Pioneers Park to Cromwell

  • Pioneers Park 29th October 2012
The roads are well graded, but the gravel is quite harsh. So look out for cuts in your tyres. I’m running Schwalbe Marathon Plus, which are top tyres, but are still acquiring small cuts, so an inferior tyre would not last long.
The small Burkes Pass doesn’t cause any problems in the climb. Just head down for 15 minutes and drive those pedals.
Share The Road
Again, looking after the cyclist here.
Most of the roads have at least a foot or two of hard shoulder so feel comfortable against traffic. But then not much traffic compared to the UK.
The Musterer's Hut
The Musterer’s Hut, Burkes Pass
Decided not to cycle into Lake Tekapo this evening and camped a few kilometers out of town.
Kept away from the nearby pond, mosquitoes seemed prevalent.
Cuppa Lake Tekapo
Camp set and evening brew before the descent into Lake Tekapo the next day.
Lake Tekapo
When one has such a good canvas to work with, a good photo is never far away on the shores of Lake Tekapo.
Tekapo from Mt. John observatory. Stunning skies around here.
MT John cafe'
The climb up to the conservatory is steep through dense pine forest, but beautiful. A quality work out for another group of muscles.
MT John observitory
Mt John observatory.
A very good cafe at the top. Worth the climb for the cappuccino.
Tekapo resort
Tekapo Springs, well, more like heated water from the lake! But at NZ$15 for the day, can’t say no. So after the hike up to the Mt John observatory and down again, a soak and shower afterwards is very welcome.
Lake Tekapo forest wild camping
Wilderness camping spot in a pine forest next to Lake Tekapo. Cool spot.
Wild dinner
Some bush toilets available are ten times better than anything you would get in a modern city or come to that, in a lot of homes!
Bush bog
Air Safaris airfield
Air Safaris airfield. Being an ex-pilot always nice to call into these small airfields.
The information centre at Lake Tekapo advised me that the first section of the canal was closed. But after talking to locals, all said, it’ll be fine, they won’t mind a bike going through.
So after a natter with Air Safaris a kilometre up from the canal, I descend to the canal.
Hydro canal Tekapo to Pukaki
Canal leading from near Lake Tekapo to Lake Pukaki.
The surface is quite corrugated for a bike, but you would not notice in a car. So the going is slow, but with a healthy tailwind.
5 km’s in I turn a corner and I’m greeted by an approaching engineer. Nervously I ask him if it’s fine to go through. Guess what, NO he replies
Lesson number one: don’t listen to the locals!
We all laughed at me! I turn round and head back. By the time I get to my original position I’m two hours behind and just shy of 12 km’s.
Speed is lethal
This spot below was signed as a NO camping sight. But as the evening was drawing in, I thought sod it, I’m tired and hungry.
Lake Pukaki sunset
I heave the bike up a steep little hill and stealth camped on the top out of sight!
A slightly overcast sunset over Lake Pukako greeted my end of the day.
Lake Pukaki visitor centre
Lake Pukaki visitor centre with excellent information about the local area.
Passing through Omarama I stop for a coffee, and enjoy a chat with Zoe (from Dumfriesshire) who is working in the cafe.
Sheep station
Sheep farm station. 
On leaving Omarama I soon stop again after eyeing my first cycle tourists. Phil & Pip. Phil had left the UK some years earlier on his bicycle.
In Omarama
Phil and Pip are now cycling round the south island before departing for Latin America. More of a dress rehearsal.
I tag on to their tales as they leave town. Turned out to be a good move.
As soon as we head out onto the open road after enjoying a great tailwind into Omarama, our world changed.
The road now turned us side-on to the wind. Boy, never experienced anything like it (neither had Phil with his miles of road under his backward facing tyres!)
It was hard going, and the photos don’t do it justice.
Open road
I spent numerous occasions been blown into the open ditch.Phil
As we near the climb for the Lindis pass and hopefully a picnic spot to wild camp, Phil notices a few cabins. Off he skips up a dirt lane.
Sheep station bunk house
Sheep shearers accommodation.
Phil found the farmer. NZ$10 for the three of us. That’s £1.50 each. Hot showers, comfy beds, TV, sofa, couldn’t believe it! Top job Phil.
Bunk house kitchen
Pip kindly offers to prepare a meal with all our food thrown in. But we’re still short of meat. Off Phil skips back to the farmer.
Phil & his meat
He only returns with a chunk of venison. No charge required!
A venison curry ensued.
Winters vista
No one ever expected to wake up to a white morning. Manic! As Phil would say.
Lindis pass
I set off for the Lindis pass, while Phil & Pip decide to sit out the day in comfort.
Long, slow, but with the snow and quiet roads, a truly great climb.
Lindis summit
Lindis pass summit.
It was a tad chilly on the descent, but certainly idyllic and worth it.
Tarras stores. A bit expensive, but then everywhere IS expensive compared to the UK. Thought I’d never be saying that!
My final push from Tarras to Cromwell was 3o km’s. But the head wind I endued was draining and just bloody hard aching work! The longest day for me ever in the saddle at 93 km’s, and I felt it. Could only manage 5 km stretch at a time, then lay down for a bit.
  • Cromwell 3rd November 2012 – 311 km’s cycle leg (well long for me).
I can certainly lose a few items before I set off again, but I generally did not have a problem with the weight or the hills. Only struggled with the final 30 km’s.
They say, a good headwind eats 80% of your forward energy, and it feels like it too!
Phil & bike
I finish this post with a photo of Phil as he sets off for Queenstown. Pip’s gone ahead in my brothers car as she has a swollen ankle. Rest she needs.


Wild/stealth camping spots can be viewed when zooming in on each location. Also, click on the icon for a photo and another click on the photo will open it up in Flickr.


You can click on each photo for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.



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