Arrowtown to Lake Hayes - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

March 13, 2021

Arrowtown to Lake Hayes

Day 18 March 13 Saturday 

Arrowtown to lake Hayes 31kms

Gourmet pies, Christine’s surprise, Lake Hayes dives.

We take a leisurely ride to Arrowtown’s historic centre- charming old buildings still in use: library, post office and general stores. It’s very busy with locals and a generous sprinkling of tourists out and about. Cafes are doing very well with breakfasts and coffees being ordered and consumed and waiting people  looking slightly harried. Surprisingly, the main street, which is one way, still allows vehicles. How much nicer it would be as a pedestrian precinct. Behind the Main Street though, is the river and trees- a peaceful spot where all is shady and green. Arrowtown has rows of poplars and other exotics that emulate, on a smaller scale, the North American ‘fall’, changing colour beautifully in autumn. English hedging like Hornbeam and Laurel also add to the colour range and are tough enough to survive the Otago winter. Laurel, and hardy too.

Waking to an Arrowtown morning.
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Arrowtown library.
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We have a look through the museum which has an interesting exhibition of early photos and maps. At this point the lure of the bakery becomes too much and we buy a couple of their Bolognaise pies which we consume down by the river. Not bad, though not sure if they beat Jimmy’s Pies. The trail out of town runs close to the ‘Chinese Village,’ a collection of small huts, leftovers from the original village. They are pretty small and basic living quarters and are a grim reminder that not all residents were treated with anything close to equality in the early years of European settlement. In fact the name given to one resident, Tin Pan, is likely to be derisory to modern sensibilities but seemed to be quite acceptable to late 19th century ears.

Bolognaise pie time.
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This village area near the river must have been cruelly cold in winter.
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Tin Pan’s alley.
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We are taking the Countryside Trail.
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First climb- looks drastic feels fine. Christine’s Hill - looks gentle, feels precipitous.
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From Arrowtown we take the Countryside Trail which has an immediate but not too challenging or lengthy, climb taking us up to the Millbrook Resort. And it really looks like a resort- manicured to perfection, modern housing of stone and natural looking wood, large windows. The strange thing is the quiet - it doesn’t look like anyone at  home.

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Was Capability Brown here too?
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Nicely sealed track for a leisurely ride.
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Manicured to within an inch of its life. Interesting mix of natural and person-made.
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Artfully arranged or maybe just left there by a careless farmhand?
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 Somewhere in the middle we lose the trail (too much gobsmacked gawping) but are put right by a lone cyclist flying downhill. We follow his uphill directions and find ourselves at the top of Christine’s Hill. We’re pleased not to be approaching from the other side as it’s a very steep downhill. We appreciate the views from the top and spot lake Hayes shimmering in the sun.

Too late- the Aucklanders have been here!
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Downhill to Lake Hayes.
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We walk down some of the descent and arrive at the road connecting us to the top of the lake. Here there’s a reserve where we stop for lunch and have a dip in the lake. Apparently the lake is subject to algae blooms but there no sign of any today and the water is wonderful. We take the trail around the east side of the lake. It undulates with some steep little climbs, but there are great views and some interesting houses. 

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Eventually we reach the board walk at the southern end of the lake and we cross the main road to access the Lake Hayes Estate where we’ve arranged to stay the night. We cycle through new housing with driveways on which are parked any number of SUVs and large vehicles. The suburban feel of the houses and streets seems out of place when we look up and see so many hills and mountain peaks so close. 

The around-the-lake trail.
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One or two uphill challenges.
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One of the swimming spots on the lake.
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Feeding trough designed for cattle and horses (top) and sheep (below). Also set at an oblique angle to allow more livestock to dine at once. Not sure if sheep and cattle tolerated each other dining at the same time.
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Our studio is easily found and proves to be wonderfully well set up with a fridge, toaster and kettle. After cleaning up we watch one of the America’s Cup Yachting races. They’ve reached the tense stage! Later we find our friendly neighbourhood tavern and dine al fresco. We’ve just finished commenting on how wonderfully integrated into the neighbourhood the tavern is, when two bus loads arrive from the Neil Finn concert. A little more rowdy, but tolerable and they seem to have enjoyed the concert. 

Suburbia with the natural world close at hand.
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Named, not after a television show, but the neighbouring mountain range.
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Arrived!
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The area isn’t so well served with supermarkets and a secondary school, but that will change in time. And there are bus services to Frankton and Queenstown. As we walk back, we notice the parks and impressive sports areas that have been established. Clearly, someone’s done some planning. Tomorrow it’s back to Queenstown via the Shotover bridge and the we need to find boxes and pack our bikes. That night I nod off, mentally going over what we will need to get our faithful steeds ready for their return journey.

Today's ride: 31 km (19 miles)
Total: 613 km (381 miles)

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Rachael AndersonLooks like a great place to stay!
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1 year ago