Day 8: Tekapo to Omarama - From Ship Cove to Milford Sound: the length of the South Island the hard way - CycleBlaze

March 13, 2023

Day 8: Tekapo to Omarama

Bruce and his Sounds2Sounds buddies are now bang in the midst of breathtakingly beautiful, stunning and spectacular scenery.   Have I overstated it? I think not. Ghost-writer is extremely jealous - and not just of anyone who can ride a bike with both hands.

But as we will see, the day-to-day concerns of these intrepid riders  tend to focus on the quality and location of cafés, laundromats and what not - though to be fair, poor weather early on today rather took the shine off Mother Nature.

Bruce picks up the storyline:

"An overcast morning and an early start onto the canal track from Tekapo. The start felt great. I was travelling around 20 km/hr and feeling good - certainly better than yesterday’s gruelling finish. 

"Then, about 8 km down the track, the southerly hit, at first with a demanding head wind. In true high-country southerly tradition, though, it built in intensity very quickly.  It became very hard to stay on the bike so I had to call a halt to riding and shelter behind a rock with other riders.

"Fortunately, at the same time, Jude had used “dial a hubby” and biked back 2 km to meet Tony in their campervan.  Shelter and a cup of tea could not be refused. Nearly an hour later, we went out to brave the elements again. The team of Jude, Greg, Chris and Bruce was formed and we worked together to eventually make Twizel. Through the rain we could still appreciate the beauty of Lake Pukaki as we rode past.  (Ghost-writer stands corrected!)

Lake Pukaki after the southerly stopped us
Heart 1 Comment 0

"The rain stopped by the time we reached Twizel. The town was busy and we found a really good bakery/café. I rode past the school where I had been a student teacher nearly 50 years ago, when Twizel was the hub of huge earthworks for the hydro scheme and canals. 

"The ride up to the canal was okay but as soon as we turned to ride the considerable stretch down the canal, we were into a strong headwind. Taking turns at the front made it manageable for all four of us. Going around the Lake Ohau track, we were sheltered from the wind, which gave us no further bother for the rest of the day. The sky was now blue and we were treated to the most stunning views. 

Lake Ohau
Heart 2 Comment 0
Stream on climb to Tarnbrae
Heart 1 Comment 0

"Riding on asphalt up to Lake Ohau Lodge was a treat. Then, there was a sharp turn and 12 km on mountainbike single-track, slowly climbing to Tarnbrae where the long downhill run to Omarama started. 

"As we rode down, we saw how others had come to grief in deep gravel. Tony had ridden to join us on Tarnbrae and, when we hit the asphalt, he took the lead with Jude and myself behind and we powered through the last kilometres. 

"After another long day, it’s very easy to spend too long in the shower. Omarama was like everywhere else we had been - a long wait for a meal because of being short-staffed. Given the start to the day though, we were all pleased to actually make it as far as Omarama."

Lake Ohau from Tarnbrae
Heart 2 Comment 0
Jude approaches the summit of Tarnbrae
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0


Today's ride: 137 km (85 miles)
Total: 951 km (591 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 2
Comment on this entry Comment 0