‘Retrouvailles’, New Zealand : from Timaru to Omarama
Cyril and Elodie’s bike trip has started in New Zealand on the banks of the Timaru and Omarama lakes.
Their first encounters with the people were very pleasant because “the Kiwis are extraordinarily kind, welcoming, easy and patient.” To spend as much time with the New Zealanders as possible Cyril and Elodie have chosen to stay at the locals’ homes thanks to the websites Couchsurfing and Warmshowers. When they can’t find a place to stay they’ll go camping.
For the beginning of the trip the roads are quite easy to cycle, there are lots of cycle paths and the others users are patient and careful.
“The first kilometers enabled us to test the material, make some adjustments, recover from the flight and the jetlag.” In 5 days, the couple has cycled for 220km.
“The concept of city centre doesn’t really exist. It seems the English tried to establish this way of living but it didn’t work. Usually there is one main street lined with a few shops in the middle of the city, the houses are set around this main street and the farms are at the entrance and exit of the city. You won’t find a central area with restaurants and bars like in Europe !”
After stopping at Fairlie, Cyril and Elodie took the road to the lakes through the State Highway 8. Steep roads and a strong wind forced them to reduce their speed until Lake Tepako 710m high.
Then the pair reached one of the most famous bike trails in New Zealand : the ‘Alps 2 Oceans Bike Trail’ to reach lake Pukaki, the biggest lake in New Zealand with Mount Cook (3754m high) in the background.
“On the way to Omarama. To reach this village we were quite lucky : wind in our backs, a slight slope, we can cycle up to 30km/h easily, it lifts our spirits up.”
After 480km and a hill of 1750m, the pair is quite enthusiast about the KIT L80 bike trailer :
“All our stuff is easily carried in our AEVON bike trailer which follows us everywhere ! It’s really handy and completely waterproof ! Our total load was quite heavy and when we’re going downhill it doesn’t waver (up until 71km/h). The fact the trailer is suspended (with a shock absorber) is very handy as you can climb any type of obstacle without any damage to the rim or tyre. We are happy with our choice and recommend it to other bikpackers like us.
The photovoltaic panel was a brilliant idea, our GPS and phones’ batteries are always full. That’s exactly what we needed !”
We will follow Cyril and Elodie along their trip, don’t hesitate to read their blog.