2016 has been a little less adventurous for us but then 2015 set the bar high. However, with the t shirts and shorts getting a regular airing over the last four to six weeks we have been starting to think of our planned adventures during the coming southern hemisphere summer.
We are focusing on getting to know New Zealand a lot better, especially the South Island although, at times, I really do wonder if we should be spending time offshore while we can. The rhetoric from politicians from all corners of the Globe is not terribly encouraging at present. Let’s hope the prevailing Nationalist fervor is seen for what it is and those in the politics of hate don’t get elected. But, I don’t hold out a lot of hope, it seems all too easy these days to peddle a pile of rubbish and actually be believed. Either way, the days of relatively hassle free and cheap travel may be drawing to close as the World starts to heat up both politically and climatically.
In the meantime, we hit the road this week with a ‘warm-up’ diversion to Nelson to walk the Abel Tasman Track and the cycle back to Nelson. Our focus then moves to our ultimate road trip through NZ. Starting at Cape Rienga we will make our way as far south as State Highway 1 will take us; to Bluff. Then a short hop across to Oban on Stewart Island before slowly making our way back to Kerikeri.
We are traveling in our own car so we get to take our own bikes along this time. This has a downside. I have needed to make more of an effort to learn how to maintain the bikes. First up has been replacing the tyres to a more hybrid off/on road type that can better handle the mix of trails that we will ride along. Next up was getting all 21 gears to work again. I have been a little remiss with maintenance to date and the range of available gears has been steadily reducing. Both jobs were accomplished with ‘relative ease’ which for those who know my; mechanical, building and carpentry capabilities, will come as something of a shock. I decided that I have progressed (a lot) since the last day of our six day cycle in Provence when I undertook my first tyre change (rear wheel) and ended up with a number of spare parts after reassembling the bike.
We will be fitter for the start of this expedition than has been the case our others. With full time jobs no longer consuming most our days, we are able to get long(ish) walks completed every day. But, that additional fitness will be needed. Apart from being a little older, our walking will this trip, will encompass much tougher territory that we have handled in the past, culminating in the Tongariro Crossing in early April 2017. Ruth, as usual, has largely left the planning to me so there may be the odd surprise, mutiny and leadership change along the way. Will keep you posted on that one.
The planning has felt somewhat ‘slap dash’ compared to when we travel outside of NZ. Traveling at home, even for such a long period, does not bring quite the same range of risks, perceived or real, that planning a long period of foreign travel does. However, there will still be plenty challenges and risks; rather than battling with; air, rail and bus connections or, crowds, the challenges will be more physical in nature, the terrain, elements and of course other drivers.
This Google map displays our destinations along the way