So here we are, a month before I abdicate this isle once again for adventures, journeys and destinations afar.
I say ‘once again’, as this seems to be a theme of mine! Previously I departed in 2001 to backpack ten months round the world. Soon after my feet were itchy again, and I was off in 2003 to South Africa to train as a commercial pilot. In due course the deserts and open skies of Namibia treated me to a colonialistic adventure as a safari guide and pilot ‘About‘.
Now, after two and a half years back in England I feel the propensity for a new chapter. I’m as yet not comfortable with been fully ‘plugged in’, and I’m still opting for the Red Pill. But, one must also choose wisely!
Since been back in Blighty I’ve cycled about everywhere I needed to go, along with commuting to work on every occasion too (The Commute). I hope this conditioning bodes me well for my future ladened days down under.
I leave gainful employment for a while, or as I like to call it, my ‘fund-raising gild society’, at the end of September. This gives me two weeks to get those loose ends sorted and visit friends.
Bike, camping kit and clothing all gathered. Just need to pack everything into my panniers, attach to the bike, then we’ll see what it all weighs. Might be interesting!
I’m presently compiling a list of everything I need or think I need! But due to the fact of ‘Sods Law of Voluminous Mass x Weight Over Density Gone Stark Raving Bonkers’ not sure which shall prevail! I’ve heard it whispered in dark circles; “gatherer all you wish to take, then pack 10% as that’s all you’ll ever need”!
So in hand: my one way ticket, my homebuilt touring bike ‘Rebuild – Part II’, I venture off.
Coach from Wadebridge on the 8th October to Bournemouth to visit friends. National Express say they accept packed bikes, we shall see! Flight out off Gatwick on the 15th, with a very brief stop in Dubai (01:30hrs). Emirates have a generous 30kg allowance (bicycles included as checked in luggage) and 7kg carry on. So with a fair wind, we hope to get away with 40kg total if need be! Landing Christchurch, New Zealand on the 17th.
New Zealand has a temperate maritime climate. Mostly sunny weather from December to April. Sub-tropical in the north to moderate in the far south. Population is just over 4 million, and a total area of around 166,940 square kilometres. The two islands are approximately 1600 kilometres in length.
I’ve booked a campsite (219 On Johns) near the airport for a couple of nights while I sort bike and food out, plus get my bearings. From there, I plan to cycle the nearby Banks Peninsular.
Banks Peninsular looks pretty stunning from what I’ve researched, that been Google maps! But, also very mountainous, so could well be a baptism of fire! Either make or break me!
From Banks Peninsular I’ll then meander towards Queenstown, which is a mere 500km! There I’ll join my brother and his three daughter’s for Christmas.
Longer term plans will be to spend the next 2-3 months after Christmas touring the south island. That’s as much timeline planning as I’ve made!
My routes will be generally made up by following the Lonely Planet Guide to Cycling New Zealand and a local website dedicated to Cycle Tour New Zealand. I might as well follow tried and tested routes that offer the best in scenery and locations. This gives me a base to start with, but I’ll always be receptive to local advice or where the spirit takes me!
If I’m looking further afield into my crystal ball! Flight to Hobart, Tasmania, cycle north to Devonport. Then hop on the ‘Spirit of Tasmania’ ferry across to Melbourne. Now the real expedition cycling begins, head north to Darwin. I’ve also planned in my head, flight to the far east, and from there, cycle back to the UK. Or may be not! Another train of thought, route back to the UK via the USA and Canada. Also, it has been said, “bet you’ll never leave New Zealand”!
If a visa application is likely to be an arduous affair, entailing jumping through hoops and lightening one’s wallet, I just won’t go there. I’ve had many in Africa, but nothing like this chap has experienced ‘The not so great escape‘. Bet I end up eating my words!
We’ll see what the future holds and what the open road has in store for me? As they say, ‘Watch This Space’.
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“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain