Looking southwest from Paraparaumu Beach




Karapiro to Picton

Picton to Woodend


Christchurch to Ashburton

Ashburton to Fairlie

Fairlie to Awamoko

Awamoko to Middlemarch

Middlemarch to Clyde

Clyde to Invercargill

Invercargill to Bluff

Bluff to Te Anau

Te Anau to Arrowtown

Arrowtown to Wanaka (Twice)

Wanaka to MacKenzie Country

MacKenzie Country and Twizel

Twizel to Fox Glacier

Fox Glacier to Hokitika

Hokitika to Reefton via Karamea

Reefton to Twizel

Twizel to Takaka

Takaka to Picton

For extra photos, click on PHOTO GALLERY above. Autoplay or view individually.

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Clyde to Invercargill - 18/02/2012 to 22/02/2012

Four days on a bike has put me off biking for a while. Even the article in the latest NZMCA magazine that there are newer and more scenic tracks doesn’t provide any encouragement. However I did find the article about one couple’s coffee tour around the South Island amusing. They will even provide a list of their reviews to members, which could have saved us a whole lot of time and money, not to mention bad coffee experiences.

Saturday morning we drove back to St Bathans to have a look at an old gold mining town that they are trying to preserve. Unfortunately most of it was either shut or being preserved. They had a “Blue Lake”, which was more sepia brown from the ore that seeps out of the schist and not helped by the lack of sun and blue sky. There were also walking tracks, but the conditions of both the weather and our bodies weren’t up to it.

To continue Roger’s South Island Hydro Power Station tour we went to the Clyde Dam and Roxburgh Dam. Being Central Otago the landscape never changes; it’s either rocky schist outcrops covered in wild thyme or it is stone-fruit crops. Apricots, peaches, nectarines and cherries are in abundance here, as they love the climate and soil conditions. We stopped at a market garden and bought lots of fruit (goes with healthy biking), for $5 we got the equivalent amount of cherries you would pay over $16 for in Auckland.

Saturday night we parked at a lake created from an old mining pit called Pinders Pond near Roxburgh. Sandwiched between a lake and the Clutha river it appears quite popular with the fishing motorhomers. It is also right on a new bike track (Gold Trail) from Roxburgh to Lawrence; cant wait!

The NZMCA guidebook said Roxburgh had the last launderette before Invercargill, it unfortunately forgot to say it was a washer and dryer in the corner of the locGabriels Gullyal ice cream parlor. As the dryer was very slow we saw a lot of the locals (mainly Vanuatu fruit pickers) and we didn’t get far down the road before it was time to stop. This time we chose Lawrence’s popular Gabriels Gully. A very picturesque lake amongst bush, with geocache, but no internet. However the small town of Lawrence offers free internet to everybody in close proximity to the town. And if you watched Fair Go this week, the council doesn’t mow the grass verge.

Today we also went past a waterski competition held at Horseshoe Bend Bridge – a very small lake, with a very small slalom course, therefore requiring the boat to come right up to the edge of the lake and the skier to take the inside line, unless of course they know how to grass ski.

On Monday, after a short drive to a rowing lake, Lake Waihola, we headed off to the Catlins via Balclutha. Unfortunately we stopped for coffee at the town that has NZ’s most voluminous river flowing through it. It’s a bad sign when top billing on the coffee board is “Instant $3”; can’t say I have seen any other café advertise that they do instant coffee.

The Catlins is an area with dense rain forests, bush walks and stunning coastal scenery. We drove through the main town of Owaka, home of the teaLake Wilkiepot garden (check out the photos, as if I would have such a silly collection) and settled on Tautuku Beach, Papatowai as our camp. As our NZMCA neighbours went off in search of Toheoroas for breakfast the next day we drove off to do a few nature walks in order to justify two planned coffee reviews and brownies. Our first nature walk took us to Lake Wilkie and second to the McLean Falls.

However it was at Niagara Falls Café that Roger finally got a 3-star coffee. It was the top South Island café according to the NZMCA couple who preceded Roger in his coffee tour, also favourite of other friends. We are narrowing the secret to good coffee down to the barista; apparently she must be young and European to have a good understanding of how an excellent coffee should taste.

As the Catlins also does coastal scenery we called into Curio Bay (half a Mercurio) and Porpoise Bay where I finally got to get close to a yellow-eyed penguinfortrose campsite. However it was Fortrose, Toetoes Bay where we decided to camp. From here you can see Stewart Island, Bluff and the Tiwai point aluminum chimneys.

On Wednesday we headed off to the big smoke. Invercargill, city of Mayor Tim, large sports stadiums, a free polytech and not much else. Unless of course you are into gardens, old houses and water towers. All of which we visited on our last trip here, but may revisit now Roger is fitter and it’s not the middle of winter.

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Yellow eyed penguinsYellow-Eyed Penguins
FallsMcLean Falls
Roxburgh DamRoxburgh Dam & Hydro Village
Blue Lake St BathansBlue Lake at St Bathans
Restored pub at St Bathans