Otago Rail Trail

Riding the easygoing Otago Rail Trail meant to us the last k’s with heavily loaded bikes since the start of our biking adventure at the Mexican border last May. We knew this dream had to come to an end and we were prepared for it but it felt strange, and still remains from time to time unreal. We just have to accept the fact of having no fully geared up bikes for a while…Even if we’re feeling a bit sad, we’re also looking forward to the new possibilities the near future will offer. We took a bus back to Queenstown, rented a car and circled around the Southern Alps for few days. It’s one of the most fantastic regions in Aotearoa.

Although not through cycling eyes, Mount Cook National Park and its surroundings were one of the highlights of our traveling through New Zealand. The colors were just amazing: after a dry summer, long grass has turned yellow surrounding isolated groups of green needle trees, Lake Pukaki, just south of Mount Cook, is turquoise blue, and the previous night powdered most of the summits and ridges with fresh snow. Really, just fabulous. And not forgetting the dirty icebergs floating between Lake Tasman and the waters from heaven.

Christchurch, the last stop before leaving New Zealand. We have to admit that being in Christchurch is an once in a lifetime experience by itself. After all the devastating earthquakes, walking in the city center feels like walking in a huge movie studio set up for an apocalyptic scenario. Big buildings flattened as if a giant would have walked on them, impressive cracks in the pavement showing how much the ground was torn apart, and all the debris left as a witness of the destructive violence. Michiel wanted to experience a small earthquake, and his wish was fulfilled during the first night when the shaking of the ground woke us up leaving us with an unsafe feeling.

Tomorrow, we’re entering the USA again for a big five weeks, spending time on three different Hawaiian islands. Must be a nice way to end up this year of traveling.

Enjoy April, S&M

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PS tips for the NZ government: first, hygiene in NZ. Can you please, oblige (most of the time German) wannabe hippie backpackers to have a shower every other day ? And please, with shampoo and soap. They poison way too many public places. And second: sandflies. Please introduce a natural predator for these bloodsucking creatures. A species of possum feeding on them would be great.

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