|Mackenzie Country Inn|
Last night was spent in Twizel*, where we were accommodated at the lovely Mackenzie Country Inn. After relaxing over a couple of beers with my room mate, Murray, we headed off to Shawtys Restaurant* and bar to catch up with the rest of the mob. It is always pleasant to finish a day of riding/sight seeing with friends sharing a meal in nice surroundings.
The town of Twizel, designed on a Scandinavian theme, was specifically built to accommodate workers on the massive hydro project being constructed in the Mackenzie Basin in New Zealand. This project took 18 years to complete.
Having a resident population of 1200, this trebles during the summer months with holiday makers and tourists.
Being a favourite haunt for the fly fishing fraternity with enough lakes, rivers and streams to fish new waters for 6 years, or, so they say. Sounds impressive doesn't it? More information can be had through opening LINKS at the bottom of this post.
|Gearing up for a back roads ride along the canals|
No boarding a bus this morning, it's straight into the ride, an 18km loop heading out from Twizel where we ride along a country road before turning and following the canal to Lake Ruataniwha with more picturesque lake views and then turning to head back into Twizel where we stopped and had a well deserved coffee at Poppies Restaurant.
|The endangered Kaki (Black Stilt)|
After coffee, we were back on the buses to be driven a short distance to the Department of Conservation's intensive breeding program to learn all about the endangered Kaki* and how a dedicated small band of professionals and volunteers are doing their damnest to prevent them from fading into oblivion
The Kaki (Black Stilt), the whole 40cm of it is the rarest wading bird in the world and an intensive, captive breeding program is under way to ensure this bird doesn't follow other species into extinction.
An annual release of young birds bred in captivity and a program to control introduced predators such as ferrets, hedgehogs and feral cats appear to be making headway in achieving this important goal.
On conclusion of our educational session on the Kaki, we were back on the buses heading for another lake. Pip and Fiona our two guides chose the location for lunch well and put on a scrumptious picnic and as we were all feeling hungry due to the cool, fresh alpine air we were ready to devour just about anything. Of course, in their usual competent fashion, these two ladies managed a lunch that would be worthy of a spread in a lifestyle magazine.
Waiting for lunch to be prepared, gave us a great opportunity to explore this part of the world and although I'm the world's worst and most impatient fisherman, I did have a hankering to drop a line in to try my luck at catching a trout or salmon for which this region is renowned.
With the inner man happy, we were back on our bikes riding along the banks of Lake Aviemore. This is a man made lake built as part of the Waitaki Hydroelectric Scheme. Completed in 1968, it is renowned for it's salmon and trout fishing as well as being popular for wind surfing and sailing. As can be seen in the above map, we were actually riding between pristine clear water on one side and rugged mountains on the other. The ride was smooth and the time went so quickly that I was quite surprised to see the dam wall at the end of the ride come into view when it did.
I know that my passion is recreational cycling and in particular day touring albeit....in comfort but one thing I would really love to do is to return to the New Zealand Alps and do some trekking and canoeing. There is something about this beautiful country that reaches out and insists that you return.
It was but a short drive to the village of Kurow and our accommodation for the night.
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For more information please open the following links:
Shawtys Restaurant and bar....http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Restaurant_Review-g612499-d812326-Reviews-Shawty_s_Cafe-Twizel_Mackenzie_District_Canterbury_Region_South_Island.html
The town of Twizel.... http://www.twizelnz.com/about-twizel-nz.html
The endangered Kaki (Black Stilt)...en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Stilt