A New Zealand "Sabbatical"
Permanent link to archive for 02/02/04. Monday, February 04, 2002

Waiheke Photos

This is a repost of an earlier post bu converted to links on February 4th, to make loading of the main log easier.

Some More Pictures

The follwing are a list of links to more trip photos. I decided to include just the links, to make the main log quicker to load.

Posted at 10:21:29 PM  

The Kaikoura Coast

It blew out of the north all night. I was hoping that it would last. When I got up, around 7, Jim Rudd was already out in a near by paddock with the dogs bringing sheep into a barn.
After having breakfast, I headed out fairly early, around 8am, to try to make it to Kaikoura, the next town on the coast, about 80km away. It was supposed to be a relatively flat ride. Once I got on the highway and had the wind at my back, I was able to really move out. I thought that it was going to be easy, hah! The ride was flat, except for the hills.
At about 10km I was passing a farmhouse and there was a fellow out front, with his dog, of course. He asked where I was from so I stopped and we chatted for a while. He was about my age and remarked that he traveled in Europe with a couple of Americans in the 70's (who were in the army there) and enjoyed it immensely traveling with them. He asked about Sept. 11th. It seems everyone saw it live and wants to know what is like in the US.
At about 20km into the ride, the road really joined the coast. I stopped at a store/restaurant there and got a bottle of juice. Shortly after I left, the northerly died and was replaced by a southeasterly sea breeze for the rest of the ride. Not good.
The road along the coast to Kaikoura is pretty spectacular. The road and the train line are often squeezed right together with the beach on one side and steep hills on the other. There are many miles (kilometers) of black sand beach. It is sure easy to admire the view when one is just pedaling along (unless struggling up hill).
One of the other advantages of bicycling is the smells. Not only is there the expected sheep, cattle and grass odors, but I would ride through areas where there must have been wildflowers, because I'd get these bursts of sweet aromas. There was one part where there was some herb or spice. It was a very spicy smell that I should me able to recognize, but I can't remember. It seemed like something you'd find in curry.
I could only ride about 10km at most without stopping, towards the end it was more like 5km. I was getting mighty tired towards the end. At about 30 km from Kaikoura, I was enveloped but a rather noxious fishy odor. I was passing an area of the coast that was really rocky, with no beach. I looked over and saw a sea lion. When I stopped I noticed that there were hundreds of sea loins drying out on the rocks and swimming in the surf, which was pretty heavy. The sea lions were spread out over at least a kilometer of coastline.
A few kilometers further on, a noticed more black specks out in the surf. As I got closer, they turned out to be surfers. There was quite a surf running and there were probably 50 out in the water; saw a couple of good rides.
After about 6 hours on the road I finally reached Kaikoura, which turns out to be a beach resort, as well as farm town. It seems that there is an area offshore that attracts sperm whales, which also attracts whale watchers. There are also several walks, including one that goes out to a point where there is a seal colony. I might walk out there tomorrow.
The place is crawling with little motels. B&Bs and hostels, but I had to try four places before I found a bed. I'm staying at the TopSpot Backpackers, which is pretty large, but fairly modern and seems clean. As I was coming out after checking in, the big green Kiwi Experience bus parked outside, so you can infer the clientele, about half my age. The kitchen, which is huge, not only has three stoves, but also a big audio system in one corner. It seems to have a collection of vinyl. I suspect that no one is going to walk off with 12" records. But, this means that most of the titles are from when albums were the primary medium, the 70's and 80's.
I'm going to stay in Kaikoura for a couple of days to rest up for the next leg, which has three 200 meter (600ft) hills in 20 kilometers, with a 200m and two 100m climbs, then has another 200m by 10km climb at 40 km out from Kaikoura before I get to the next place I can stay. The ride for the next 140km is one that I haven't the faintest idea how I'm going to get through. So much for the relatively flat coastal route to Christchurch. It may take me most of a week to get to Christchurch.
There is an alternative route, but it has a climb to 500m (1500ft), a descent to 250m and another climb to 500m and then it goes down, with a few smaller ups and is 16km longer. I don't think so.
More when it happens

Posted at 9:56:26 PM  

A Short Ride, A Lazy Day

I figured that I could either ride 20km to Pedallers Rest or 100km to Kaikoura today. Being that my legs were still awfully tired from yesterday's slog to windward (and being lazy), I chose the former. It was a good choice.
I got up this morning to the smell of baking bread. It seems everyone in New Zealand has a bread machine (and an electric kettle that quickly heats to a boil and then shuts off). Pete had set it up the night before and it automatically turned itself on and baked the bread this morning, resulting in fresh bread for breakfast. Pete came in and made eggs,scrambling about 6 or 8 of them. What a deep yellow. They tasted good too. Afterwards I packed up and left after paying NZ$20 for the night. The rate was $15, but he did feed me dinner, which wasn't included, so I felt that I should contribute an extra five.
The ride today was only about 23km and took about two hours. There were a couple of hills and I was being slow, but there was no headwind. There was no tailwind, either. The only excitement was when I went to put my water bottle back in the cage while riding and missed. I promptly ran over it with both the rear wheel and the trailer. Other than popping open, it seemed to only suffer a small hole in the lid. I'll probably replace it with a water or drink bottle, since they seem pretty sturdy. Not only are they cheaper than special purpose bicycle bottles, they come with an initial filling of the beverage of your choice.
I arrived at the Pedallers Rest Cycle Stop around 10:30, which is absolutely delightful. It is on a 3000 acre farm, run by Jim & Denise Rudd, who seem to be in their early 40's. ( I guess that since they have two children, one just graduated from college and the other in high school in Christchurch.) It is the family farm and they are the third generation farming it. They raise sheep (about 3000), cattle (about 350) and deer (just started deer farming) (about 325, plus whatever foaled this spring).
About seven years ago, they decided to convert an existing, unused sheep shearers bunkhouse into a hostel for cyclists. They figured that they were about halfway between Picton and Kaikoura, a good days ride from each, and that there was an unfilled need. The hostel has only six beds, a two bunk room and a four bunk room (beds in the two bunk room cost NZ$2 more). It has a kitchen, sitting area off the kitchen, two heads, two showers and a free washing machine ( my laundry is drying on line as I write). It also has a big covered porch with tables and chairs and a gas grill.
The particulars:
It is absolutely spotless. Denise was just heading down to clean it as I arrived (I was a little earlier than most, since it was only a short ride). It is bright inside with high open rafters above and lots of windows, making it very airy. It is more basic, but nicer overall than the one I stayed at in Picton, which I also liked. I think that it is the size, location and atmosphere.
They also have a little store for guests with basic foods and their own lamb. I got some stir-fry chunks to marinate, grill and have with my rice tonight. They also have nicely made long sleeve, Merino wool cycling jerseys, of their own design and manufacture, but at NZ$160, they are a little beyond my budget (and I have a long sleeve jersey).
Jim just walked by with the five sheepdogs, three border collies, a "beardie" (not exactly like the bearded collies at home, but looks similar) and a short haired black and tan dog (looks a little like a retriever in shape).The latter two are used to hunt down errant sheep and control them by barking. The beardie is 15 and sort of retired. There is also another old border collie, who is retired and seems to be the pet, since she doesn't stay in the kennels with the other dogs.
A German couple arrived in the afternoon, having ridden from outside of Blenheim. They are pitching a tent, so I still have the bunkhouse to myself. He is a programmer who worked for a small company that was developing a CRM product, they seem to have been merged into the big German software conglomerate, SAP. He was working on a Web front end for the product, but it was abandoned after the merger. He then decided to leave. He and his wife are taking a six month tour of SE Asia, where they spent four months and New Zealand where they will be spending six weeks.
I hope to make it Kaikoura tomorrow. The northerly has filled in this afternoon.I hope it continues through tomorrow.

Posted at 9:11:15 PM  

Daily Digest 4 Feb 2002

  • Cycle Dist: 286.14km,
  • Total Ascent: 426meters
  • Ave. Speed: 18.82kph
  • Riding Time: 4:34
  • Total Elapsed Time: 6:38
  • Spent: NZ$46.00 (2 days room)
  • Start: Pedallers Rest Cycle Stop, Ure River
  • End: TopSpot Backpackers, Kaikoura

Posted at 8:53:31 PM  

Daily Digest 3 Feb 2002

  • Cycle Dist:23km, Total Ascent:181 meters
  • Spent: NZ$26.80
  • Start: Clifford Bay Farmstay,near Lake Grassmere
  • End: Pedallers Rest Cycle Stop, Ure River

Posted at 8:49:55 PM  

Last update: 2/22/02; 10:27:15 PM
Copyright 2002 - Steven Magnell

Click here to see the XML version of this weblog.

This site is edited with Radio UserLand, the first personal Web Application server for Windows and Macintosh.