Cunninghams On Parade - 2017 New Zealand: Return to the Shire travel blog

First stop today was at Elephant Rocks, interesting limestone formations.  Can you...

It wasn't particularly hot today so I can only suppose these guys...

Unfortunately we were on the uphill direction of this long climb, but...

I don't know what kind of flower this was, in the Oamaru...

On most bike rides there is never a finish line so you...

This friendly gentleman from Taiwan wanted to get his picture made with...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Oamaru, New Zealand

TRAVEL QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” - Albert Einstein

And we have been moving all week - today is the last day of the Alps 2 Ocean bike ride! And what a day it was…..

We woke up with the alarm at 7:30 to another foggy day. It was quick to burn off though, gone by 9. Ate breakfast that Ted had left us: toast with butter and jam, yogurt, coffee/tea, fruit. It was a good start but not nearly as tasty as those boiled eggs yesterday! LOL. We finally pushed off at 10. We rode 6km to the Elephant Rocks, which is an area with big limestone rocks sitting in the middle of a big green field. They filmed some of The Chronicles of Narnia movie here. It was a cool looking place for sure. Spent about 30 minutes there, talking to a lady from Maryland who relocated to NZ about 9 years ago.

Right after leaving Elephant Rocks, we did a stint of quite a hilly section….whew! I even pushed my bike up some of it as the hairpin turns were tight and it was quite steep. I didn’t want to burn up my battery so soon in the day! As we traveled on, it was up and down smaller hills but the views were quite nice of the hills and lots of dairy farms. I had a big hankering for a glass of ice cold milk! We rode on and on and unfortunately we both missed a sign for a turn and kept on down the road the wrong way. It wasn’t till we came to an intersection with no sign at it that we realized the mistake; so 20 minutes of looking at the maps and cell phone later, we understood where we had gone wrong and double backed and there was the sign….only cost us half an hour and 4 extra miles.

So, going down the correct path which as an offroad gravel path that had big uphills...whew! Passed through fields and farms and more uphills...and more uphills. It was a downright hilly day today! We kept climbing and Art (the man, the myth, the machine) kept right up with me, even though I was mostly using the medium assist level, which was no piece of cake just so you know. It still required heavy pedaling and I got sweaty even though the temp was probably in the upper 60s. We finally made it to the top of the final big hill about 1:30 and stopped at a nice spot with picnic table and toilet and water that was about halfway to our end point. Ate our ham and cheese sandwiches from Ted and I had some carrot sticks/celery and Art had his cookie (I saved mine). It was actually chilly in the shade there so that we only stayed about 25 minutes and then pushed off again. The whole rest of the afternon was actually pretty chilly, I would figure the temps were mostly upper 60s. Not awful but not particularly warm.

Right after lunch, we rode through a railroad tunnel that was drippy and dark but it was made in the 1850s and so it was very cool. Then it was more and more miles of ups and downs of a lower magnitude than earlier, but I was starting to get weary of all the hills today! There were lots of turns on the ride today also as compared to earlier days and we had to stay on top of the turns, especially after our earlier mess up. We did have one turn that had no sign on it and we spent some time trying to figure it out but eventually did and carried on.

It was mostly a downhill ride the last 5-8 kms to Oamaru. It was a lovely ride as we came into the town, coming in through the Public Gardens which were beautiful with lots of flowers blooming. We followed the signs on into the town and down to the ocean to the very end of the A20 ride down the pier. Hurray! WE MADE IT! And whew….what a ride! Arrived about 4:30. We made pictures at the end of the pier and a couple from Taiwan walked by and thought we were so interesting that they asked to have their pictures made with us. LOL. And we got them to take pics of us as well to commemorate the occasion. Then we made more pictures of ourselves at the big frame with the final mileage sign too. Signs says 331 kms from Mt. Cook. Wow…..we rode that! My mileage today was 66.6 kms to the end of the trail and adding in to the hotel and back. Wow!

Rode from the end of the trail back through the town and it was a cute little town, including a Victorian area near the beach. We rode down Thames Street to our hotel for the night, the Alpine Motel. We had booked it because it was sorta near downtown and the bus station we need for tomorrow morning to get back to Christchurch. We rolled in about 5:30 and checked in. After inquiring about laundry on site, the lady asked us to give it to her right away and we did so it should be done by the time we get back, total charge of $8NZ which isn’t that bad and we REALLY needed to wash our bike clothes!

Then we headed BACK to the end of the trail to turn in my rental bike, poor Ferdinand. He had really worked today on all those hills…..I had not gotten my battery level down below 50% all week long and today, at the end I was down to 15%!! That should tell you something about the hills! So we went to Outdoor Adventures which was closed since it was 6pm and we locked my bike up outside the building. They had given me the combination for the lock on the trailer and I put my battery and controller inside my pannier and left it inside. Done!

We walked back towards the hotel and stopped for dinner at Scott’s Brewing. Ate on the deck which was slightly cool and I put my jacket on. We had one pint of Harbormaster IPA and one pint of Boulder NZ pale ale plus a spicy chorizo and jalapeno pizza to share, tab came to $40NZ which was pricy for sure but as Art said, you don’t finish the A20 just any day so we were celebrating! After supper, we ran into Basil, the husband of Sue and part of the couple we had dinner with at Lake Ohau; they too had finished the trail today. Sue was already in the bed (it was 7:15 and after those hills and no ebike, I’d say she earned the early bedtime) and he was out doing a little stroll. We chatted a bit and then we walked on back to our hotel, about 1.2 miles.

Arrived back at the hotel about 8 and the laundry was done. We packed things back in the suitcases and Art took his bike apart and packed it back up. I got a shower and then caught up on the blog. Tired for sure and ready for bed. Tomorrow….bus back to Christchurch and to the campervan. Then more adventures on the road - the parade continues!


mileage: 66.5kms

ride time: 4:21

average speed: 15.2kph

max speed: 38.2kph

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