Today was another great day (although I think we’ve been saying that about them all). We were fed and sent on our way by our hosts (thanks again Geoff and Maureen!) and after a short but perilous descent down a very steep driveway that required the foot brake in addition to full squeeze on the levers, we hopped on the Hawea-Wanaka cycle trail and rode on towards Wanaka and (you guessed it!) second breakfast.
This is another nice fast easy trail, especially with a decent tail wind. It is also widely used so staying in control is paramount. Luckily our Raleighs have excellent geometry for easy handling and when loaded up with all our gear they have the kind of handling that bike manufacturers have been trying to replicate since, well, the 70s I guess. It’s the stuff of dreams. Lovely dreams of course.
We made it to Wanaka without incident. We saw some people who recognised us from much earlier in our ride way up north in Paeroa and stopped to chat about the trip (NZ is a very small place); and I took the advice of the lady on the West Coast Wilderness Train and used my bell to warn people.
Now just so you all know, a bell is a happy notification that a cyclist is approaching. It isn’t urgent, or impatient, it isn’t intended to startle, and it doesn’t need you to do anything if you don’t want to, especially if there is already space to get past. Some people don’t realise this so I'm terribly sorry to the lady who was pushed into the ditch by her partner when I rang my bell 50 m away and the trail was 4 m wide. I could have got by easily, but thanks for moving anyway.
We had Eggs Benedict again in Wanaka.
Then we rode to Cardrona Hotel and over the Crown Range. If you like riding up hills (believe or not these people exist 🙋🏼♂️) then this is a brilliant climb.
We had been warned by Geoff that the ride isn’t over when you get to the top, even though you can see Queenstown, but it looked so close.... so we naturally discarded the warning and assumed we were nearly there.
After a decent rest we carried on. But what is 30 km of easy downhill and flat riding on the road, is 50 kms of downhill, level, downhill, level, uphill, downhill, level, up, down, level, up, down, level, gradual climb, down, level, up, down, level, and up by the TA route.
It’s a nice trail, but we definitely should have listened to Geoff. The cycle trails to Queenstown are well used and busy so the bell was put to use again keeping the trail adequately warned about our approach.
In Queenstown we stayed in a dorm room and really have to apologise to the other occupants: the window was unceremoniously thrown wide open by them around 10 seconds after we walked into the room - a sure sign we needed a shower. We took the hint, showered, and had a large pizza each for dinner.
Elevation gain: 1326 m
Distance: 112 km
Time spent on bikes: 6 hours 10 minutes
Max speed: 55.1 kph
Calories burnt: 4696