Auckland to Dunedin - Retyrement on 2 Wheels 5 - CycleBlaze

March 24, 2021 to March 25, 2021

Auckland to Dunedin

Bikes assembled we cycle Momona to Motel on Carroll.

Our southern sojourn begins. For the Southern Hemisphere Autumn we’ve decided to try out a few of the Otago Trails, starting with the Rail Trail. We’ve chosen to take our own bikes to give us more independence and also since we’re feeling nostalgic for those European trips. We’re excited about Otago though, having heard so much about it.

 5:30 am. Our bike boxes, panniers and bags are ready when the shuttle arrives and the driver, allows me to place our bikes on the trailer and thoughtfully wedges them in place. The journey is quiet- this must be our first shuttle driver ever to be tuned to RNZ Concert. 

Weigh-in is straight forward- Air NZ allows us 23kgs and our boxes are 20 and 22  each. We doze most of the journey and soon land amidst the green sward that is Dunedin’s Momona Airport. Green hills surround us. We’re in the middle of open country!

Our bike boxes have already been offloaded and stand waiting. No one asks us for a receipt as we load them onto a trolley and push them off to an alcove indicated by the helpful people at Information who are also keen to take our boxes for other cyclists future use. Assembly takes a couple of hours in all, but everything goes smoothly and panniers loaded, we wheel our bikes our the door- the first revolutions of our Otago adventure.   

Dunedin Airport bike assembly.
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This afternoon’s goal is our motel in central Dunedin, a distance of around 35kms over a couple of hills-  we think. We had initially considered heading to the coast and entering town that way, but instead opt for the route suggested by Google, though it looks a little patchy. 

The first kilometres along SH86 are rural and we revel in the freedom and the freshness of the air. There’s a warm zephyr blowing from the nor west. It’s an idyllic start. We have a short bout on busy SH1 before turning onto parallel, quieter, Gladstone Road.

HW86
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As we come into East Taieri we spot  an interesting looking neo gothic style, red brick church in the distance. Turns out it’s the East Taieri Presbyterian Church. Closer up, we’re invited in to look about and this we do, impressed by the massive stained glass rose window comprised of very small panes.

Stately home at East Taieri.
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Back on the road, we reach the point at which we must part company with what becomes motorway and take a climb on the innocuous sounding Morris Road. 

While being no gut buster, It’s a bit of a climb for a hot day. Down the other side, we stop and buy an ice block from a now dairy, once impressive post office. Its flaking blue paint on chipped plaster hint at better days but the ice blocks are refreshing.

Up and over the motorway.
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From the top.
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From here we wend our way through suburbs as we roll along Kaikerai Valley. The College athletic sports are just winding up and rolls are being taken. Brings back a few memories. There are a couple of confusing signs for cyclists then we pick up a cycle lane which runs along the valley to the climb up to Stuart Street. Eventually it’s one steep haul and there it is, beneath an over bridge- the harbour!

Flying down Stuart Street.
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 We fly down Stuart street as several uniformed school students are struggling up.  From the Octagon, Carroll Street is easily found and then Motel on Carroll, at the end of a long entrance way, where the vibrant blue neon sign beacons us to the office.

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We wheel into our room and unpack. Once ensconced we walk to the supermarket. The city is fairly quiet along Princes Street, though there are several groups who look as if they’re parents farewelling students embarking on university study. Then it’s mushrooms and rice and an early night.

Early evening passeggiata.
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Robbie Burns holds sway.
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February 25 Thursday.

An earlyish start. Breakfast and some experimentation with the coffee maker. It produces an approximation to coffee without actually tasting like coffee. We take our bikes down to Cycle World where the welcoming technician, seemingly wearing long socks that actually turn out to be minutely detailed tats, confirms what we have suspected - the chains on our bikes are overstretched and the cassettes are also rather worn. He says he’ll see if replacements are available. We walk off to meet a friend for a coffee at a cafe called Perc. The coffee is great and we chat about family and gain a little more knowledge of life in Dunedin- smaller than Wellington but a friendly community.

Next it’s a visit to the art gallery. On the way we have a quick wander around inside St Paul’s, the Anglican cathedral. It has a white stone interior and what look like white bricks or tiles layered over the ceiling. I’m wondering what holds them in place. There are also some vibrantly coloured glass windows commemorating aspects of Dunedin wildlife and history.

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Early Otago.
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The art gallery’s focus is an exhibition of the works of Ralph Hotere. There is a wide variety, beginning from he early days expressing his feelings and support for protests against the Polaris nuclear missiles in 1960s London,  to paintings related to his brother’s death on the Sangro river in WW2 and later line and circle paintings on black with vibrantly coloured lines. His burned boat prow was set into the wall and lined with charred planks in forming remarkable patterns.

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Bringing in the catch.
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After a Japanese lunch we collect our bikes - no luck on chains or cassettes - and at last finding some paths we bike around town admiring the old buildings and then head out to St Kilda beach.

Galloping mural.
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There’s a chilly offshore wind but the waves are beautiful. There are  surfers and also some swimmers throwing themselves into the waves with wild abandon. 

We find a cycle path!
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Around the harbour.
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Keen swimmers at St Kilda Beach.
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Our lungs full of clean sea air we head back to Carroll street for dinner.

Today's ride: 35 km (22 miles)
Total: 35 km (22 miles)

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Tricia GrahamGreat to read that you are off again. I am sure you will have lots of fun. we were meant to go south to ride in Otago in early feb but unfortunately I fell and broke the neck of my Femur so that of course has put paid to any such activities.
Tricia
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1 year ago
Rachael AndersonGreat to have a new journal to read! Our first overseas trip was to New Zealand. I had a good laugh about your comment about coffee. We’ve been having the same experience lately. I can’t wait to go back to Italy and France where you get great coffee!
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1 year ago
Ann HutchingTo Tricia GrahamWhat a blow Tricia! Hope your recovery is in full swing and you are comfortable. Your fitness will help I’m sure.
We are fortunate to have got away before levels changed. There are big groups on the ORT, many Aucklanders. It is a good ride. Love the landscape and skies. Ann
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1 year ago