March 15

March 15 – travel day- this morning we packed up and ate a delicious breakfast at The Ritual. We had the Spanakopia which was so good that we ordered the Montreal which was poached eggs with smoked salmon! Great find in Wanaka.
We headed to Queenstown and came across Bradona, a display put on by the New Zealand Breast cancer society. Its is a long fence where woman who have had breast cancer place their bras to raise awareness for the cause. There must have been over 2000 bras!
Getting to Queenstown is like going on Space Mountain at Disney. First you head up and up and up and when you reach the peak which seems like Mt Everest, you start to descend in an almost weightless vertical drop and you try not to go off the road with all the hairpin switchbacks where you try to turn your steering wheel to its limits to the far right and then the far left and of course the large RV that you meet in the middle of the hairpin turn going the other way!!! Yikes! Quite the rush!!!
Queenstown is a resort town nestled between very tall hills and located on lake Wakatipu.

Morning on Lake Wanaka
Kayaks on Lake Wanaka
Panoramic Queenstown

March 14

March 14 – we are back at Mt Cook to hike up the Hooker trail which is a 10km return. Along the way we went over 3 swinging bridges,of course- what is the deal with all the swinging bridges ? And they are all going over very swift rivers, and when it is windy which in the mountains is constant, they swing or sway and basically are scary for someone who is afraid of heights and afraid of bouncing at terrifying heights as well!! Needless to say, it is the only way to get to the other side so I focused on the other side and took off!! By the time we came back I took a video of part of the bridge crossing.
But the hike was fabulous. If one stopped and listened you could here the glaciers above cracking from the melting snow. At one spot we heard a big pop like a cork being popped off a bottle of champagne and a big gush of water formed a waterfall for about a minute and then it was gone. Incredible site to witness! At Mueller lake which is the turn around point. We saw small ice bergs on the lake which was a grayish color from all the glacial silt run off. It is a great spot to sit and have lunch, test your ability of skipping rocks or for-the “hardy soul”, take a plunge into the cold lake! Not for me, I am “hardy” but not stupid!
After hiking back we headed to Wanaka past a new landscape of rolling hills with great shadows from the end of the day and great lines of light on fences and spider webs.

Heading to Mt Cook
Lake Mueller with ice bergs
Oh boy, more swinging bridges!
Hooker Trail to Mueller Lake
Scenic ride to Wanaka
Spider web catches cotton seed

March 13 Friday

March 13

Blanche and Craig, owners of the Old School Inn at Enfield, hosted 11 of our group last night.  They sent us to the local pub for dinner and this morning they served us a great egg breakfast at their inn.  They had purchased this school 3 years ago after it closed and repurposed it as an inn.  They did much of the work themselves and the place is beautiful.  

It was the last day and only 20km to go so no one was in a hurry.  

As we rode to our destination of Oamaru on the coast we passed by pastures with sheep and cows.  Soon, however , we started coming into a small city which is  something we have not seen on this trip.  One of the first things we came by in Oamaru was their lovely public gardens.  You can tell the community takes pride in it since the garden is well cared for.  The roses were blooming and their scent was  sweet. We soon came to the heart of the city with large churches , many stores and businesses and their harbor where we ended our Alps to Ocean  (A2O) ride. 

Our tour company brought us back to Twizel to our car and we saw the sun set at Lake Pukaki with Mt Cook in the distance! 

We finished Alps to Ocean!
Oamaru harbor
Oamaru Gardens
Mt Cook at dusk

March 10

Careful on bridge
Moon rise over lake Ohau
Riding through streams!
Follow the path
On the dirt road to
Front moving in
Storm is coming

After the steak/chicken dinner for all the A2O riders at the Ohau lodge last night several of us went outside to see the “super moon” rise.  While watching we also saw a continuous line of over 20 of the SpaceX Starlink satellites going over.  

The lodge served breakfast to us at 8 this morning, a little later then we would have preferred since rain was forecasted and we wanted to get going.  Fortunately the rain never appeared and it turned out to be a very nice day.  The lodge provided a packed lunch with a sandwich, apple and brownie type thing.

It was a rough and rocky climb up to the summit of today’s route but at the top a group was celebrating one of their riders birthday with a champagne toast.  They later remarked the champagne may have been a bad idea as the downhill really required your full attention with very rocky trail and curved wooden bridges with no side rails.  Did I mention the streams we had to ford. Hope my shoes dry by morning!

March 9

March 9 – we bike out of Twizel on our mountain bikes in the fog for Ohau, pronounced Oho or sometime oh oh!!
Sunshine quickly came through once we left town and we had a clear blue sky with puffy clouds the rest of the day. The beauty of the sky competed with the brilliant azure blue of the glacial lakes. We followed the A2O from the paved road to dirt trails that were sometimes stones! We wove our way around the circumference of Lake Ohau. As we traveled north the wind picked up considerably. We were also greeted with a view of the mountain range where Mt Cook is.
Glorious day!

Leaving Twizel
Lake Ohau
Blowing grass
Lake Ohau
View from Lake Ohau

March 7

March 7- we drove from Christchurch to Twizel. We passed by Tekapo Lake a glacier lake. At night we went to Pukaki Lake for sunset and ended up watching an Ad being filmed by the tent at the lake.

Lake Pukaki
Setting up for commercial
Waiting for the right light

March 6

March 6 -it’s funny that i stayed at the Le Petit Hotel because my grandkids call me Grandma in the Little house in Cape Cod, so here I am at the Little Hotel in Christ Church! We decided to go out to the countryside from Christchurch to Springfield, where cows as well as sheep are plentiful! Our means of transportation once there are was horse power. My horse was Memphis and Mark was on Jack. Our guide was Chris. We rode through the hills to beautiful vistas where we enjoyed tea or coffee and of course pastry!

The little hotel
We rode up the hill to a beautiful view

March 5

March 5 – today, Mike, one of the owners and captain of the “ferry” boat drove us from Hopewell lodge to our car which we left on the other side of the bay. So much easier than driving all around. It was a beautiful day with a great sunrise to bid our farewell to.
We took the very windy, curvy, dare-devil hairpin turns to Havelock. The landscape changed to the flat fertile plains where vineyards could be seen on both sides of the road. Upon reaching the East coast of the South Island the landscape went from flat to brown hills, to seaside roads with very few “hairpin turn signs”, but beware, there are plenty of hairpin turns!!!
This road, route 1 had been badly damage by the last few earthquakes and there was Lots of stopping and driving over gravel and plenty of orange cones- one in which is now a flat pancake because of me!
It took hours to reach Christ Church, but it was quite scenic. We did see seals along the way and their cubs were playfully swimming in large tidal pools. It was quite a treat to watch.

Marlboro Sound
Along Route 1
Seal along the way
Beautiful landscape along Route 1
Route 1

March 3

March 3- it was going to be a rainy drizzly day so we decided to help deliver the”mail” and guest to various islands in the Marlborough Sound. We passed by mussel farms. There are over 600 farms which net over 300 million dollars a year. As we sailed we listened to the commentary about the history of the sound.
As we approached the piers where we delivering mail we were greeted by people, dogs, sheep, pigs and a goat. The happy animals were rewarded with treats . It was fun to watch!
We were rewarded with freshly made cinnamon Buns from Hopewell Lodge. Yum

We were their first mail pick up!
Children and pigs greeted us
Pigs loved getting treats from crew!
Drizzly rain and low clouds with periods of sunshine!
Sheep even liked their treats
Marlborough Sound
Our treat- Fresh cinnamon buns!