Monthly archives: March 2008

29 posts

Striking it Luckie

No, that’s not a typo in my title. I mean to spell it like that. Why? Well, because I spent the better part of today in the Luckie Strike cave system on a caving expedition being led mostly by me! Of course, if you’ve been following along in my stories, you were already aware that I had planned on caving today, so this will come as no surprise to you. If you haven’t been following along, well then shame on you 🙂 After a good night of sleep at the Kiwitown Holiday Park, I was picked up my Emma from Absolute Adventures and whisked off to their cave system for a day of fun. From there, it was back to the train station for the final leg of my journey back to Auckland, and where I started my grand bike tour over three months ago. It was a bittersweet moment, and had some sense of finality to it. To read more about the caving and the final trip to Auckland, read on. Sorry, no maps of course, as the GPS remains dead. [No blog picture until I convert the pics from CD to my USB key, probably not till I get home]

Rails to Otorohanga

Good morning all. I’m blogging to you from the rails between Wellington and Otorohanga. That will be my destination on the day, as tomorrow, I’m gong caving all day in that region, and luckily, the train line stops pretty close to where I need to be. It’s the second last day of my trip, and the skies are overcast, with rain looking likely at some point. Too bad I’m camping tonight, isn’t it? Luckily, tomorrow night, I’ll be back in Auckland, so I’ll be able to dry the tent out and anything else if need be. Most of the scenery I’m passing through today is a repeat for me, so it’s unlikely that I’ll take too many pictures, although I do have to find a suitable one to go with this post, so I’ll see what I can do over the next 9 hours. Yup, that’s how long I’ll be on the silver tracks today. It’s a pretty significant chunk of the trip back to Auckland. Tomorrow I’ll be left with a mere 3 hour journey to the heart of Auckland. Read on for a few more thoughts on this ‘training’ day. Hee hee, ‘training’. Get it? Clever, don’t you think?

Windy Wellington Return

Howdy folks. Welcome back. Today sadly marked my departure from New Zealand’s South Island, on my return journey to Auckland, and ultimately my leaving of Aotearoa, after an awesome three and a half months. In order to make it a little more symbolic, I chose to ride my way off the island. I stayed in Blenheim last night, which is about 30km from Picton, where the ferry terminal is. My plan was to get up, cycle into Blenheim first to see that a little bit, then make the final journey up to the ferry terminal in Picton. I had an awesome night’s sleep at Ann and Murrays, and was up the next morning and sitting at the breakfast table with them by 8am. Of course, it was also Good Friday, which meant that most shops would be closed, so it was a good thing I ate with them, because finding a pie might have been tough :-). Read on for a little more info on my final day on the South Island. No really big stories, just a short narrative.

Deep in Wine Country

Greetings from Blenheim, the sunniest place in New Zealand according to the hours of sunlight it gets. I’m staying with a family overnight here, and it’s just awesome to not have any snorers in my room :-). Today was a pretty relaxed day, most of which was spent hungover, yet I still managed to do a mini cycling tour of the wine areas here. I only did 32km, and only drank at one place, picking up a bottle for my host family as well. I also visited what is by far the greatest aviation heritage center (not really a museum) you’ll ever get the chance to check out. To give you an idea, the owner of most of the pieces is Peter Jackson, and the designers of a lot of the scenes was Weta studios, who did all the LOTR effects. Pretty cool eh? Read on for the full tale, but sadly, no map. All attempts to revive my GPS have met with failure. Boo!

Encounters with Nature

The byline for this post would probably have to be “Camera Survived, GPS Didn’t” Yup, that’s right, after months of faithful service and helping me create great custom maps of all my cycling trips, my little Garmin looks like it can now officially be called dead. She fought bravely in the cold ocean waters, but in the end, it appears as though it suffered death by drowning. Too bad, it had always been waterproof in the past, but I think some of the knocks it’s taken on the road caused cracks in the housing, and the salt water rushed in and fried the thing sometime while I was frolicking with seals. Seals? Yup, I made my way to Kaikoura today, and the highlight has got to be swimming with New Zealand Fur Seals. Hunted to near extinction, but making a comeback. Of course, you’ll have to read on for the whole tale, and you can check out a partial map of the day as well. Sadly, this will be the last map you see. Good thing I’m almost done. Looks like I’ll be on the market for a new training tool now as well. Jealous Kevin? I’ve already come to grips with it, and I’m not that upset about it. It functioned great for a long time.