On the road again

I’ve been biking in Central Otago again, undoubtably one of the most picturesque areas in New Zealand. It has a multitude of walking and biking tracks, if that’s your thing. And biking is a thing for my in-laws and me (to a lesser extent). Or, maybe I should rephrase that to the less brave. I was down here almost two years back with Kerry, to ride part of three tracks: the Rail Trail, The Roxburgh Gorge and The Dunstan Track, some of which we were about to repeat, but rather differently as it turned out. That’s me above, on the Roxburgh Gorge Trail last week.

After flying in to Queenstown, we were met by family and drove half an hour or so to Clyde, the stopping off and setting out point for all of these trails and more. Day One, we started with a ride on the River Trail to Alexandra. Sounds rather idyllic, except for the undulating loose sandy track and the odd hairpin bend, but the idea of a coffee stop kept me motivated. Being the first day, team leader (brother-n-law Ken) informed us we wouldn’t go far. It turns out a local guy in Alexandra told him about a pub on the Rail Trail, which leads out from the town, and we were off! A beer was enjoyed by all when we finally got there, before we headed back the way we’d come. We biked, and kept biking, back to Clyde alongside the river and the weeping willows, under which I felt like weeping at about the 65km mark. That was about the time my bike and I tipped sideways at a tight turn onto a bridge and I grazed my shin.

Day Two and we were off on the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. Having done it before, and loving it, I was in better mood than at the end of the previous day. The track does have a few tight bends, but I walked a couple of those, especially holding the memory of the previous day’s topple. It’s a spectacular ride. At Doctors Point, a 40minute jet ride is required (with bikes loaded), as the track begins again further along at Shingle Creek (we did it in reverse in 2021). This part is very interesting, as we learn much of the history of the gold-mining era, and get to see remains of miners’ shanties along the way. See my earlier post April 2021 which features this.

My seat (as in bottom) was feeling the affects of the bumpy tracks, so I had a lay day while the others rode the new Dunstan Trail (42 kms). The gang came back saying it was GREAT.

The following day ‘the boys’ decided to do another short ride, in the hills above Butchers Dam, and I went walking with sister-n-law Liz around the lower paths at the dam. It was blustery but beautiful. And as much as I like biking, I have to say that I love walking more. You can stop whenever you like, and pinch the wild thyme which thrives amongst the rocks, or just gaze at the scenery. The following day, we headed towards Queenstown making a diversion to Wanaka along the way.

Lake Wanaka. Could it be any more beautiful than this?

And onto Queenstown, which holds more beauty in its mountains than the eyes can believe. We were fortunate to have accommodation on the lakefront with views to the Remarkables. This image was taken just on the cusp of sunset.

The following day Kerry and I picked up new hire bikes (where I demanded a gel seat cover), and joined Liz and Ken on the Twin Rivers track as part of a round trip to Arrowtown. The track hugged the river and was rather lovely, although there was one rather long hilly climb which had me puffing. Yes, even with an electric bike, the going can still get tough. But, as we know the tough always get going, as I did, though relieved to finally make it to Arrowtown. Such a quaint old town, and very popular with tourists. A snack, drink, and off we were again, somewhat veering from the path we’d chosen, but, arriving back in Queenstown nonetheless. Or, rather, we ended up visiting a pub along the way, and that drink was more than welcome after 68 kms of riding that day!

I have to admit that I didn’t join the others on what was described as ‘not for the faint-hearted’ Jack’s Point Trail the next day. But, my husband made it along with the others, and took this rather stunning image of The Remarkables, taken from the golf course, which is where they ate lunch.

Kerry and I flew home the next day, while Liz and Ken, intrepid travellers and bikers as they are, headed to the West Coast to do more. Good on them!

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