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Day 16: Fairlie to Twizel

Fairlie, New Zealand

"In the heat of summer, the high altitude, sun-baked MacKenzie Basin can make for harsh cycling. Even the cans by the roadside are roasted back to bare aluminium." I decide to plug Claud's ears with a spare pair of socks, so that he cannot hear me read this particular passage from the guidebook, about our next stage. Claud reclines, oblivious to this danger, his red and black decals resplendent on the clear-lacquered aluminium tubing of his athletic frame.

Leaving Fairlie, the morning is spent scaling Burke's Pass, at which point the scenery changes to much more wide open vistas and dry tussock grass with brilliant lupins all along the road up to Lake Tekapo.

At Lake Tekapo, there is a statue in honour of the loyal, smart and hardy border collie dogs which used to be left at the perimeters of huge early sheep stations, before these were fenced. These amazing dogs would stay on their own for days on end, watching for, and turning back, any stray sheep.

"Yes, and there is also a statue to the brave and hardy bicycles who have carried their fat-arsed riders up and over Burke's Pass over the decades!" says Claud. "Oh no, there isn't, Claud", I retort. "That's not a statue, it's just a picture of you posing on some rocks!" "Well, there should be one, anyway!" grumbles Claud.

Lake Tekapo is mind-numbingly beautiful - just look at the view they have from the window of the little church.

We press on along the enormous hydro canal to Lake Pukaki and eventually stop in the town of Twizel. I stay in a shared Lodge on a holiday park and have a nice evening in the company of Gerald, a lawyer on a fishing trip from Tauranga. I also meet CJ and Simon, who are travelling the world for 9 months. They hail from Ayr in Scotland.

Distance today: 101 Km, cumulative: 1879 Km, remaining: 405 Km

permalink written by  John and Claud on February 3, 2007 from Fairlie, New Zealand
from the travel blog: Cape Reinga to Bluff
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Previous: Day 15: Ashburton to Fairlie Next: Day 17: Twizel to Cromwell

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