The Kingston Flyer
Fortrose 3rd December 2012
I turn north’ish facing Queenstown leaving the windy Catlins behind me.
The wind has not abated, but does lie to my left flank. All I need now is to throw up a spinnaker and we’ll be away!
I like to pay my respects to the many war memorials I come across on any of my travels.
10 km’s or so to Walmahaka and stopping for a bit of lunch. Once again it’s a pie. An easy filling tummy supplement!
At times you just see things and wonder…. dam tall garden hedges round here!
Not something one generally sees also; a Geo-survey point.
I’m heading to Mataura for the night, as I’m aware they have a public swimming pool.
Matuara is centred around it’s large meat processing plant. The smell from this seems to come from any direction regardless of wind direction!
I first search out a spot to stealth camp for the night, before I hit the swimming baths for a hot shower.
$2 (£1), so money well spent in my books.
My stealth camping spot for the night, an abandoned tennis court?
I was wrong, not quite abandoned, just looking so!
I perch myself in the porch, firing up my stove and getting a brew under way. This is to also check if anyone notices me before I produce my tent. There’s nothing worse than getting the tent up and someone tells you; you can’t camp there. Not that anything near like that has ever happened. But this could well be private property so one should suss it out first.
You’ll never believe it; a guy rocks up to cut the grass. Lawn tennis perhaps, me thinks not. He say’s Good-day, won’t be long and I’ll be out of your way. I was stunned. Surely I should be saying that!
Happy days, nice and tidy tennis court for the night!
It was not the best nights sleep with the meat factory receiving its supply of trains through the night, plus lorries on the road near by using their engine brakes…. dam inconsiderate!
I was fortunate though to have some protein with my morning coffee.
How that got there, I don’t know. It’s about the only wildlife I’ve seen in my whole time in New Zealand. The only other wildlife has been lots of Possums, which have been flat on the road…. not a live one to date. Even my maggots dead!
I normally prepare my tin mug before I retire with instant coffee, sugar and the kettle loaded with water. All I have to do in the morning is, reach out, light the meth’s burner, and the day begins.
There was though a particular large fly hanging around my tent as I tried to sleep. I’ll have to research that one. Anyway her offspring is now well truly boiled, and as I generally get plenty of protein in a day, I left it aside!
The next day is pretty flat. I arrive in Gore as the clouds are about to dump on me. Thankfully Gore library has free Wifi, so I embed myself in the corner for the rest of the morning.
By mid-afternoon with what looks like the worst of the weather passing, we roll out of Gore. Nice library, wish there was more like it.
It doesn’t take long until I’m looking for shelter once again!
As the afternoon counts down so does the rain, and the blue sky resumes its natural place.
I find a secluded area a few hundred metres out of Mandeville.
They say don’t camp next to still water…. Mosquito’s, but this place is just too nice to think of looking anywhere else. Anyhow, these Mosi’s aren’t carrying malaria or such like, so no harm will be done! With the temperature still low’ish we should be fine.
Mandeville has a steam engine called Roger…. just sitting there alone on a single length of track, that’s it!
Instead of following route 94 to Lumsden, I opt for the back roads which line the base of the Hokonui Hills. The road starts as tar, but soon grades into gravel. We like gravel, makes one feel like a real adventurer!
A lunchtime stop is made in Lumsden for fresh supplies and drinking water.
Old Lumsden railway station quietly sits on its own with no custom, but one can still imagine majestic steam engines trundling through.
Always pleased to help a fellow traveller cross the road, considering most I find are flat!
Now the search goes out for a suitable spot to throw my tent up for the night. It’s starting to drizzle, and I’d like to get undercover before one gets to wet. Drying clothes in damp weather, in a tent, is not so easy.
The river near Athol has my name on it, so I duly take up her invitation. Lovely spot, and in the nick of time.
The day starts wet and pretty much stays that way until I reach Queenstown. As Ralph Fiennes once said there’s no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing. We march on.
No sooner I’m out of Garston I spot smoke above a railway line in the distance. Could it be a train? It’s not travelling too fast, so gives me plenty of time to set up my video camera.
Footage of ‘The Kingston Flyer’ can be found in my Vimeo video at the bottom of this post.
The Kingston Flyer slowly steams past me with cheering tourists. We all exchange waves.
I head onto Kingston itself.
It all times quite well for me as I don’t have to wait too long for The Kingston Flyer to arrive back at Kingston Railway station.
Such an idyllic setting and a beautiful piece of engineering.
As soon as I make my way from the station the clouds dump on me once more. I escape to a bus shelter. Lunchtime it is then.
The rain hasn’t quite passed, but I hit the road none-the-less. The road from Kingston to Queenstown is overcast, but this also has its own beauty.
Lake Wakatipu looks steely blue along its shores as it carries me onward to Queenstown.
On arrival in Queenstown the sun makes an appearance to add a crowning cherry to a superb journey up from down south.
The plan now in Queenstown is to hook up with my brother Andrew at his offices below.
After a few well-earned beers, I load my bike into his car for the journey back to Cromwell.
I plan after Christmas on cycling the Queenstown to Cromwell road through the Kawarau Valley. Exploring further afield around this area of Otago at a later date.
Queenstown 6th December 2012 – 235 km’s
Wild/stealth camping spots can be viewed when zooming in on each location. Also, click on the icon for a photo and another click will open it up in Flickr.
You can click on each photo in this the post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.