New Zealand, 2008
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Cromwell to Frankton and Kingston
The ride from Cromwell to Frankton on Friday, January 18, was mostly
in the Karawau Gorge. The meaning of the "Roaring Meg" sign
will be understood by Bike Vermonters who recall that our own Meg Davis
cycled through this very spot a few years ago. She obviously made a lasting
impression on local Kiwis.
|We were also approaching Queenstown, so a couple
of New Zealand's crazier extreme sports were in evidence. We passed
a flock of people riding boogie boards with fins down the river. They
call it river boarding, and no doubt it gets quite exciting in the
rapids, be we didn't see that part of it.
Also, we passed the holy site where bungy jumping was born, on
the bridge at left. There's a very elaborate building with displays
about the "sport," or whatever it is. Amazingly, a bungy
cord looks like nothing so much as a very thick braiding of ordinary
We saw several people jump. It really looked like great fun, and
it's also quite safe. Barbara admitted she'd want to try it, if
only it were free. But $160 for a single jump seemed too steep a
price for a thrill that lasts about one minute.
The sequence below shows a German man actually jumping. He touches
the water in the third shot; the fourth is on the bounce. In fact,
the jumper bounces up and down for several seconds before he is
lowered into an inflatable boat in the river below.
We rode as far as Frankton, 65 kilometers including a side trip for shopping,
before stopping for the day. We could have continued to Queenstown, but
the more we've heard about the place, the less it appeals, so we decided
to skip it entirely. We found a crowded campground on the shore of Lake
Wakatipu. Although it was only a few hundred yards from busy traffic,
there was a lovely, quiet trail along another stunning Alpine lake, not
unlike Lake Wanaka.
Arriving at Frankton, left; path on Lake Wakatipu,
The campground was exceedingly crowded, with probably the smallest tent
sites we've ever seen. Our next door neighbor, however, was Stef, a lovely
girl from Germany. She was cycling and rock climbing through New Zealand
and Australia, coming from the direction in which we were heading, and
she was full of friendly advice about the places she'd been.
Evening near the campground; Stef
On Saturday the 19th we rode our shortest day so far, just over 40 kilometers.
The reason is that we finally booked an overnight boat trip to Doubtful
Sound more on that later of course and we couldn't get a
reservation until Thurdsay morning, January 24. That gives us several
days to get there and there's no point in hurrying. Anyway, the ride along
lake Wakatipu was wonderful. Frankton is at the top of the lake, and Kingston
is at the bottom. The road twisted and turned, with some climbs and descents,
above the water. Great views! Also there were good picnic spots along
the way, one with a nice beach. For some reason the water seemed colder
at the Kingston end of the lake than it had up at Frankton.
Always looking for picnic stops
View from one of th picnic sites
Cycling the road along Lake Wakatipu
In the campground we met Sean Hickey, right, from Perth Australia.
Wally split a six-pack with him. Sean's home business, believe it
or not, is buying and selling country music CDs on Ebay buying
them cheap in quantity from the U.S., and selling them for high
prices in Australia.
Also in the campground at Kingston we met a couple of families
who were cycling to raise money for World Vision projects in India.
Exceedingly nice people, they were riding one mountain tandem and
a mountain bike from the bottom to the top of south island, using
only unpaved roads and tracks. Their website is www.ridingwiththepoor.co.nz.
From Kingston we head inland toward Lumsden and then on to Manapouri
and Doubtful Sound.