South Island

In March 2006, I returned home, primarily to go to Cameron’s wedding, but also to travel around the country. I spent most of the month driving around, mountain biking where I could. Particularly good biking on the Queen Charlotte Track, and in Central Otago. Here’s some photos from the South Island. North Island photos here.

For most of the year, you can ride the Queen Charlotte Track. It’s brilliant to be able to get the boat to one end, which then takes your pack to wherever you’re staying. I did it over two days, but it might be nicer to do it over three. It’s not that brilliant a riding trail, but it’s tough to beat for scenery

Heading out on the boat, to the start of the trail:

Ship Cover Heading out on the boat

Some more scenery shots from the trail, and a muddy cyclist:

Queen Charlotte view Muddy cyclist Narrow Bridge Queen Charlotte view Queen Charlotte view Muddy cyclist Misty view of the sounds

Travelling south along the east coast, you can stop off and look at a seal colony, right next to the main road. Pretty cool

Seal Colony

I was struggling a little to get the lighting right, but this shot of the Christchurch Cathedral came out OK.

Christchurch Cathedral at night

It’s a bit of a standard tourist thing to do, and to be honest a little underwhelming, but the Moeraki Boulders are still worth a quick look

Moeraki Boulders

The Central Otago Rail Trail is a pretty good idea, making riding accessible, and reviving some of the small towns along the way. The gentle gradient and stunning scenery makes for a nice ride – I want to go back and ride the whole thing

Rail Trail Rail Trail Rail Trail

A genuine Southern Man pub in St Bathans, where we stayed after riding the Rail Trail. Cool lake next to it too

Vulcan Hotel St Bathans Lake

Naseby Forest is an excellent mountain biking park. Here’s Dave, pushing his bike up the hill. Nic was still riding.

Naseby Forest

Every corner you go around in the South Island tends to have these sorts of views. After a while you get blase about it.

South Island Lake

I could hardly miss the glaciers, could I? A little unreal having glaciers in the middle of the forest

Franz Joseph Glacier Fox Glacier

This sign particularly amused me – cyclists, you have been warned. An interesting bridge, none the less. Road and rail users share a one-lane bridge. Obviously they don’t get a huge traffic volume.

Cyclist warning sign