From Akaroa we cycle to Hilltop again, this time with beautiful views and the sun shining on our backs. We continue our path on a rail trail, an old one which is cycle path nowadays.
Nice and easy we cycle along a lake where more than a 100 black swans are swimming. We can’t find a campsite in the evening, but some people tell us to camp at Coes Ford. When we arrive at a big field it feels a bit strange to spend the evening here. We decide to have a look at the only tent there is and the guy tells us it’s fine to sleep here for the night. We pitch our tent, cook a nice meal and dive into our sleeping bags early.
The next day we have a slow and windy climb towards Methven. Now and than we see the mountain range which is marvellous. At the end of the day it starts raining and it doesn’t stop for the next 30 hours. We stay the day in Methven and we don’t worry about the rain that falls on our tent. Our tent is as strong as a house. We spend the night in front of the wood fire, which keeps us warm.
Despite the grey sky in the morning we decide to cycle further and via Geraldine we end up in Fairly. In the supermarket we buy some woolly caps. It’s getting cold in New Zealand, very cold. When the sun disappears in the afternoon the temperature drops fast. The caps are great to keep us warm and we even sleep with them.
After Fairly we dive into the mountains. While the temperature feels like winter, the scenery is still like autumn. The colours around us are beautiful, especially when the sun is shining. Everywhere there is cattle with sheep, beautiful ones, with horns and curly wool. In almost every village you can buy the woollen products of these local animals.
The moment we pass the Burkes Pass we enter the New Zealand Alpes. The first white tops of the mountains show themselves. We spend the night at lake Tekapo, a lake with very clear blue water. There is a very idyllic little church at the shore of the lake: the church of the good shepherd. In the morning we crawl out of our tent and warm ourselves with a hot cup of coffee. Today we want to cycle to Mount Cook. We follow a path along a canal and we buy fresh smoked salmon at a salmon farm. It cycles great on salmon and soon we arrive at the Pokaki Lake. At the other side of the lake we see the last clouds disappear and Mount Cook shows himself.
In Glentanner we decide to go to the campsite. With warm cheeks we arrive at the reception. We put up our tent and settle ourselves in front of the wood fire. The next day we go for a beautiful walk at Mount Cook. We wander around the Hooker Valley, cross some expansion bridges and arrive at the glacier. With frozen water bottles we leave Mount Cook behind us and we are heading South. We spend a night camping in the wild at a beautiful spot. With a crystal clear sky we watch the stars. We pass the highest pass of New Zealand, the Lindis Pass. On both sides of the road there is snow and during our descent we swap our helmets for our woollies. Steven puts even his socks on his hands to keep them warm. This is how we roll into Cromwell.
After a rainy day in Cromwell we decide to change our plans. The weather forecast isn’t very positive with rain and cold temperatures. ……we decide to head for Queenstown. First we are going to search for a house and work. We will get back on the road in spring.
Akaroa- Coes Ford: 79 km
Coes Ford- Methven: 78 km
Methven- Geraldine: 71 km
Geraldine – Fairly : 47 km
Fairly – Lake Tekapo: 46 km
Lake Tekapo – Glentanner (Mount Cook): 81 km
Glentanner – wild camping before Lindis Pass: 98 km
Wild camp – Cromwell: 93 km
Cromwell – Queenstown: 64 km