After a fabulous breakfast provided by Sue, the caretaker of Campbell Park Estate, we decided to start the day’s cycle from Campbell Park Estate rather than being shuttled back to Kurow – it meant we were short changing ourselves by about 5km but no one seemed too bothered. Danny, however, wanted to go back to Kurow so Ian dropped him there. He is a speedy gonzales so it didnt take too long for him to catch us all up again.
There is some maori rock art work and elephant rocks to see along the way. I had seen it before so carried onto Duntroon to have a coffee at Flying Pigs Cafe. It was the last day they were open for this season – they will reopen again in October.
The last time we did the Alps to Ocean ride we rode on the road through to Oamaru but quite a lot of it is now tracked. The new track goes through some beautiful farmland. There was a bit of climbing involved and even a switchback which I managed to get all the way to the top of : )
We stopped just before the Rakis Railway Tunnel for lunch – our last picnic lunch of the trip and we managed to finish off all the home baking – rationed to perfection.
Everyone was looking forward to a bit more downhill cycling into Oamaru but it was not to be. The second phrase that we came to use frequently on this trip was ‘upulating’. This replaced the term ‘undulating’ which we had incorrectly interpreted to mean ‘gently rolling downhill’. After going through the historic sandstone block Rakis Railway Tunnel we got onto some rolling country roads and when I say rolling, they rolled up as much as they rolled down! We all regrouped at Weston to ride the last 6km into Oamaru together. We rode through the botanical gardens down to the seaside where the A2O trail officially ends. There were some pretty happy people in the group – we did approximately 260km over the five days.
After the obligatory photo at the finish we rode to Brydone Hotel where we freshened up before enjoying some bubbles before dinner. We had dinner at The Post which was very nice. Another evening filled with lots of laughs. Debbie was awarded Duckhead today for pulling her ‘Deborah from Remuera’ stunt on some unsuspecting Wellingtonian we met on the trail.
The next morning after a lovely breakfast at Tees Cafe we had a couple of hours to wander around Oamaru. Oamaru is a lovely town with lots of beautiful limestone buildings – this limestone which is quarried in nearby Weston is known as Oamaru Stone. The Oamaru Whitestone Civic Trust owns 17 of these limestone buildings. Oamaru contains over 70 buildings registered as Category 1 or 2 Historic Places in the New Zealand Historic Places Trust register.
It is also the Steampunk capital of NZ. Steampunk refers to a subgenre of science fiction and sometimes fantasy—also in recent years a fashion and lifestyle movement—that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Although its literary origins are sometimes associated with the cyberpunk genre, steampunk works are often set in an alternative history of the 19th century’s British Victorian era or American “Wild West”, in a post-apocalyptic future during which steam power has maintained mainstream usage, or in a fantasy world that similarly employs steam power. It was then all aboard the bus again for our four hour journey back to Christchurch Airport where I said goodbye to all those returning to Auckland. I flew home via Wellington where it was raining cats and dogs. My flight was delayed due to the Chinese Hockey Team taking an age to get on board and sit in the correct seats. I arrived back in the Hawkes Bay at 8pm that night – I had thoroughly enjoyed my adventure with some of the coolest people I know!