Saturday, 2 March 2013

Go West

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Over the Hills to Wanaka

As we packed in the morning we had an audience marvelling at the compactness our our gear and how it fitted into our panniers. This was hilarious. Then they gave us a royal send off!

The day was again bright and sunny although later we had a strong headwind to fight. The road up to the dam was steep and then we followed a newly flooded valley up to Cromwell. I'd been here before, two weeks ago! After a stop at a road-side fruit stall we continued onto Wanaka. Whilst we were pulled over brewing a cup of tea a tandem approached. We waved it down and offered them a brew. They were from England but had emigrated about a year ago, and were doing a day trip with the baby in tow. They caught up with us later at a small cafe.

The final run saw us riding down the hill into Wanaka. This was great, with the mountains in the background and the forest surrounding the lake in the foreground. We found a hostel overlooking the lake and booked ourselves into the bunk room. We took a walk around town in the evening. Everything is much greener here after the brownness of Otago.

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Dusty Roads with Spectacular Mountains and Lakes

I road alone today as Stefan decided to stay another day. I briefly bumped into him again  months later in the North Island on the Coramandel Peninsular, but we were going in opposite directions. This day was very hot and I had to be careful not to burn my arms. The ride took me along the side of Lake Hawea before crossing over back to Lake Wanaka. Parts of the road here were also gravel and quite treacherous. In fact it was so dry I had to stop every time a car went past as they kicked up such a cloud of dust.. Fortunately this wasn't very often.

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The camp-ground at Makarora was small and mostly catered for people staying in 'A' shaped cabins. The kitchen area was very roomy though and the atmosphere relaxed.