New Zealand, 2008

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Christchurch to Lake Coleridge

We got a typically late start from Christchurch because we decided at the last minute to buy a cellphone. Our first! Apparently so many people in New Zealand now use cells that regular public phones are difficult to find. By 10:30 or so we were on our way.

At first the cycling north and west from Christchurch was fairly dull, but it was also cool, nearly windless, and flat — idea conditions when you are just getting started. If the terrain wasn't terribly interesting, some of the stock along the way certainly was. We passed alpacas, deer, and ostrich, not to mention innumerable sheep and cattle.

About 30 or 40 kilometres along the way, the terrain gradually began to roll, and as a result it became more scenic as well. We stopped for the night 75 kilometres from the start at a campground in Glentunnel — we never did ask the reason for the peculiar name. It was a comfortable enough place to stop. We cooked a fairly tasty meal in the noisy communal kitchen.

The next morning, our second on the road, dawned clear and hot. The scenery gradually became more beautiful, and the sky was perfectly clear. We had our first glimpse of the Southern Alps ahead in the distance. Who knows what that will be like! The sun was also hot, reaching around 90 degrees in mid afternoon!

Wally had picked up some kind of cold or flu. While the cycling was not what we would normally call difficult, he was getting dizzy and feverish. Unfortunately we had aimed for a place where the closest camping place, a wilderness site by Lake Coleridge, was 6 kilometres uphill on rough gravel. We tried it, but after Wally fell two or three times and felt even worse, we gave up, returning to the only other accomodation in the area — an attractive lodge with good food, but about double our maximum daily budget. Nevertheless, we are staying here two nights, at the Lake Coleridge Lodge, so that Wally can be at least partially recovered and so that both of us can shake the remnants of jet lag.

Barb, by the way, made it up the hill on the next day — without any weight on the bike — and took the beautiful photos below. Lake Coleridge is spectacular, not unlike lakes in the Canadian Rockies.



Below is the lodge where we are recuperating. The food is great, and there are beautiful gardens and views. Of course Wally would enjoy it more if he were not sick, but if he were not sick, we wouldn't be here!


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