…that was the question. After cycling off-road in the past couple of days I was considering whether I should go for another day on gravel, following the The Tour Aotearoa route on the west branch of the Around the Mountains trail. After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to stick with the highway. Even though I enjoyed the other day on gravel, cycling over 100km on it with a big climb along the way didn’t sound like much fun.
Early morning, off I went towards Lumsden.
I already rode on this road twice on a bus to and from Milford Sound, so I knew what to expect. The part skirting Lake Wakatipu was fairly hilly and I broke a sweat. When I reached Kingston, which sits at the south end of Lake Wakatipu, I saw a sign for the east branch of the Around the Mountains trail. Although I voted “Nay” for the west branch, I decided to give this one a try. I am Pisces after all: when one fish pulls one way, the other one pulls in the opposite direction.
Contrary to the west part, the east one never strayed too far from the highway, so I could always go back on pavement. It was pretty nice path: away from traffic which increased noticeably lately, a fine and packed gravel to help me keep a decent speed, and pretty scenery as usual. I rode on it until Garston, New Zealand’s most inland village.
Then it began to run just a few meters from the highway so I returned on the paved road and I rolled effortlessly until Lumsden.
I set up my tent one last time and enjoyed the nice weather for the rest of the afternoon.
Tomorrow is a big day: I’ll try to make it to Bluff, the ultimate destination of this adventure, in one go.
Today in numbers:
111 km – distance cycled
75.2 km – length of Lake Wakatipu, the longest in New Zealand
11.5°C – average temperature of the water in Lake Wakatipu