October 28th Invercargill – Papatowai 113km
After letting Tia the boxer pup have a quick walk in the garden we left on what had the potential for a long ride. The city limits only took a few minutes to reach and as we passed through the acres of farmland the wind neither hindered or helped. The bright sunshine enhanced the views although the temperature still required a jacket.
The first stop at a café was fairly brief although it had lovely gardens made on the site of an old quarry with signets from the wild black swans swimming in the lake. The Southern scenic route we followed carried on through farmland, gently undulating through the occasional small township. During lunch we sat in a park and enjoyed the sunshine.
At Curio bay the scenic route changes direction, the sign said 31km to go. This turned out to be the end of the easy cycling with steep hills and a headwind. As we had already covered over 80km we had to fight our way up every hill with tired legs. When we saw the Whistling frog café and holiday park we were tempted to stay until we saw the prices! Onwards once more and the route was not giving up the last few km easily. What turned out to be the last climb had us both struggling, Maria said she couldn’t make it and I had no energy to encourage her so I just cycled on and she followed. As we descended into the township we passed the store and luckily managed to buy food just before it closed.
No campsite here, motel rates were high but we found a backpackers which was situated 1km along a gravel road. On the way however we passed a B&B that also had a cabin. $60 seemed reasonable and it had a shower and kitchen so fully self-contained. Caroline the owner was very friendly so were her cats and dogs. One cat had 3 legs and the other Poppy was more than happy to join us in the cabin at every opportunity whether it was the door or window which was left ajar. A lovely spot and a good rest, tomorrow should be an easier day!
View from last climb
Maria fighting her way to the top
October 29th Papatowai – Balclutha 61km
The first day I started out in t shirt and shorts, maybe the start of the summer? The road had a few minor climbs but in general was very cruisey. Only 3.5 hours cycling today compared to the 6.5 of the dy before. After finding a cabin we chilled out. Balclutha isn’t a pretty place, a slaughter house and processing plant are the main industry. Relaxing was the order of the day though and we managed that well.
October 30th Balclutha – Dunedin 95km
Early start and another potentially long day ahead. The fine rain defied the forecast and our hope for the start of the summer. A steep climb out of town followed by steeply undulating farmland made the first 20km a drag. We were both hoping this wasn’t going to be the order of the day! After a café break and a chat to 3 guys touring on motorbikes we headed off into a slight headwind. The road now much flatter seemed to get much busier so when we had the option to take the scenic route we did.
The hill to the coast was a killer, I would guess the steepest consistent climb so far. Now we have been up steeper gradients but not for so long. After 4km we hit the summit and rode down to the coast, my brakes could hardly bring me to a stop but slowed me down enough to survive the experience.
Now the route was beautiful, hugging the coastline with sandy beaches and rocky out crops. The weather was grey and a little drizzle fell but the wind was light and the road gently rolling. We cycled along Essex Road, then through Brighton, I can assure you there is no resemmbeklance to Brighton UK.
The scenic route changed direction again up a short steep hill followed by a short steep descent. As we turned at the bottom all we could see was the road climbing as straight as an arrow directly infront. On this climb a guy in a van drew along side and offered us a ride. This is the first time we have been offered a lift, we must have looked like we were struggling but with only 12km to go I thanked him but carried on cycling.
Eventually we reached the top and headed into Dunedin. It looked very grey and unwelcoming but once we found the hostel we didn’t care, another 6 hour day.
View of Dunedin from the hostel roof
October 31st Dunedin
Too tired to ride on today so lay in bed and watched a DVD. Caught up on the blog and then a wander around. When the sun is shining like today and you aren't worn out Duniden looks a different place. We have decided to stay in NZ for an extra 4 days and only go from Sydney to Brisbane missing Cairns. Although diving on the GBR would be awsome it is expensive and the logistics of the bike transport a pin so we will leave that till next time.