With our hands waving in the air we walk through the customs and there we are. The Holland trip is over and it’s up to the two of us again. Via Bangkok we arrive in Taipei where we have to wait for 8 hours for our connection to Sydney.
At our way to The Netherlands Marlous had already seen that it’s possible to make a city tour organised by the Taiwanese Tourist Office. This seems a good idea to us rather then trying out all the chairs available at the airport. With our Dutch passport we are allowed to enter the country for 30 days. At a counter we subscribe for the tour and soon we find ourselves in a bus together with other travellers curious to see something of the city.
Our guide is vey proud of his country and tells us everything about his Taiwan. We visit some temples, the palace and the highest tower in the world. All together a nice tour and funny to be back in a Chinese looking country. We love the warm temperature and the for us impossible to read signs make us look curious again.
After the tour we spend some hours at the airport which turns out to be more modern than we first expected. The way to Sydney goes fast and before we know it we are waiting for our bags and box with new wheels. No one is really interested in our box and soon we are outside making a phone call with our host of the coming days. Mark appears quickly and together we drive to his house where we are invited to stay during our short stay in Sydney. Mark and Annemieke are our Dutch friends we have met in Sydney. We have 5 nice days with them preparing ourselves for New Zealand.
We say goodbye at Una’s and Pieter is so kind to deliver our bicycles safely at Marks place. We put our bikes in boxes and are ready to go on the 22nd .
By MaxiTaxi we arrive at the airport where we check in without any overweight. Virgin takes us into the dark and brings us to the other side of the Tasman Sea. A new adventure starts in Christchurch on the southern Island of New Zealand.
We have heard from people that the customs of New Zealand are very strict towards food and mud. We are told to be careful with the tent and the bicycles. With a brand new tent and a lot of new parts on our bikes we are queuing up to go through the customs. We declare our new stuff and this seems to make things very easy, because we don’t have to show or open anything at all.
Our Ozzie dollars become Kiwi ones and around 0:00 we are standing outside in the cold. At the entrance there is a small bus waiting for people and the driver shifts our boxes and us into his vehicle. We drive our first kilometers in New Zealand on the quiet street. Our booked cabin is no far and we find our key in a envelop at the reception. When we are laying in bed we both confirm that this has been our most smoothful arrival of the trip.
The next morning it’s time to try our new tent of Hilleberg. We pitch it up, make our bicycles ready and find out we left our keys of our locks from the bikes somewhere…. We buy some new locks in Christchurch and we have a look in town. The weather is beautiful with a clear blue sky. The city make a nice impression with it’s crowded streets. In the evening we are looking on the map and we decide to cycle to Akaroa for our first stop. Akaroa lies on a peninsula just outside Christchurch. The peninsula is an old volcano crater and on the top of the crater they have made a road called the summit road.
Anzac day, it’s early and quiet on the streets. People are walking to monuments in honour of the fallen men. We stop for a while at the cathedral in the centre of the city. Scouts are preparing a ceremony and there are bunches of flowers at the foot of a statue. Then we take a deep breath and we find out how it was to go uphill. The way up to the summit road is steep and we go very slowly. We find our way up the bending road as we are being passed by a lot of race cyclists. Nice to have some company along the road and everyone has some kind of comment. The traffic is used to cyclist and they all pass very carefully. Something different compared to their neighbours of Down Under. We take a little rest on the top of the hill before we continue the road through the mountains. On both sides we have amazing views . On the right side we see Christchurch and on the left the bays and the peninsula. The summit Road isn’t flat and we keep on climbing. Our first cycling day is a though one and slowly I am feeling my new hard saddle.
With an incredible descent we roll down to start with a very flat part of the day. The wind blows and our legs are feeling heavy from the hard intro of the morning. In Little River we decide to find a camping and a hot shower to finish the day. At the local tourist office they advice us to have a look at the yearly pumpkin festival of the village. The biggest pumpkin has just been pronounced and is standing proudly in the middle of the tent. We start our search for the camp site which seems a bit further than the promised 2 km ride. Finally we find the eco-camping and we put up our tent in the last sunshine of the day.
A grey sky is hanging in the air and despite the cold I am cycling in my T-shirt. We are climbing again, this time to Hilltop from where we should have a good view on the bay of Akaroa. It’s going though again like yesterday and we desire for our good conditions of Laos or during our ride through the outback of Australia. With our jackets against the rain and sweat of the warmth we reach the top but we aren’t rewarded with views. Surrounded by clouds we find Hilltop and in the restaurant we treat ourselves on hot coffees with pie. When we have warmed up it’s time to cool down by going down hill to the ocean. After this we have four other steep little climbs to train our muscles. The rain has stopped and our goal of the day makes everything worth it. On a beautiful green piece of grass we pitch up the tent with great views on Akaroa, the bay and the mountains.
Chirstchurch – Little River: 72km
Little River – Akaroa: 32km