New Zealand, 2008
Kingston to Lumsden and Manipouri
Continuing with fairly short rides, we cycled
on Sunday, January 20, from Kingston to Lumsden, 60 kilometers. We passed
the Kingston Flyer, a beautiful old steam locomotive that is hauling tourists
up and down the valley. There were a couple of moderate climbs that became
difficult because the day grew warmer and more humid than we've experienced
so far. Generally, though, it was easy cycling.
The countryside was changing, the chain of mountains
receding behind us, and rolling to flat ranch and farm land around us.
It was quite beautiful, in its way.
Monday morning we left Lumsden for Te Anau. It
was a beautiful, hot, sunny day. We stopped briefly in the roadside village
of Mossburn. The wind gradually built up, and when we were 15 or 20 kilometres
from Te Anau, it was almost in our face. Partly for that reason, we made
a last-minute decision to turn south and go directly to Manipouri, from
where our Doubtful Sound cruise begins Thursday morning. It was a good
decision. The inland road to Manipouri was really beautiful, and with
the wind now more or less behind us, it was an easy ride.
Clouds were moving in from the north, and the
weather forecast was not good. Therefore we decided to rent a tiny cabin
for our three nights in Manipouri before the cruise. It was another lucky
decision, because it rained all night and well into Tuesday morning. The
cabin looks like nothing from the outside, even in the sunshine later
on Tuesday. However, inside it is surprisingly airy and pleasant, despite
our stuff now strewn all over, with a double bed, single bed, and work
table under one of three windows.
Once the rain let up on Tuesday we decided to
go into Te Anau about 21 kilometres each way for food shopping
and internet services. Te Anau, as we expected, was fairly busy and replete
with tourist services of all sorts. Lake Te Anau was impressive but not
as beautiful as Manipouri, we thought.
At the supermarket in Te Anau we enjoyed one of those amazing encounters that sometimes happen when we are traveling. A young couple were loading groceries in their huge backpacks while we were loading our bicycle panniers. We chatted only briefly before mentioning that we lived in Vermont. When the young man asked where, and we answered "South Strafford," he said, "I"m a Wilson!" We had just met Eli Wilson, son of the late Jay Wilson and nephew of Sherm and Bob! He has been living and working most recently in Utah and Maine; now he is hiking around in new Zealand with a friend, Jane Gallaudet. Eli said he plans to leave on February 4 for Samoa, and from there, he's not sure where he will go next. What an adventurer!
Eli Wilson and Jane Gallaudet
After saying goodby to Eli and Jane, we rode back to Manipouri surprisingly easy and fast in both directions and saw our first patches of blue sky for the day. We had dinner in this campground's remarkable kitchen-dining area.
On Wednesday we had a leisurely day, locating the wharf from where our boat would leave the next morning, taking a walk, adjusting the bikes and so on. Very excited to be going to Doubtful Sound on Thursday!
Sunny at last, the cove in Lake Manipouri from which our cruise begins