Friday November 9, 2012, 48 miles (77 km) – Total so far: 921 miles (1,482 km)
When I fell yesterday I twisted my back so unfortunately I wasn’t in any kind of climbing shape this morning. Instead I found a guy to take us up to the top of Crown Saddle at 3500 feet. This was a huge help as we really wanted to be in Queenstown today for a few days rest before the return ride to Christchurch. Today marks four weeks on the road with less than two remaining. My original plan was to cycle to Milford Sound but at 300 km (180 miles one way) it’s not going to happen so we will fly there.
On the way to the Crown Saddle we stopped at the cyclist famous Cardrona Hotel which is a pub built in 1863. What a fantastic place to step back in time and I have seen it on so many biking blogs. It was 11 am but a perfect time for a pint of Cardrona’s local brew. After that we were soon at the top and started our exhilarating journey down the mountain. As I worked the brakes I continued to cringe with the scary fast descent. I have never gone so fast on a bike and continued to stare at the road and hold tight. The 55 plus pounds of baggage on each bike didn’t help. Every time I strayed into the oncoming lane I was thankful there were no cars there. Once the descent was complete the ups and downs to Queenstown became painful but I knew there would be rest at the end. The road was very busy and fortunately we spied a lakeside bike path that although gravel and dirt was very inviting. After several miles along the lake we were soon in downtown Queenstown and the GPS found our way up a very steep hill to the Butterfli Lodge. The view from this backpacker of Queenstown Bay and the surrounding ski slope gondola, and hills is beautiful. I can’t get over these wonderful hostels we have stayed in. As we sat at the main dining room table tonight we have talked with two Dutch girls touring New Zealand and an older gentleman from England that is here visiting his brother after selling his bowling business in England. We went on and on with them for over three hours just chatting. It is like owning a big home and all these strangers come in and cook and talk with you then clean up and hang out.
After dinner in town of delicious oysters and scallops we walked around town and found the local grocery store where we stocked up. In a few days we will be back on the road to Christchurch.