouth, the place is okay, but by midnight we've had enough of the boy racers revving their engines outside the window and the high pitched shrieks of assorted, inebriated females; it has been a long bus ride today and we both want to sleep. In the morning we head to the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery which has a collection of Len Lye sculptures, they are great fun. We particularly like the circle of ... read more
New Plymouth
Bruce and Vernon
Dracena Furiosa

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hamilton February 17th 2006

Off the bikes - doctors orders 28-30/01/06 We get dropped off at Anglesea Clinic this morning where a doctor manipulates my knee for a while before announcing that I may have a torn meniscus and I need to rest it for seven days, definitely no cycling. He then tells me that after two days rest I should start exercising it, he says "a really good exercise for the knees is cycling". I give him one of those looks and we come to an agreement where I will lay off for a couple of days, then bimble around gently on the flat and see how it goes. After a week I will try some "serious" cycling and if the problem is still there I will probably have to have an arthroscopy (aaaaarrrrrggggghhhhh). On the 29th we take ... read more
Hamilton Gardens, the Indian Garden
The Old Fire Station, Napier
Art Deco in Napier

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