I’ve finished: I’m in Christchurch, the final stop of my trip.
This last week was the final week in New Zealand and also the final week of the entire trip.
There were a few days of rain as I headed north from Franz Josef, but this eventually cleared as I got away from the West Coast (the West Coast is notorious for its bad weather and sandflies). Once the weather cleared, there was again some beautiful riding, especially as I headed down the coast towards Christchurch.
Before I arrived in New Zealand, some people I’d met had described it as like Britain from thirty years ago. Having spent a couple of weeks here, I can definitely see why they said that. I’ve been struck by how trusting the people are, even towards complete strangers.
To give you one example, there was one night when I arrived at a campsite and it turned out to be more of a car park than a campsite. That’s fine for motor homes, but it’s more of an issue if you’re trying to pitch a tent in the wind (try as you might, it’s hard to get tent pegs to go into concrete!). I spoke to the lady who ran the site and, after speaking for a few minutes, she suggested I sleep in the campsite office. She even gave me her keys so I could get in and out. It was really kind of her, especially when she could just have told me to go elsewhere.
I also met lots of other cycle tourists on the West Coast. In the town of Murchison there were five of us who all stopped at the same place for lunch:
I arrived in Christchurch late on Thursday. I went for dinner and some celebratory drinks with Mark and Jenny. It felt good to be finished. I definitely plan to have a rest from the bike when I get home.
I’m now heading back to the UK. There will be one final summary of the whole trip at some point when I get a chance.
Here is the map for my route around the South Island of New Zealand: