Wanaka to Queenstown

Today was a very short riding day. Only an hour’s worth riding the 100 km from Wanaka to Queenstown. It was also a little hair raising though because I took the Crown Range road which is the highest driving road in NZ. My fear of heights really kicked in at the huge drop below and the steeply descending road and I slowed to a crawl. It is quite maddening how this works. Those same roads on solid ground I would ride fast through in a heartbeat. Add some elevation and exposed sections and I’m riding like an ass.

There were seven hairpin turns at the end which I also managed to botch up spectacularly. I remember flying down roads like that in the Alps five years before. I guess my skills have gotten quite a bit rusty since then.

Oh well, I’m in Queenstown and my hostel – Bumbler’s  Backpackers – has an epic view.


Dorm room with an incredible view at Bumbler’s Backpackers in Queenstown, NZ


Geraldine to Wanaka

Day 2 of the ride. I still felt very achy and tired. I had a bit of a long day ahead. In terms of mileage it was short if you’re in the United States but the roads here are like in Europe – twisty and winding. Most of the ride went through big sky country – vast open plains with dry brown mountains all around. It looked nothing like the photos of glorious snow-capped mountains that I had seen online so I was a bit bummed. I guess November is a far better time to visit if you want that view. The summer here had been a scorcher so all the snow had melted.

The first fantastic view I had was of Lake Tekapo. So so blue and sparkling. I pulled off the main road to find the old historic church I had read about. I walked up to the lake, snapped a few photos and took off.


Old historic church on the banks of Lake Tekapo


Lake Tekapo



And then came my first holy-crap-that’s-unbelievably-beautiful moment of my trip as I neared Lake Pukaki. Picture a bright lake with misty blue mountains encircling it. Also picture no place to pull over and just drink in the sight! How frustrating! I have never seen anything like it. If there’s a heaven, this is what it looks like.


Lake Pukaki – absolutely marvellous!