We have now cycled over 1000Km with our two little girls in tow, and we couldn’t be more proud of how well the girls are doing. At the planning stage of our trip we were fully prepared for this trip not to work, but so far the girls seem to love it! Every day is a new adventure, each campsite is full of new places to explore and new people to jabber to. Their confidence, speech and independence has all grown immensely over the past 6 weeks and it’s hugely impressive to see how they take everything in their stride. In fact they have adjusted to the life on the road easier than we have!
It had been nearly 3 years since we last did any proper cycling, and couple that with the added weight of the girls (and all the essentials that go along with camping with 18 month old twins), the trailer and the fierce head winds we somehow always seem to face and it all adds up to some really challenging cycling. We are now starting to build up some stamina but it has taken a lot longer than we hoped and the physical effort required to get over some of the bigger hills is simply staggering. We have also had a few bike problems that have added to the challenge even further. Despite all the headwinds, weight, broken spokes and hills we are doing it, and we continue to grow stronger by the day. I’m so proud of Katie and the girls, and i’m often surprised by Katie’s strength, she does all the work really I just steer and change gears!
So far NZ has been a challengingly beautiful place to cycle. NZ is often referred to as a “peddlers paradise” and this is true in many ways, the traffic is light, there is an abundance of camp grounds and the roads are smooth (well kind of). But it does have it’s challenges for the touring family. Firstly it is surprisingly expensive, with camping often costing $50 per night for just a patch of grass, and despite the countries small size it can feel very remote. We often try to follow the minor roads to avoid traffic, but the problem is that you can travel for literally hundreds of kilometres between services, and when they pop up they are over priced and under stocked! We have loved the friendliness of the locals (not so much anyone working in an i-site but that’s another story), and the overwhelmingly positive response we are getting about the girls. People go out of their way to stop and tell us what a great job we are doing with the girls and that we are “the best parents in the world” we also seem to get a lot of respect from motorcycle tourists with the occasional tip of the imaginary hat as they cruise by.
The scenery, and diversity can at times be breath taking. We’ve seen glow worms, waterfalls, mountains, fjords, seals, glaciers, lakes, sheep, cycle tourists and we have eaten more ice-cream than you can shake a stick at and that was just a weeks cycling so just imagine what experiences we have shared with the girls over the past six weeks. It has been a truly magical time, and the time to bond as a family has been priceless.
We are now coming into the final stages of of NZ leg, with approximately 750km left to go. We are currently just outside Greymouth staying with a Lloyd & Vinne (warm showers hosts) who have been kind enough to open up their home for a few days, spoiling us with great food and an amazing bed with no less than 3 mattresses. They are currently in the rough planning stages of their own round the world trip.
From here we head up the west coast to Westport where we will turn inland and head for Nelson where we hope to stay for a couple of day before making the final push through Picton and down the east coast to Christchurch. We are flying out of Christchurch on 8th March. We will spend some time in Sydney visiting family and showing off our beautiful girls before heading over to Europe to visit the pommie family and start the next leg of our adventure!