map of the journey
The Banks Peninsula can be quite demanding on a hot day, if you choose to maximize your ups and downs via Summit Road, Diamond Bay, Port Levy, Pigeon Bay and the outer Summit Road to the French settlement of Akaroa. Back via Bossu Road on an unsealed road at the top up to 750m. The Canterbury Plains down to Rakaia and Geraldine are a bit boring, New Zealands longest bridge, a huge statue of a salmon and a good place for people interested in sheep, not many hills, just pretty plain. The hills and later mountains start after Geraldine and some spectacular views from Mt Michael and Burkes Pass with multi-coloured lupines along the road. Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki have azure-blue water due to rock flour suspended in the water. There is an observatory at St John just 45min walk from Lake Tekapo and the Astro Café serves nice coffee and cake. Mueller Hut and Hooker Glacier with views to Mt Cook/Aoraki are some of the attractions in the 54km long cul-de-sac. Sir Edmund Hillary trained here for his (sucessfull) attempt in Mt Everest.
Ferocious north westerly tailwinds accelerated me on a plain in this valley in the way back to 45km/h without pedaling. Unfortunately that did not last as far as Twizel and Omarama, from where I will enter central Otago via Lindis Pass tomorrow.