Here, my journey is over and I am already back in the Alsatian region. I can now summarize my New Zealand Cyber Adventures and unveil the beautiful wild landscapes of the South Island.
Preparation and first kilometers
I arrive in Christchurch after a jump in time through the various transits. It's simple, I fly on Saturday in San Jose, I arrive Tuesday morning in New Zealand (the date change line helping).
I leave myself 2 days of rest, visit and repair of ZigZag (the cassette and chain had rusted well in Costa Rica) while planning my future itinerary. I am greeted by Leisa a New Zealander using Warmshower. Super It shows me all the guides of the island with all possible trails!!!
I start to attack the mountains as soon as possible: direction Arthur Pass.
It goes up, several weeks that I did not make long climbs, I feel it right away. So I climb to the pass in 2 days and 170 km; On the way I pass by Cave Stram Reserve: A small spring that passes under a mountain that can be traced from one end to the other on a few hundred meters. Equipped with a frontal it is possible to do without any guide as long as you agree to have water up to the size. It's actually a hell of a waterfall that I go back to with a family telling me the way. A first intoxicating experience totally free (you'll see more in the video).
I take the road back to the pass and reach it after 1000 m of elevation. I take advantage of my first descent in the middle of the New Zealand Mountains.
At the bend of a track I pass a bridge and discover a small river with a sparkling water. Neither one, nor two, I refreshed myself in this beautiful river, apparently unknown to all. Although it is a little cold, it is the clearest water in which I have bathed so far.
I continue my route, fresh, ready to find out what the West Coast holds.
In the evening I go to a campsite and meet a French couple traveling in van. We spend the evening together sharing experiences of travelling around a great dish.
The next morning we see a gold digger in the river near the campsite. We talk a little bit with him and learn a little about these techniques and his life. I continue my way on the West Wilderness Trail: A bike ride through the lush nature of the West Coast. This trail is just extra!! Dense vegetation mingles with the mountains and the surrounding rivers and we pass on a small path by forcing ourselves not to take pictures every mile.
We stop on the way to a ranch remodelled as a restaurant for cyclists and we link the end of the trail in very fun trails to ride: small curves along a tiny canal descending the mountain (created for the gold mines of the time), or even Small trails where inertia is enough to drive without forcing. This trail is perfect:D
In the late afternoon, after a beautiful day of 80km, I leave my co-cyclist at the small town of Okitika at the edge of the ocean. Indeed, tonight I plan to sleep at a warmshower host. He warmly welcomes me and two other Swedish tourists. They have travelled almost all over eastern Europe, part of the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Indonesia by bicycle. So we discuss bike trips all evening. Kevin, the host, tells us that he travels now like this: by receiving and sharing stories with other cyclists.
The next day I have to say good-bye to these nice travelers who are just going to ride on the trail I travelled yesterday. We exchange some indications and contacts and I notice that the luggage rack of Zig-Zag is no longer straight. A screw had to break yesterday… So I lose a big half day to fix it and especially to find the screw that I need.
I'm leaving town at 3:00, heading north along the coast.
The coast is very wild but it starts to get a lot of wind, I spot a cheap campsite that I can reach before nightfall. I'm getting a little more into the land at Greymouth level.
A good night's sleep and a good meal to attack still a large portion to the north coast of the South Island. The landscapes and valleys crossed are, again, at the height of the country's reputation.
The Rainbow Trail that I was planning to borrow to make a loop and return to Christchurch is unfortunately closed due to weather conditions. My buddy Flo who will accompany me across the South Island for a week and a half arrives in a few days and I have to meet him there.
So I decide to go to Nelson and from there, take a bus back down to Christchurch. It takes me four days of cycling, which turns into 5 because of a day of torrential rain, to reach Nelson.
I am fortunate to get to buy the last place on a bus allowing me to arrive almost at the same time as my buddy in Christchurch. On the way the bus stops at Kaikoura. I'll let you admire:
I would have loved to pedal along this coast but you have to make a choice, the South Island is very large, I realize that it would take several months to bike to really see all the diversity that the country offers.
I look forward to riding with Florian, the next few days are looking beautiful…