Saturday, 10 May 2014

ALPS to OCEAN BICYCLE TOUR - Day 4 - Kurow to Oamaru, New Zealand

As we were cycling along admiring the views, we came across a sign that said "Vanished World Trail" and with a mokka like that, we just had to stop and investigate. Wow! what a place, not only did we learn that we were at the bottom of an ancient sea bed where the relics of ancient life had been discovered and studied by eminent Anthropologists, Archaeologists and Geologists from around the world but we could feast our eyes on some of the earliest Maori cave drawings.

This is what cycling tours are all about, you take the time to explore places which normally if in a car, you would simply drive past without giving a second thought.

Duneden, NZ, actually the complete opposite, a cafe in Duntroon, on the South Island of New Zealand. It did however, on first sight conjure up thoughts of Mexico which I hadn't been to since the early 70's. I think it was the colour that struck me and perhaps the wooden barrel because, as I remember it, driving in from the airport to Mexico City we passed through some poor neighbourhoods which it would seem, jazzed there lives up by painting the buildings in vivid, purples, pinks, yellow, green and blue, the views of which were implanted deep in the hidden vaults of my brain, only to be resurrected when confronted with the above scene.

My editor, who on a slack day masquerades as my wife, told me the other day that I was attempting to write a cycling blog and therefore, it would be nice to add some bicycles and wanting to please my editor, as writers do, I obliged with the above photo, not only was it a bespoke model of bicycle but I was rather taken with the basket with nicely presented bread, which as a photographer of sorts, took my fancy.

Duntroon, NZ
Looking at this view of Duntroon, it could have been taken in the USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand and the cafe from this angle looks nothing like Mexico and this is how a simple image can be  manipulated to give a different impression.

U3A's Cycling For Pleasure Group
What a raggedy lot of reprobates and no-hopers. They deserve to be in the inside of the Duntroon  Gaol not posing in front of it. Like all scoundrels, there is a small streak of humanity in them which is usually brought out when sampling New Zealand wines in a dimly lit, dilapidated bar to be found mainly in the back streets of some country town, where the hiding of ones identity is paramount.

Elephant Rocks

Elephant Rocks
Elephant rocks are a scattering of large limestone formations which may or may not resemble elephants depending on your imagination or frame of mind at the time. I can understand this being  sought after as a film location and in 2009, was one of the locations used to film the movie, The Chronicles of Narnia. We had a great time roaming around both the rocks and the decaying film set.

The film set of The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, (2005)
The Chronicles of Narnia was written by C.S. Lewis of which three have been made into film. The "Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" was filmed here and coincidentally, "The Voyage of the Dawn Trader" was partly filmed on Cleveland Point in Queensland, Australia close to where I live.
Elephant Rocks
What a magnificent vista. I remember taking this shot and thinking what a location to have a wide angle cinematic view of two opposing mythical armies thundering towards each other on horseback, sword blades flashing in the sunlight and blood curdling screams sending shivers down your spine. In stark contrast to my imagination my thoughts turned to thinking that someone actually lives here and leads a normal life grazing cattle and probably takes this magnificent scene for granted as he/she has seen it thousands of times.

From film set to the ocean, all in a good day's cycling. After spending what felt to be so long in the alps to suddenly be back on the coast was rather perplexing. Snow covered peaks one day and sand and surf the next. This country is amazing, such diverse scenery in such a small area.

Our two guides did a splendid job arranging picnic locations and this one was not to be outdone, perched high on a hill, overlooking ice blue water, waves breaking onto a sandy beach with the odd piece of driftwood and to top it all off, a fine, sunny, autumn day. Lunch was superb and I just loved those New Zealand mussels.

After lunch, we were back on our bikes again, riding the coastal road, heading for Oamaru. All up, I think we rode approximately 72 km this day being far more than some of our people ever imagined riding in a single day.

I really appreciate receiving good, constructive and polite comments.
Cheers and safe riding,
Jimmy Bee

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