After a lazy morning catching up with the folks at home and updating the blog for Part 1 over a few coffees and carrot cake, had a super lunch of pancakes and maple butter in The Sandfly cafe in Te Anau before hitting the road for Wedderburn in the Otago district – what a journey. Cloudless blue skies, stunning views of the Remarkables and a “so close I could touch it” stop in Frankton, on the outskirts of Queenstown – 10 mins of torture in my wannabe home; the Visa research has begun….
We got to our accommodation in Wedderburn where we had the run of the place and dinner was already waiting – a big group feed of vegetable soup, lasagne, mixed veg, roast potatoes and a desert of my new weakness, Whittaker’s dark chocolate. We had a lazy night playing UNO and just to really kick myself when I’m down, I watched “Not Bad” – a mountain bike edit filmed in Queenstown 😢 – “Not 2 Bad” bought for future memories/beating myself up…
8.00am lie in before we all headed off to collect our bikes from ShebikesHebikes to set off on 35km of the Central Otago Rail Trail – epic but cloudy scenery, freeing trapped lambs and a lunch stop in Oturehua before the final stunning bluesky 10km stretch back to base for a shower and brew courtesy of baby Rach and Iona – resident brew makers.
The trail was awesome, taking us along a central section of the old railway line, through handhewn tunnels, man made viaducts and countryside not seen by car, it was beautiful. Plus I was on a bike again. The full trial runs from Middlemarch to Clyde, 150km long; will save that for next time.
Then it was off for winner of the most random activity of the trip – an International Curling Championship in Naseby about half an hour from the hostel.
Totally new one to most of us but super craic. Frustratingly hard though! The Germans handed the Brits their asses, a mixed Irish/Swiss/US team took home a convincing win too. No one cares about the other result….
Last port of call of the day was the Wedderburn Tavern for a badly needed feed of butter chicken a beer, then back to the hostel for offensive group Pictionary where everyone got a touch of bad manners before bed.
Up early (surprise surprise) and off towards the east coast and Christchurch, NZ’s oldest city. We stopped in Moeraki to see the stunning (overused adjective at this stage) coastline and spherical rocks along the beach.
The Death Star, Moeraki Beach
Making decent time so we had coffee in the cafe overlooking the beach, in the sun which was pretty chilled and added to a cool morning, but then a couple of dolphins came out to surf just to make it perfect.
Next stop was Timaru for lunch, then on to Raikaia across the longest bridge in NZ to make our way to Christchurch. Staying in the Jailhouse Hostel, a converted prison, so literally spent the night in a cell; there’s goes the HCPC reg…..
A few of us took a dander around the city centre, with the earthquake damaged Cathedral, memorial wall and continuing regeneration of the city all side by side.
Current planning laws limit new builds to 5 storeys and urban sprawl limited too, with a push to have more greenbelt. Back to the hostel to do a badly needed laundry then most of headed out to Sullivan’s (yes, an Irish Bar 🤷🏻♂️) for dinner and some inappropriate German language lessons. Ich kann nur für meine Zerstörung Ihrer schönen Sprache entschuldigen…
The multicultural racist group – no, Ed is not asleep.
Up for an 8am road blast to Kaikora, our last stop on the South Island; safe to say all the fun for the past 2 weeks had everyone wrecked so it was headphones on, heads down, eyes closed. Stopped in Cheviot at Mt. Beautiful for breakfast – destroyed a plate of the best pancakes I’ve ever had, served up with grilled banana, blueberries, maple butter and bacon, with 2 great coffees to boot.
Then back on track for Kaikora. Got there and Cory showed everyone where to go for their flying/kayaking/whale watching/dolphin swim; took a dander onto the beach, the waves making a totally different sound to sand a beach thanks to an entirely pebble beach.
Was a quiet afternoon on checkin for me with Cailin sorting our North Island itinerary, and after a couple of hours and Cory’s recommendations we were done. Garreth, Mairake and Ed flew a plane – kinda jealous of that one, looked awesome.
Bed for me for a badly needed kip then most of the group headed to Groper Garage for a feed, a beer and more craic/continuing the trip theme of destroying languages, each other’s self esteem and inappropriate behaviour.
5.30am start for the dolphin swimmers, no such carry on for me – up, showered and fed for a 9am start for our last road trip as a group to catch the Cook Strait ferry from Picton to Wellington where we were due for our final night as a big happy, offensive, knackered family. Stopped off for a gander at a seal colony on the way, a coffee and pie in Seddon and finally sorted a rental car for the North Island. Got word from Aoibh about the Queenstown Gaels – fundraiser last night gathered up $1500 so a few size 5’s and a hurl or 2 sorted there; super work folks. Then it was Picton and the ferry – chur chur South Island.