I took a 2 litre hydration pack – the Nathan HPL 020 Vest
– which fits comfortably and I could keep a could snacks and such in and a MUST HAVE item – the Steri Pen. I did not need the Steri Pen in NZ – but this handy item means one never need buy bottled water again. We used it straight for 5months – many times a day taking water from streams and taps from around the world and never got ill and never even needed to change the batteries. I have the Adventure Opti
CLOTHING – I love Patagonia gear. I packed one of their skirts – that can also be a dress and can be casual or slightly dressy. Comfy for the plane and at camp. Also, one Patagonia tee, and a layer system for the cold – one pair long johns, one fleece zip up, a down jacket and rain coat. I took two cycle outfits and washed and dried them by hand in the evening. I had three pair of socks and swimsuit and two sets of undergarments. One pair of gloves, a neckwarmer/hat, and visibility vest. To get to the clothing easily and for extra protection in the frame bag – I stored outfits in ziplock bags – this also makes packing tighter in available space too.
WORK AND LEISURE
– I still had work at the beginning of the week so brought my MacAir 13’ and chargers. I did not bother with our solar power system because I knew I would be within riding distance to cafes and camps, however, for off the track, have used Brunton Solaris
in the past. On my touringbike I have a Hub-powered lighting and a USB plug for my phone made by SuperNova
in Germany – this is a great system but did not need it for this trip.
READING MATERIAL: Once the work was done I picked up a second hand novel (Nick Hornby) and then a second at a book trade in Cromwell (Roald Dahl short stories). However, now that I’m reading Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – I’d have packed that because it takes place on the route. I also had my iPhone which I used for communications, a camera, and entertainment – I listened to many BBC Documentaries and TED Talks while cycling.
And that’s it. Total weight with bike and all the gear was about 18 Kg. Pretty light for a cycle tour. I had everything covered for warm, cold, and rainy weather and the only thing I would change out is the sleeping matt.
The cycling was gorgeous, over 11,000meters elevation of climbing on roads that were paved but not busy with traffic. Many of the towns I passed catered for cyclists with the Rail Trail nearby.
I love cycling solo because it provides greater opportunity to connect with the locals and to make independent choices and changes. From Dunedin I stopped not far from the airport at a small campsite near lake Waihola. It had been pouring rain and the flight landed late so it was already getting dark when I rolled in completely drenched. The kind owner offered me a can a beans from his cupboard as nothing near would be open for supplies. In the morning I found the owner with two truck drivers in the kitchen (one of whom had never seen a laptop before – asking me if that’s what a computer was!) and we got to chatting about my route. They said I should forget about cycling to the South Island’s most southern end and should instead venture inland towards Queenstown. I took their advice and changed my route and started for Queesntown through Lawson and Cromwell. So glad that I did too – the weather turned sunny (they said it was dependably sunny inland) although all around me was stormy and rain.
The road from Queenstown to Wanaka was by far my most favourite – I was so inspired by the scenery – the climbs and descents that I continued onto Cromwell and had my fastest average at about 25km an hour over 120km – loved it.
From Cromwell I went through Ranfurly and once I arrived at Palmerston, I cycled 22km the wrong way – making the cycle into Dunedin my longest day at 160km.