A foretaste of how hell could possibly be…

For the last part of our cycling trip, we cycled from Greymouth (the most boring city ever, not only of New Zealand but probably in the whole world…) to Christchurch over two passes: Arthur’s Pass and Porter’s Pass. Now luckily the landscapes on this part are absolutely spectacular, because especially the part over Arthur’s Pass seemed to come directly out of hell. Let us explain why…

Steep roads: Now if you think you have been riding (or driving) on steep roads, then you haven’t been in New Zealand yet. Visibly being a new country in which motorized traffic has been available all the time, they build roads just clearly straight. No, not straight as in “without curves” but straight up the hill, no matter how steep that hill is. On Arthur’s Pass they created their absolute masterpiece: a few kilometers of 15% steep uphill sections, making that for about 2 kilometers we had to push our bikes (this maybe also explains why Kiwis insist on talking about “push bikes” when they talk about bicycles…). :-(

Strong headwinds: Now as if incredibly steep roads wasn’t enough, the weather decided to add a little bit to the fun by offering us some strong very strong headwinds. It is especially to note that normally winds here blow in northwest direction (which is cool because we were going southeast) but that “a few times a year, for a few days only” the direction changes. We chose to do Arthur’s Pass on one of those days. Therefore, when we finally got to the Otira Viaduct (which is only 11% steep) the wind was so strong that we still couldn’t ride our bikes. :-(

Rain-Snow: If yesterday we had perfectly fine weather and the campsite owner had assured us even this morning that it should be a “fine day” we managed to get into a rain-wind storm (in our face, because remember, we had the wind against us…) which brought a cold that was almost unbearable. It was just fantastic! :-(

BUT luckily after Arthur’s Pass the weather cleared up and the days after we had very nice weather with beautiful views on the snow topped mountains around us while we slowly but steadily cycled to Christchurch over Porter’s Pass.

Towards Porter's Pass... Cold but beautiful!

And the good thing about days like that is that now we are really looking forward to Tahiti next week. Sunshine, here we come! :-)

Vera & Jean-Christophe

PS: Due to frozen fingers, we don’t have any pictures of our “adventures” on Arthur’s Pass. ;-)

One Comment

  1. Posted June 4, 2008 at 4:30 | Permalink

    There is one thing about your trip in New Zealand. The pictures are really something. I guess the landscape helps a lot.
    But I have to admit I am looking forward your Tahiti days. A whole new world :o)
    How many days planned over there ? And what’s next ?