20/02/12, Day 19, Picton to Camden Station

First day on the South Island! And what an  island it is 🙂 I think this one has proper mountains 🙂

The plan was to divert from the original Tour Aotearoa route a bit for the first couple of days here. Instead of heading directly to the west coast, I wanted to dive into the Inland Awatare Valley leading to the Molesworth Musterstation, one of New Zealands biggest farms, located in what the locals call the high country. It’s all pretty remote and the expectation was to be without cell reception for some three or four days (including today). It would be a nice test case to see how self sufficient I really am, on a multi-day stretch 🙂 Because fair is fair: i’m normally not that self sufficient 😀 

Anyways: that was the plan. However, yesterday I was warned by a local on Instagram that part of the road I planned to take was closed due to fire hazard. A quick google search indeed showed that the road was closed for al MOTORIZED vehicles. It also gave a phone number to inquire about the latest status on the road. But as it already was quite late, nobody answered the phone…

So this morning I was on my way at 0700, without knowing for certain whether the road would be open. Once I reached Blenheim after about 25k, I gave the DOC another ring. They answered the phone and told me that the road is open to cyclists and that it is safe to travel along the road, as long as I don’t lit any fires. I promised I wouldn’t. So I stocked up on water purification tablets and non srew-upable food and made my way to the high country!

So the bit of road I traveled today is still open to cars, but as the road ahead is closed, it was really nice and quiet 🙂 It was quite hilly though. And it was a combination of sealed road and gravel. And as we are in the rain shadow of the more western mountains, it also was quite hot!

I made it to Camden Station though. It is not on any of the DOC maps and it’s not on my own offline map. So I didn’t expect to much of it. However it turned out to be a sheep farm, with a little campsite, some beds, a shared kitchen and a shower and toilets 🙂 so not too bad if you just expect to be camping along the road without any facilities 🙂 The sheep are quite noisy though 🙂 Apparently because the lambs were separated from their mums for the first time 😦 So sad…

Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be a big day. Only a 100k, but 1700m of climbing. Today was 93k with 1200m of climbing, which already wore me down, especially as it got hotter and hotter. Lets see how it goes. At least I got two joker days!

Are these mountains?

They look like mountains…

190k without fuel and cell reception. And after that I take a similar remote road to the westcoast.

I think they are mountains!

Jep definitely mountains!

Look at that crazy river… making its way through the mountains…

Crazy roads through the mountains as well…

It still goes up and down though…

The sheep are in the mountains too!

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