Farewell South Island

With the gradual erosion of my bank account balances, a suitable opportunity to rejoin the workforce was most welcome. As such, since I got the phone call offering me a job on the last day of the June sojourn to the West Coast, July was rather quiet as I sorted details and prepared for the move north. There definitely was not much biking as a rather frigid few weeks set in and I couldn’t get motivated to re-ride gravel roads that were no longer new to me. But there was plenty more to do and think about.

Having been back in NZ for eight months, it was bigger trips away that got more coverage here. Understandably too, as there were a fair few highlights there – mostly notable surviving the 2015 Kiwi Brevet (1150 km around the top of the South Island was a great re-introduction to NZ); the big training rides for the brevet; a couple of trips to the North Island with short bike tours, a fantastic wedding, and visiting family & friends; a quick trip to Sydney to see family; and two trips to Westport to see Adele in her new home (the Heaphy Trail was the highlight of the riding). But the time, between those trips, with Mum & Dad in their new home was just as good – plenty to do and many places to explore.

The local beach, a short distance from home, was always good for a walk in the, frequent, sun.

Waikouaiti Beach

Further around the beach towards to estuary mouth

Out on my twenty kilometre loop – looking out across Waikouaiti and Hawkesbury Lagoon and over the Pacific.

As I trained a little bit for the Brevet, my eyes turned to the myriad of gravel roads slightly inland. I was surprised by the quality of the gravel road riding out there – wonderful scenery and pretty much deserted too.

Out riding in the hills of coastal East Otago.

At the end of one of my favourite gravel roads to ride, a station – remove a letter and you can anagram my name.

Looking over Karitane village to Waikouaiti Beach.

There was even the odd local event to go along to, sit in the sun and drink wine at.

A day at the local races.

My twenty kilometre loop came over that saddle and was a great rush down that hill.

The facilities are looking a little long in the tooth.

Another recurring route on the bike was north to Palmerston, avoiding the highway, and then on past Trotters Gorge to Moeraki.

On one of the few trips to the fishing village of Moeraki – where there is a uncanningly fantastic restaurant, with plenty of seafood, naturally.

The decor is somewhat eclectic – this historic hand-drier reminding me of Polimeri (my workplace in the UK actually still had these!).

Now that Mum & Dad have a much bigger section there was always plenty to do around home – particularly outside. I went a little way towards earning my keep by washing the exterior of the house, repeatedly mowing the lawns, replacing paving stones, picking apples & pears, carting & stacking dry firewood, and finally by wielding a chainsaw an awful lot cutting trees down & into burnable pieces. The weather often played fair and it was always nice to be outside – even on those crisp days close to freezing.

It looks a little different now that winter has arrived and many of the trees have been dealt to by a chainsaw to let some more light in.

So a great few months at home spending time with Mum & Dad. Nice to have that time before I dive into seeing if I can get used to a life that will be more settled &, dare I say it, normal than the preceding six years. We’ll see.

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