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Published: November 11th 2007
Well the trip within a trip has been completed. It wasn’t a bad way to see New Zealand. The problem after seeing so much of a country is you realize that there are bits you have missed out on. This is probably more so the case after spending a relatively long time in the same country. Ah well I am still young. It can wait till 2011 when I shall come over to see Jonny own Dan.
The last six days of the trip have been uber productive in terms of land covered. Something like 500 or so kilometers. It seems like a lot more in the wind. The pain and the shakes seriously kicked in on the last day between Waikawa and Invercargill. I was generally feeling quite satisfied with myself though so the pace was snail slow, partially because of the ferocious fifties hitting me straight on the bonse. Also to blame was my obsession with stopping for pots of tea e very time I saw a remote café, en route four pots. This has done nothing to re assure that NZ tea is of good quality. It tastes strangely crap, can’t quite put a finger on it
though. It did provide a bit of respite from the constant Blitzkrieg outside.
I managed to get From Queenstown to Invercargill around the Caitlans in 6 days if my memory serves me correct. The only mishap was the de railer cracking and flying off my bike just outside Alexandra. I managed to get that problem resolved sharpish so it did not kill on momentum that I may or may not have had.
There were to real reasons for getting a bit of a sweat on. One been that I had decided to cycle round the Caitlans from Queenstown instead of just heading straight down from Queenstown to Invercargill. I guess this added something like 400km to the journey. The other reason was because I had given myself a pretty tight schedule to get there as I had booked a really cheap bus ticket back to Christchurch.
The Caitlans seem to pass with a blur apart from two defining moments. The 1st been the serious wind over the whole of the Caitlans which was on par with Arthur’s pass. The second was a hostel I stayed at in a place called Milton. I say hostel but I guess
holdup in the Caitlans
As holdups go this one was more acceptable than others i have had
it could really pass as a hippy retreat really. This place was run by squat dwarf from Switzerland called Toni. As my luck would have it he was a cyclist of the hardcore/foolish variety. He had cycled up through India and Nepal on a bike with 1 gear and had also cycled straight through the center of Australia! I cannot really comprehend this but he had photographs as proof of his struggles with the land and the bike. He almost put Shackleton to shame.
The 1st question upon arrival was,
“Do you juggle?”
“Want to learn?”
“Well im just a bit cack handed when it comes to coordination orientated things”
Anyhow he wouldn’t give up so I gave it a bash. Safe to say after 30 minutes Toni didn’t have me up to circus standards. After asking me about yoga (outright rejection) we settled on a DVD called the Fastest Indian. It’s based on a bloke called Burt Munro from Invercargill who broke a speed record on a motorbike against all the odds sometime ago. Not bad at all. Especially as it was semi relevant to the part/area of the world I
am currently in. I couldn’t fault Toni’s little hostel in Milton really. He even does the washing up for you which is a 1st and will even bake bread for you in the morning. All the small things. In a strange sense though my meeting with him probably put me off the idea of been an eternal traveler type that he seemed to be.
The only other off putting bit from the final leg of my journey was the return of another crazy canine. From my experience you will rarely find a dog outside of a city in NZ that is there for purely pet purposes. This is especially true (take note NZ tourists) of a dog that resides on the 1st farm on the unsealed road leading up to nugget point in the Caitlans. Its one crazy dog. This dog made a determined effort to get some of my skin. The only re assuring thing about these kind of dogs is that they always have some kind of invisible barrier where they stop chasing you. The only problem is not knowing where this barrier starts! The only problem with this little conformation was that I knew we would
meet again as the road to Nugget point is one way. This didn’t stop me desperately trying to look in the map for a way of bypassing my new aggressor. Put simply it was a matter of jumping in the sea or confronting my fears head on. Decided upon confronting it. I managed to save all my energy reserves for a 500m burst of peddle power past the canines abode armed with a tent pole in my left hand just in case it came to close quarters combat. Luckily it was larking in the yard with some bitches of its kind. From this moment until I reached Bluff I was wary of any dog barks coming from isolated houses. It’s amazing how far a dog bark carries in the wind! I think this was the first canine confrontation since the Coromandel that had seriously put the shitter’s up me.
When I got into Invercargill, which was essentially the end of my trip there was just a sense of relief that I could now hop on and off buses at will. I could now be in places in a matter of hours rather than days.
The final day was
pure bliss cycling from Invercargill to Bluff. I decided to take all the bags off my bike and leave them at my hostel in Invercargill. It was nice to be able to ride a feather for the final little bit of my journey. Bluff is a pretty unremarkable place but it did serve the purpose of been the ending place for my trip.
My only regret was that I couldn’t find a good resting place for my chariot. Ideally I would have liked to have chucked it into the sea but I got a bit paranoid about been spotted by some copper. So I left it standing up against a load of barrels. In retrospect I should have tossed it into the sea and run the risk of been exiled from NZ forever. Something tells me worse things have been done before.
Tot: 1.431s; Tpl: 0.059s; cc: 14; qc: 60; dbt: 0.0357s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.4mb