#29 - the otago central rail trail

Lauder Travel Blog

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the beginning of the rail trail! that's my "comfort" bike.

*****DAY FORTY-FOUR (Thursday, Jan 15th) - CLYDE -> LAUDER ON THE RAIL TRAIL*****

I was SO tired this morning - but I really wanted to bike the Otago Rail Trail....so off I went!  I had them store my luggage at the Fern Lodge for a night because I would be back the next day, and I only took what I needed for that day & the next - I would be carrying it with me in paniers on the bike.

So, I drove down to Clyde and rented my bike & got myself all sorted (love that NZ word!)  I originally thought I was going to bike half of the trail that day...it didn't look that hard, it was relatively flat, only with a slight grade and hey, I did the AIDS Lifecycle Ride, I could do this EASY, right?!?  Well, turns out - not so much.  It was HARD.

alexandra!!! that's what lyndee & scott named their new little baby born just a few days ago. :)
  Not only did it feel more uphill than it looked, but it was frickin hot out there!  I also couldn't believe it, but I barely saw any other bikers on the trail.  It was a bit concerning at one point when I realized if anything happened to me, no one would really know.  I can right about this after the fact since I'm safe & sound now, but it was really crazy that it was EMPTY.

Anyway, I biked to Lauder that day - 47k.  A few highlights from the day:

*  My stop in Chatto Creek at the pub.  Met some nice locals, met Leslie and Dorothy (who own/work at the bar), had a great toasted sammie & then Leslie gave me a beer to deliver the people I'd be staying with in Lauder at the Rail School B & B since they knew them.

* Dinner with Noleen and Marian, two lovely ladies who were staying at the same B & B.

at the bar in chatto creek. i had a DELICIOUS coke w/raspberry syrup & a grilled cheese w/tomato for lunch. it was SO hot out & i was starving!

* The KING bed I had at the B & B.  I reallly almost cried when I saw what I was going to get to sleep in!  :)

* The Rail School B & B in general...it was just darling & the owners were SO nice!!!

* Being on a bike was pretty cool!  And I *definitely* thought of all my biking buddies along the way....Peter, Suzanne, Stef, Jeff, Lyndee, Lizzie, Kevvers, etc!  :)

* Oh - and another highlight was definitely my white biking shirt I was wearing.  It was so funny, just a few days ago I was thinking...hey, it would be cool if I had a white shirt (I have so many black & grey things)...and it would be cool if it was made out of cool maxy type material...and then VOILA, at the volunteer meeting for the wanaka challenge...guess what they gave us for volunteering?!!?  SO cool.

so pretty!
  So that's what I wore & it made me happy.  :)

*****DAY FORTY-FIVE (Friday, Jan 16th) - 2nd DAY ON THE TRAIL!*****

So one thing I didn't really plan for was the whole biking clothing part of this.  I was very lucky that I mentioned to Noleen and Marian at dinner that I didn't have the right shorts for biking because they happened to have an EXTRA pair that they said I could borrow!!!!  Hilarious!  All I had to do was return them to their friend's B & B that was between Arrowtown & Queenstown - and since I was going to be driving that way in a few days it would totally work!  I LOVE it!  SO, now I was really set with the biking shirt (which thank god they let me do laundry at the B & B b/c I was so stinky from the day before)

I ended up biking 76k today!  I continued further along the trail from Lauder so I could go through the tunnels and over the viaducts.

at omakau station...nice self-timed pic.
  They were very cool & well worth the trip.  I have to admit, I was a bit freaked out when I went through the tunnels.  They were PITCH black and the were LONG.  I realized later that I had my headlamp with me....that would have been a good idea to actually use it.  Anyway, I made it through safely and once I got to Auripo, I turned around and started my trip back to Clyde.  The good news was that is was down hill, there was a tail wind and it was a LOT cooler than yesterday.  It really made for a pleasant day of riding.  AND I had biking shorts on today....seriously...could it get much better?

I biked the trail all the back to Alexandra (yay!  that's Lyndee & Scott's new baby's name!  I love it!)  and then took a trail that went along the river back to Clyde.

There were 2 tunnels to go through. Very cool - a bit scary though I have to admit. PITCH black & I was by myself. :)
  There were some good things and bad things about that trail.  The good was that it was beautiful & I loved biking along the lake & in a more shaded area.  The bad was that there was more up & down than on the official rail trail & my bike was definitely heavy with the paniers on it.  I actually ended up having a bit of a crash.  :)  I'm okay, so don't worry.  But, I was getting ready to bike down a little hill, I got a little nervous because it looked all rocky & bumpy, so I slammed on the brakes.  Did I mention the brakes are reverse over here???  So, luckily I didn't go flying over my handle bars....but I did do a nice skid/crash thing into the side of the mountain.  I ended up with a couple of really beautiful bruises.
A viaduct! Oooo. Ahhh.
..not to mention, I was a little bit shaken up.  When I realized everything was in tact I tried to bike again & couldn't figure out why it wasn't working.   THEN, I realized my handle bars had gone alllll the way around.  :)  So, I straightened them out & I was on my way.    By the time I got to Clyde, I was STARVING.  I found the best little cafe and ended up having the most perfect meal for me....I had a flat white and then it was a dish that had a poached egg on yummy toast, spinach, mushrooms, this yummy pumpkin casserole thingy, and STREAKY bacon.  I finally learned what to order to get bacon like we have in the states.  It was delish!

So, then I drove all the way back to Wanaka.

Pretty ride from Alexandra to Clyde.
  I was definitely wiped out after my past few days of adventure.

Chris & Heidi had just arrived in Wanaka & were having dinner at Jamie & Anna-Kate's house, so I showered, laid down for about 20 mintues & then went over to meet them!  It was fun to finally meet them since we've been e-mailing for months now!  It was a mellow night because they had the race the next day....but that TOTALLY worked for me because I was so ready to go home and happily PASS OUT!!!!  :)

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the beginning of the rail trail!  …
the beginning of the rail trail! …
alexandra!!!  thats what lyndee &…
alexandra!!! that's what lyndee …
at the bar in chatto creek.  i had…
at the bar in chatto creek. i ha…
so pretty!
so pretty!
at omakau station...nice self-time…
at omakau station...nice self-tim…
There were 2 tunnels to go through…
There were 2 tunnels to go throug…
A viaduct!  Oooo.  Ahhh.
A viaduct! Oooo. Ahhh.
Pretty ride from Alexandra to Clyd…
Pretty ride from Alexandra to Cly…
a bridge on the rail trail.
a bridge on the rail trail.
mooooo
mooooo
a closer mooooooo
a closer mooooooo
scenery on the rail trail from cly…
scenery on the rail trail from cl…
the chatto creek tavern.  my first…
the chatto creek tavern. my firs…
two local farmers in for a beer, l…
two local farmers in for a beer, …
an old outhouse.  shirley made me …
an old outhouse. shirley made me…
new zealands smallest post office…
new zealand's smallest post offic…
inside the smallest post office in…
inside the smallest post office i…
more of the post office.
more of the post office.
had to take a picture of all my mi…
had to take a picture of all my m…
such a beautiful day!
such a beautiful day!
each station had those little red …
each station had those little red…
YAY!  so happy to be in lauder.  i…
YAY! so happy to be in lauder. …
i almost cried when they showed me…
i almost cried when they showed m…
such a cute little B & B with thin…
such a cute little B & B with thi…
Marian and Noeline - two lovely la…
Marian and Noeline - two lovely l…
Gerald, the bar owner.
Gerald, the bar owner.
Look, its Sasha!
Look, it's Sasha!
Love the Wooing Tree Pinot Noir!
Love the Wooing Tree Pinot Noir!
This is the pub across the street …
This is the pub across the street…
In front of the B & B - it was cal…
In front of the B & B - it was ca…
Such an artistic shot of my map, m…
Such an artistic shot of my map, …
Second day of biking.  A cool viad…
Second day of biking. A cool via…
Picture of my map with all the sta…
Picture of my map with all the st…
Info about the Poolburn Viaduct
Info about the Poolburn Viaduct
The second tunnel
The second tunnel
This was an old railway station st…
This was an old railway station s…
In case you didnt know, I was on …
In case you didn't know, I was on…
Did you know there were sheep in N…
Did you know there were sheep in …
Shaky Bridge in Alexandra.
Shaky Bridge in Alexandra.
ALEXANDRA!  Taken in honor of Alex…
ALEXANDRA! Taken in honor of Ale…
The river alongside Alex.  SO pret…
The river alongside Alex. SO pre…
Biking alongside the river back to…
Biking alongside the river back t…
I passed the Wooing Tree vineyard …
I passed the Wooing Tree vineyard…
Lauder
photo by: radrockyd