Biking Virtually, New Zealand
The Conqueror Virtual Challenges: The Alps to Ocean, New Zealand, 180 miles
Intro post [Virtual Bling]
Widget announcement post [Come Away With Me, Virtually]
Related posts [Biking Virtually, Inca Trail], [Biking Virtually, Route 66]
Scroll down to start. Entries read from bottom up.
May 9, 2020. There & Back on scenic road from May 3 trip. 10 miles/9 applied. Total 180 miles, 289 km. 100% complete.
Oamaru, Otago, New Zealand. No street view available. So I made my own from Google Maps. Gate at end of jetty probably kept the Google camera car from driving to the end.
Full trail. Red dot on map is my estimated location. Originally, I had planned to tie this virtual ride into virtual CoNZealand. Then I realized it didn’t go anywhere near. Retired that idea & finished.
May 8, 2020. Proof of Concept ride. 5 miles. Total 171 miles, 275 km. 95% complete. Not feeling well today. However, had to do something or risk not sleeping at night. In light rain, no less!
Enderslie, Otago, New Zealand. One of the difficulties in narrating my virtual tour is that I do not know New Zealand well enough to understand where the Conquerer program puts me. Is Enderslie a town? An area? Is it named after or a remnant of the Enderslie Estate? “Also famous for its Clydosdale and thoroughbred horses.” (sic*2) NZETC: Elderslie Estate. Click for historic horse photographs, Heritage New Zealand/Pouhere Taonga: Elderslie Station Stables (Former), Culture Waitaki: Horses at Elderslie Estate
May 7, 2020. Short Farmhouse loop. 8 miles. Total 166 miles, 267 km. 92% complete.
Corriedale, Otago, New Zealand.
May 6, 2020. Short Farmhouse loop. 8 miles. Total 158 miles, 241 km. 88% complete. Gorgeous day. Windy. Getting better at coping with wind, particularly from a consistent direction. Capitalize on the tailwind; putt-putt along in the headwind. No faster, just less letting it ruin my ride.
Island Cliff, Otago, New Zealand. Have crossed into a new section of NZ. “Otago offers a distinct South Island lifestyle and an alternative to more heavily populated northern areas.” New Zealand Now: Otago. “Island Cliff is an agricultural and pastoral district.” Victoria: NZETC. No streetview available.
May 5, 2020. Red Barn loop. 10 miles. Total 150 miles, 241 km. 83% complete. Road runs next to railroad tracks. Nice not to have to worry about the bikes spooking.
Canterbury, New Zealand. Rolling along next to the Otekaieke River, is my best guess.
May 4, 2020. Workshop loop with extra bit. 7 miles. Total 140 miles, 225 km. 78% complete.
Otekaieke, Canterbury, New Zealand. “Meaning of place name. Ō: place of; te: the; kaieke: to go to ground.” NZ History: Otekaieke. The site is subtitled/co-titled Nga korero a ipurangi o aotearoa. Maori for ‘New Zealand History’, I assume. The habit of dual names appears to be so ingrained that they do not feel the need to provide explanations for ignorant virtual tourists.
May 3, 2020. New ride. Coke sign loop. 10 miles. Total 133 miles, 214 km. 74% complete. Took the truck down the road for new scenery. Safe? Yes. Approached no one. Touched nothing that was not ours. Essential? Only in that we – the collective we – need to figure out how to make the current social choices sustainable. We were not alone. Saw motorcyles, motorboats and kayaks being taken out for and airing.
Left glasses on by mistake. Excellent for straight-ahead; horrible for peripheral vision. My eyes prefer blurry uniformity when engaged in activities that require eye motion without head motion, e.g. biking, riding. Hilly roads, or at least hillier than I am used to, which isn’t saying much. Breezy, but wind in our faces was generally uphill, when I was going slowly anyway. Saw hay being cut. Yay!.
Kurow, Canterbury, New Zealand. Many of the towns on the A2O trail started as bases for hydroelectric works, so sayeth the Google..
May 2, 2020. Red barn loop in reverse. 10 miles. Total 123 miles, 197 km. 68% complete. Funny how different a ride looks and feels the first time you do it in reverse.
Kirkliston, Canterbury, New Zealand. On the shore of Lake Aviemore. I can’t find a town by this name. Assume the program is referring to Department of Conservation/Te Papa Atawhai: The Kirkliston Range Conservation Area.
April 30, 2020. Red barn loop. 10 miles. Total 113 miles, 181 km. 63% complete. A struggle. Beautiful day but blustery. Wind used our faces as an indicator of which way to blow. Human weathervanes. Oh well. Balances out the last time on this loop when we won the wind lottery.
Waitangi, Canterbury, New Zealand. On the north shore of the Waitaki River, heading towards Lake Aviemore. Google wants to tell me about the town of Waitangi on the North Island, not about one on the South Island. River info, “Waitaki: water of tears, river of power” NZ Geo by Simon Bloomberg.
April 29, 2020. Proof of Concept ride. 5 miles. Total 103 miles, 166 km. 57% complete. Rain … well, rain drops … well, damp streets, which is more than I usually do. Yay, me.
Canterbury, New Zealand. Approaching Otematata. One of the sights in the area is the Lake Benmore dam.
“Benmore is the country’s second largest hydro station … and is New Zealand’s largest earth dam.” Meridian Energy Co: Benmore hydro station
“Benmore Dam is one of the largest dams on the Southern Hemisphere.” New Zealand Travel Insider: Benmore Dam on the South Island
April 28, 2020. Short farmhouse loop. 8 miles. Total 98 miles, 158 km. 55% complete.
Canterbury, New Zealand. Biking along the shores of the Ahuriri arm of Lake Benmore. New Zealand is currently under Level 3 Alert. The trail is open for local use, although toilet facilities are closed and they ask you to consider if you really need to leave your property in the first place. The message ends with ‘Kia Kaha’ or Stand Strong. Alps2Ocean
Kia Kaha, folks.
Omarama, Canterbury, New Zealand. Tourism info says Omarama is one hour from Mt Cook. I am still on the outskirts of town. Therefore, it has taken me 11 rides to cover a distance that I could drive in less than an hour. A discouraging comparison. Best not to think about it.
April 26, 2020. Red barn loop. 10 miles. Total 82 miles, 132 km. 46% complete.
Quailburn, Canterbury, New Zealand. KM 126/mile 78 was “the highest point on the entire Trail at 900m.” Alps 2 Ocean, Section 4: Lake Ohau Lodge to Omarama. Score another victory for virtual. The views aren’t as good; the pedaling is much easier. No streetview available.
April 24, 2020. Short farmhouse loop. 8 miles.
Total 80 miles/129 km. 44% complete. 72 miles. Double entry & tired math. 40% by my calculation.
April 23, 2020. Short farmhouse loop. 8 miles. Total 64 miles. 36% complete.
Lake Ohau, Canterbury, New Zealand. Score one for riding virtually. “If the water level of Lake Ohau is above 520.4m, this will result in water discharging over the outlet weir and into the Upper Ohau River, making the weir unsafe to cross. Check the current lake level here before you ride.” Alps2Ocean Trail, Trail Details & Maps, Section 3: Twizel to Lake Ohau
April 22, 2020. Short farmhouse loop. 8 miles. Total 56 miles. 31% complete.
Ohau, Canterbury, New Zealand. Riding along the Ōhau River, a 5-mile stretch between Lake Ōhau and Lake Ruataniwha. There appears to be a canal to the north, probably part of the hydroelectric works. See April 18. No streetview available.
April 18, 2020. Red barn loop. 10 miles. Total 48 miles. 27% complete.
Pukaki, Canterbury, New Zealand. Near Lake Ruataniwha, an artificial lake for hydroelectric power generation.
On this ride, I passed Twizel, aka Gondor. Middle Earth Tours are huge in NZ, “The set was mostly torn down after the Lord of the Rings movies, but it still drew fans wanting to see what was left. So, when they rebuilt the set for The Hobbit, they built it to last.” A Dangerous Business: 5 Middle Earth Locations You Can Visit in Real Life. Alas, I will not be virtually passing Matamata/Hobbiton. You get the idea of the level of commitment. See also mile 17
April 17, 2020. Short farmhouse loop. 8 miles. Total 38 miles. 21% complete.
Limited energy. Chose bike instead of horse. Biking is physically demanding but mental simple & does not require patience.
Southern shore of Lake Pukaki, Canterbury, New Zealand.
April 16, 2020. Proof of concept ride, 5 miles. Total 30 miles. 17% complete.
Short ride as evening set in.
Lake Pukaki, Tekapo, Canterbury, New Zealand. Off in the distance, Morgan’s Island.
Lake Pukaki, Tekapo, Canterbury, New Zealand, “The exceptionally clear waters are an unusual blue hue due to ‘glacial flour’ (powdered rock) carried into it from the glaciers above … The shoreline of Lake Pukaki is generally quite barren and uninhabited.” lakelubbers.com: Lake Pukaki, South Island, New Zealand
Lake is 9.5 miles long, britannica.com: Lake Pukaki. If I have gone 8 miles, not sure why I am only halfway along. Oh well, not as if I’m in a hurry. Red marker is my projected location given my self-selected finish time.
April 12, 2020. Short farmhouse loop 8 miles. Total 17 miles. Windy. 9% complete.
Program says I am at Tekapo, Canterbury, New Zealand. Tekapo is the name of a region, postal code 7999, per Google. Tekapo is also a lake, a river, and a town, none of which I am near. My virtual bike rests on the shores of Lake Pukaki, sight of Lake-town from The Hobbit movie.
Tourism New Zealand: ‘The Hobbit’ location: Lake-town – Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook
“Hobbit Tours available by arrangement” New Zealand B&B: Tasman Downs Station
“Tasman Downs Station was also host to Peter Jackson and his crew in 2011 for filming of parts of The Hobbit.” Newshub: The quirky high country farmer and his farm tours with a twist
April 11, 2020. Bucket field out & back 9 miles. Total 9 miles.
New ride. Passed a large field containing an inordinate number of the big plastic buckets used for cow supplements. 5% complete.
Program says I am in Canterbury, NZ. That is the name of the entire area. Not much help. Squinting at various maps indicates that I am next to the Tasman River. No streetview available, so screenshot of the satellite layer.
Mile 0 – “Starting from Aoraki / Mt Cook Village, the Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail is New Zealand’s longest continuous bike ride. The multi-day cycling trail descends over 609m and travels 300km to the coastal town of Oamaru. This trail showcases New Zealand’s geological, geographical and historical highlights from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean.” Tourism New Zealand: ‘The Hobbit’ location: Lake-town – Lake Pukaki, Mt Cook
Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Aoraki/Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. It is considered good practice for Everest. “When he (Hillary) agreed that his face could be used on the $5 note he insisted that Aoraki, not Everest, be used as the backdrop.” Wilderness: New Zealand vs The World Pike 2013, Commemorative $5 Bank Note
Map photo at Mount Cook Lodge. No landscape labels to tell which scenic mountain is in the distance.
The Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, Official Website. Medal and award images from The Conqueror Virtual Challenges. Screenshots courtesy of The Conqueror Virtual Challenges & Google Streetview/Maps.