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30ml. Day off today and cycled to Mt Cook village and took the 3hr walk on the Hooker valley track to see Mt Cook. Really glad I came on Herman’s advice. Absolutely stunning.

Herman, great guy making his way up to camp and hike up on My cook for 4 days.

Mt Cook summit.

The Hooker valley track

 

 

Mt Cook ahead.

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50ml. Nice route to start with along the blue water canals then onto the Alps to ocean trail around lake Pukaki. Mt Cook and surrounding mountains look awesome. Got a puncture on the road up to Glentanner but made the campsite before the rain.

Mt Cook in the distance across lake Pukaki.

Herman and my bike

Having a break on the Alps to ocean trail on lake Pukaki.

Following the blue water canal.

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27ml. Steady day but bad road. Busy with traffic and no shoulder. I rode with Herman, an Aussie and he has talked me into diverting to Mt Cook tomorrow. Beautiful lake Tekapo but too many tourists for me. Had to queue to book a pitch for the tent.

Beautiful lake Tekapo.

Camping at lake Tekapo

Tekapo

Lake tekapo

The southern Alps.

 

Burkes pass.

Leaving Fairlie.p

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51ml. Another really hot day. Not too exciting along the road today but a fantastic camping site at Fairlie. Talked to the owner and very friendly, gave me a towel for the shower and some teabags. Nice chap.

Top of the hill before dropping down to Fairlie.

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47ml. Left Jill’s at 11am so a late start and a steady day again to the beautiful Rakaia gorge. Fantastic views here and met a lovely English couple from Nelson area. After a chat and some pictures I made my way to freedom camping at Hind bridge.

Hind bridge camping.

On the way to hind bridge

View from the bridge.

Beautiful place

Fantastic view from the top looking down on the gorge.

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59ml. Steady day on good roads but not very scenic only in the distance of a mountain range. Arrived at warm shower host, Jill. Lovely house and a lovely person. I was impressed that she had cycled the top to bottom, Te Areora route solo in two months with panniers. One fit lady. Great chatting about travel etc. Fantastic pasta meal and a lovely breakfast. Didn’t want to leave.

Glentunnel village

Oxford Tavern.

Cenataph at Cust on a break

Cust village.

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56ml. Late start at 11am due to rain. Took highway all the way to warm shower host Jeff and Caroline. Great family and lovely tea made by Jeff. Showed me around his nursery. Massive place and a great attitude towards life. I learnt how life should be.

 

On route.

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26ml. Well it’s a shame it’s ended but great experience. I set off late today and experience more beautiful scenery. Finally over jacks pass and drop down into Hanmer springs and the pines holiday park for a well earned day off tomorrow. I clean the bike and do some maintenance on the bike in the morning then go to the hot sulphur pools to see if it does my leg any good.

View from top of jack’s pass.

Beautiful sunset.

Pines camping

Hanmer hot sulphur pools.

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37ml. Another fantastic day of scenery and admiring views. 35° heat and hard climbing again. Met David and his 2 lovely kids and they made me some tea which was very kind of them and also for the second night running, gave me a cold beer which went down well. Rob the ranger here passed me and offered to take my luggage to Acheron, but I wouldn’t have got up the two remaining climbs with no weight on the loose gravel surface. Finally arrive at Acheron camp and Rob the ranger gives me a cold beer before I set the tent up.

Acheron camp

Steeper than it looks.

 

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35ml. Woke up and still suffering with groin and getting on bike. In pain when I walk but pedalling is ok. The road is isolated so you have to take your own food and get water from the mountain streams.  A very hard day with some steep climbs but beautiful scenery and isolated road. Im riding alone as Josef likes to do his own pace and tells me to set off and not wait. I try my hardest on the steep climbs as if I stop, I wouldn’t be able to push it up with the injury. The heat is also making it hard work as it’s 35°. I arrive at 16.30 at Cob cottage to camp for the night. There’s only a toilet and running water. Josef turns up a few hours later.

Cob cottage

Dry landscape but beautiful

Tough climb’s

Tough route but worth every minute.

 

 

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42ml. After breakfast at Rene’s, I head to Blenheim and take Taylorpass rd. This is gravel but cuts out a corner and the main highway to the Molesworth. I head with speed through a ford in the bottom of a dip. Big mistake, the concrete under the water is like ice. I’m down and suffer abrasions down my right side. After checking myself and the bike and mopping the blood up I carry on. I’m in pain and think I’ve torn or strained my groin muscle on the right side. I can pedal but find it hard to get on and off the bike and stop putting my right foot down. Anyway I manage 60km and ask a farmer if I can tent in his field and he lets me. I also meet a Hungarian lorry driver, Josef, who is touring on the bike like me and he catches me up and also stays in the field in his tent. I hope a night’s rest will make the leg better.

Great scenery all day.

On the Molesworth.

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38ml. After breakfast at Baden and Shelley’s, I follow the river to Wellington after Baden very kindly booked for me the previous evening. I was going to follow queen Charlotte drive round to Nelson but there was no campgrounds anywhere and I got off the ferry at 6pm. Luckily I received a reply off a warm shower host 20km south of Picton. So route changed again. I arrived at 7.30pm just in time for tea. Rene and his wife were great hosts. So relaxed about life. He advised me to take the Molesworth station trail to Hanmer springs. What great advice. One of the highlights of my trip.

Arriving at Picton

Windy crossing

Leaving Wellington

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48ml. Hit Martinborough and called in a bike shop for a new cassette. Fit a new chain and 36/12 cassette, old one was 34/11. Hills are steep here so hopefully I can get up a little easier now. I took the Ripataku rail trail to upper Hutt, wow great trail but headwind all the way up the 7km climb. The wind blew me off the bike once. Lovely scenic route to Upper Hutt. I stayed at warm shower host’s, Baden and Shelley’s, fantastic host’s. Very kind and great conversation about their travels.

Shelly and Cliff. Baden left early for work. Missed his picture

Rail trail

One of the old rail tunnels

The Ripataku rail trail.

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76ml. No wind today. Very hot 35°. Great route 52 to Masterson then on a quiet road to martinborough. Warm shower host on longbush rd was Tom. He had to work so left the empty house to me. Beautiful quiet place. Tom was a great host and stayed and talked to me for 2hrs before he left. Loved listening to his travel tales via tandem with his wife.

 

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Wimbledon tavern

30ml. Very windy day quiet rd but extreme heat, lumpy and bad head/side wind meant only 30ml. Great camping spot at the tavern garden though and a few pints of beer too.

Pitch in the beautiful garden

 

World’s longest place name.

Road to Wimbledon

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55ml. Chose the quiet route following the tukituki river. Very emotional after leaving mum. Didn’t leave till 12. Lumpy a lot of the way so hard going in the extreme heat. Arrived at Blackhead campsite at 18.30. nice site right on the sea.