New Zealand post 16: A REAL MIXED BAG
Today is just like a packet of Liquorice Allsorts. You only really like a few, but to get to those, you have to take the whole bag.
It starts out with those single, double and triple decker sandwiches, which are the least favourite and most common, represented by an incredible abundance of traffic – cars, trucks, busses, caravans and Chinese, in their RVs.
We leave early to try to avoid the above, but only get about a 1/2 hour reprieve, before the steady stream starts and our game of fall in the ditch begins.
This continues for 41km as far as Lake Tekapo, aka Tour Bus Central. The lake is impressive, but the number of tourist coaches and Chinese in their RVs is next level! We grab a quick bite and get the Hell out of there !!
Next, the not-so-bads kick in, those tubes with candy in the centre and a thin wrapping of liquorice on the outside and their opposite – a dot of liquorice in the centre and candy round the outside- this in the form of a new bike route that we join from Lake Tekapo – the Alps to Ocean Route ( A2O). It mercifully takes us off the highway and alongside a beautiful canal, which should be an easy ride, but the vicious headwinds make it a monotonous slog. Not to seem ungrateful though, we’ll take it over the alternative any day, thank you!
After 30km of this, we finally turn off the canal, the wind is behind us, and we are into favourites territory- those liquorice jellies covered in 100s & 1000s.
This in the form of 10km of awesome, dedicated bike path that runs directly alongside Lake Pukake. We finally feel as if we are alone in the wild, untamed wilderness, except, from time to time, when the path pops back out into a parking lot filled with Chinese in their RVs – it’s quite bizarre, then like Alice in wonderland we disappear down a rabbit hole and once again enjoy the illusion of being in our own pristine world, then back into RV land, then off again on our own, private road…It’s like you have to take a sandwich for every jelly you eat!
The final 21km takes us into the realm of my personal favourite – the pure, unadulterated liquorice stick, in the form of a path winding through forest then open veld, miles from any road, with not a vehicle in sight – Heaven!
After a tough 101km, we are pretty shatteted when we finally reach Twizel at 18h00. Everything is full and we are forced to pitch our tent and are too tired to cook, so we make do with toasted leftover road sarmies and chips for dinner.
Come to think of it, I’m not sure the few favourites warranted working through the whole bag…