Our journey to Geraldine was more challenging than we had anticipated. We had chosen our rough route around NZ partly due to the general wind patterns that blow through the south. Somehow nature has been working against us and luck hasn’t been on our side. We have been battling a fierce headwind ever since we left Christchurch, and the extra effort required just to get moving sometimes is staggering and the toll it is taking on our bodies is heavy.
We decided to spend a couple of nights in Geraldine to let our bodies recover a little, and to spend a little time planning our route ahead. We were given some advice from a local to avoid the main road out to Fairlie and it is full of moronic bus drivers and is pretty hilly, we were given directions for an alternate route that was 25km longer but almost flat the entire was to Fairlie. We took their advice and headed out of town, within 10 minutes of jumping on the bike we were smacked in the face with a punishing head wind. The road was a very slow climb up to Fairlie, but the head winds made for really hard riding, and it was head down slogging for the best part of the next couple of days.
As we rolled into Fairlie we were at our physical limit, and all we could do was laugh as ourselves and we spent the last 15 minutes of our ride coming up with every bad joke using the word Fairlie “welcome to Fairle, you may be Fairle bloody tired when you arrive” etc. We picked up some ice creams as we passed through town, and by the time we had set up camp we had pretty much forgotten about how challenging the last few days had been. The girls were on great form after their ice cream and we spent the afternoon playing in the parks, and eating Gourmet pizza!
Carol & Olive (our warm showers hosts) had given us a contact just outside of Fairlie, and when we contacted them they greeted us with open arms. They even offered to give us a lift up and over Burkes Pass and into Lake Tekapo. We jumped at the chance. We had a short 8km ride out to their Motel, and on arrival Bridged & Geoff put on a full spread, coffee, home made biscuits, toasted sandwiches, sausages and fresh fruit. I some how managed to fit the trailer and all our gear into the back of a small Nissan hatchback, and the tandem split in half, fit neatly on the cycle rack, all held on with some bright green garden string. Geoff was super passionate about the Makenzie basin, and Lake Tekapo in particular, and insisted on giving us a guided tour. The were a lovely couple, and we enjoyed a whole day of sightseeing with our own private tour guide. What a magic start to our short break in Tekapo.
We have now been in NZ for 2 weeks and we have cycled a little over 320kms and our journey so far has been incredible. Yes it has had some really challenging times, but we have also had some unforgettable experiences too, scenic flight over Tekepo, Fox Glasicer & Mt Cook for one! Our connection with the girls is growing by the day, and they surprise and impress us on a seemingly endless basis. They adapt so well to everything that is thrown their way and they are thriving as a result. They are settling well into a routine and we are even getting an odd sleep in they are so settled in the Tipi. Their speech is also coming on leaps and bounds, and it is just a joy to be so present in their lives and witness all of this development happening right in front of our eyes.
We now have a couple of days to rest at Tekapo, before heading south towards the Central Otargo Rail Trail!