Clyde to Cromwell - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

March 6, 2021

Clyde to Cromwell

From Bonny Clyde to Cromwell - Warts and All.

Day 11 March 6 Saturday 

Clyde to Cromwell 27kms

From Bonny Clyde to Cromwell - Warts and All.

Breakfast is local apricots and rhubarb with cereal. We finish packing and leave Hartleys after a chat with Leanne, our host, who moved  from north of Auckland to live down here. The climate and small town vibe make Clyde an appealing place to live. This is also something our waitress, a qualified lawyer, told us last night. 

Beautiful garden setting.
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Starting the day.
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Undertakers has seen better days.
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At around 10am and take a short ride along Clyde to Alexandra route which effectively is the end of the rail trail. This is an easy enough trail beside the beautiful river, and being Saturday, there lots of cyclists out.

The old Clyde Bridge.
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Alexandra- Clyde trail. Effectively near the end of Otago Rail Trail.
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We then decide it’s time to time to take on the challenge of the 22kms Clyde to Cromwell on SH 8. There’s no other route for cyclists just now though the completion of the Lake Dunstan route will change that. We’re a month or so early unfortunately, so main road it is. 

It starts with a quick climb of 87 metres to the lookout point over the dam, then a further climb up to highway. Traffic is moderate but fairly constant and there is a small shoulder almost all the way, though it narrows in places. 

Up to the dam.
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The Clutha River with the bridge in background.
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Tyres on SUVs and the latest craze ‘trucks’ are so fat, combined with the stony seal, we hear them approaching with a sound like a flatulent rhino. Whomp! Whomp!Whomp! Froooom! Few proper trucks and trailers today, thank goodness, and some drivers even do something as audacious as slowing down to pass. 

Craggy landscape.
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Not much room to manoeuvre.
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I hear those rhinos coming....
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Halfway along we stop for a break and a drink. I test the lake temperature- it’s really quite acceptable and the water has a clarity that makes it look like an ad for a Pacific Island holiday. We now have a good view of the line of the Dunstan trail directly across from us. We can still see machinery working on it. It looks quite spectacular on a clear day like this.

Stop for nuts nourishment.
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Could so easily take the plunge.
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The second leg takes us to the lookout point over Cromwell. Great views. What’s most astounding to those used to an Auckland skyline, is the width and breadth of the horizon. Any weather coming can be seen from miles away and often it doesn’t come, but heads off elsewhere. Below, the river and old part of the town, with not a few church steeples, basks in sunlight. The hills are predominantly brown, but there are broad swards of green in the distance- more Pinot Noir? The town was once named The Junction, being the confluence of the kawerau and Clutha rivers. The joining was  considered to have created one of the most spectacular white water rapids in the world. Unfortunately the dam put paid to all that and the meeting of the waters looks comparatively peaceful- today, at least.

Cromwell in sight!
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The town.
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Baking under a Central sun.
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Snow in then thar hills!
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Down the hill and across the river we spot the campground and book in to a comfortable chalet that has everything we could possibly need. The man at reception kindly donates us some milk and a cuppa rejuvenates us. Then off to the supermarket for supplies- it’s a bit of a chilly wind but we’re pleased to  be out in the bracing air. In the words of the man after whom the town is named, Oliver Cromwell: ‘Nature can do more than physicians.’

Today's ride: 34 km (21 miles)
Total: 397 km (247 miles)

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Kathleen JonesFlatulent rhino indeed ... ha!
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1 year ago
Sandra LawnHi there Ann and Michael
Have just read your full journal, a great read. Thanks for putting all the useful information in re accommodation and the Roxborough Trail, I’m not that great on heights ....your photos are useful.

Looking forward to following in your footsteps, hopefully next summer

Cheers
Sandy
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1 year ago
Michael HutchingTo Kathleen JonesPerhaps my imagination was running away with me a little there, Kathleen. As an English teacher I always look for original similes!
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1 year ago
Michael HutchingTo Sandra LawnIt’ll be fine if you take your time Sandy. Choose a long day!
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1 year ago