New Zealand, Maruia Springs to Christchurch

We’d promised our friend that we’d leave the Springs Hotel at 9.30am sharp, and believe it or not but that’s exactly what we did ! We started the rest of the climb from our hotel up to the Lewis Pass, I think from the hotel it was about 7km or so, it’s not that important. It was a steady climb, not to steep so we had a gear or two left. The sky was overcast but at least the wind and rain had abated for the time being, because of this we had a chance to get a proper look at the scenery. From the hotel it was just dense forest on either side but as we climbed higher we could see through the trees to the river and valley far below us and as we climbed higher the trees gave way to a more barren landscape although not for long. We were soon over the top and on the descent, damn it got cold all of a sudden, a mixture of sweat chilling on our heads as we now rushed down the mountain and perhaps it was just a bit cooler on this side !! From now on we’d be keeping our eyes peeled for our friend. He said he’d leave the truck at the bottom of the hill and cycle up to meet us, bloody lunatic !! We spotted him at our 23km point, we were soon hugging and back slapping, it was really great to see John Faulkner again and now we’d be able to cycle down the valley with him…..or would we ? You couldn’t make this shit up but John had managed to snap his rear derailleur and break his chain, of course you just don’t carry replacements with you ! Unfortunately there is no mobile phone reception up here and it’s 50km to his truck, so firstly John started to freewheel down and occasionally he’d swing one leg over and push like a scooter. This was ok while the downhill lasted but as soon as we hit a slight up hill or even flat he was screwed !! John gave us a couple of phone numbers and we left him to try and hitch while we cycled down the valley in search of a phone signal. Now despite trying to get him help I was acutely aware of how beautiful the valley was and I did stop a few times to take photos. The ride was no picnic either, there were numerous hills to climb and on our heavy bikes each successive hill was getting harder. We did finally get a signal though and rang looking for a guy called Mark, we were informed that John had managed to make contact and Mark was of his way, we later found out that a police car had made the call on Johns behalf, bloody good of them. It wasn’t long before they both caught us up, the plan was for Mark to take John to his truck and then John would come and get us. So that’s exactly what happened, by the time we were picked up we’d done about 70km or so, a tough ride but through some stunning scenery. Now it turns out that Mark has a cafe in Hamner called Mumbles so yep you guessed it we had lunch with him there, damn good food and company. From there John took us to his home in Rotherham where we happily chilled out while John went to work for a few hours, he wasn’t away long and when he came back we all went to his local pub for dinner, more good food and huge portions….my diet seems to be slipping 😉
We made friends with all three dogs and the cat, had a little walk up the road and marvelled at the fabulous surroundings….tomorrow we’ll explore some more but for now have a look at some photos from today…..















A wonderful day, meeting old friends and making new ones, good food, fantastic scenery and great hospitality….were very lucky 😉
In the morning John invited us to go and watch him work, great to see him rounding up the cattle on his quad bike, his friend was coming to drench (worm) the one year old calves so we were able to watch. After that he gave us a little tour of the farm and showed us his new toy, a one kilometre long pivoting irrigation system, he’s very proud of it ! It’s quite amazing the difference it makes, the valley is just full of irrigation systems and the grass is lush and green but as you get out of the valley and start climbing the grass is turning yellow in the sun and will soon be dry and brown !!
After a quick shower John took us out in the car, he showed us some of his cycle training routes and most of them are up some fairly big hills, great places to take photos from. We stopped for lunch at the bottom of Mount Lyford and after lunch he drove us up to check out the views, they were amazing !!
We certainly got about as he also took us up Jacks Track and back down Jollys Track, more amazing views and such a fantastic road although it would have been tough to cycle it as it was an unmade road and very remote.
John left early the following morning as he was off to Invercargile, he told us to let ourselves out when we were ready and to help ourselves to whatever we wanted, such great hospitality. To thank him for putting us up we stripped the beds and put the washing on and were able to get it all out on the line before we set off.
Here are a few photos from our time with John in the Canterbury Plains……



















Such a fabulous place, stunning scenery everywhere you look !!
The ride from Rotherham to Waipara was only 55km and fairly flat, we stopped for a coffee at Hurunui, our halfway point, then it was a bit of a climb through the Weka Pass followed by a great downhill to the end of our ride. As we pulled into the town we both looked at each other and decided that we’d carry on, it was just way to early to stop. We had a quick bit of lunch while we looked at the map and decided we’d carry on to Woodend, another 30km away. From now on though we’d be on state highways rather than the lovely quiet back roads we’d been on until now. It really makes a difference to your enjoyment, the trucks just don’t stop or slow for anything and boy do they get close when they pass. We did a bit of shopping in Amberley so that we’d have something to eat at camp later and we finally arrived at camp about 4.30 in the afternoon, 91km was our total for the day so we were very happy. After a shower we took a quick look at the beach but it was blowing a gale so it really was a quick look then it was time to eat. We managed to contact our friend Anne Cook who lives in Christchurch and arranged the details for the following day, all in all a good day !!
Here are a few highlights from the days ride…..












Another great day, lots more to come 😉
We’d arranged with Anne to pick us up from the campsite but we were up early and decided to cycle into town, we contacted her again and arranged to meet at a local cafe.
Anne arrived just after 10.00am and while the girls drank tea I loaded the kit and bikes into Anne’s car. It was great to see her and we were looking forward to meeting the man in her life, John, and also meeting up with Phil Kissel and Daniel Wood, we’d met them both on the TDA bike ride. We also hoped that John Faulkner would make it to Christchurch and join us for dinner and we had a secret guest, I’ll tell you about them later !!
We arrived at Anne’s lovely home and she quickly made us welcome, fed us home made soup and toast and plenty of coffee, she was itching to take us on a bike ride but we were waiting for our friend to arrive first. Finally we got a text to say they were close by and just needed a few directions for the last few Km. Now we’d told Anne that we were waiting for a friend of Naomi’s who lives in Christchurch so imagine her surprise when Vince Langford arrived. He’d never made one of the kiwi TDA reunions before but had flown from Wellington just for us, what a star and such a great surprise 😉
We gave Vince just enough time to get his breath back before we let Anne take us all out on a bike ride, it may not have been a long ride but it was a tough one. We cycled up the Rapaki Track, an unmade road that takes you up to Summit road before then turning right back down to Christchurch. It’s a good old slog up the hill especially on our heavier touring bikes and skinnier tyres but the views are fantastic and certainly worth the effort !!
Back at Anne’s she cooked us a fantastic meal, we got to meet her man , John, another keen cyclist but I think we talked far to much about TDA and the poor guy couldn’t really join in, he never complained though so it goes to prove what a great guy he is !!
Well I suppose I’d better share a few photos with you…..





Like I said, great views !!
Anne very kindly said that she’d take us all to Akaroa the following day so after a hearty breakfast we got in the car and headed out off on the 90km drive over the headlands and coast roads to this very French town. The road across is worth the trip in itself with steep climbs and descents on a very twisting road, giving way to great views. We of course broke up the journey with a coffee stop before continuing on to the town. It hugs the shoreline and is full of quaint shops, cafés, bars and a very goofing and chip shop ! We walked along the seafront for quite a while just enjoying the feel of the place. There was a cruise ship in and the passengers were all in town so it gave it a good busy vibe. On our way back along the bay we stopped for food at the chip shop and it was as good as they claimed !! Then it was time to head home, I have to be honest but my eyes were closing by the time we got back and I don’t think I was the only one 😉
Tonight we’d be joined by Daniel and Phil but alas John Faulkner couldn’t make it due to unforeseen problems on the farm. Vince was as big a surprise to Phil and Daniel as hid been to Anne and when John phoned to say hi I think he was equally surprised and a little sad that he couldn’t make this special reunion !!
So with Anne and her partner, John, we were a party of seven in total and we had a great night. We feasted on home made vegetable curries, drank to much wine and told stories of our adventures, it was great to catch up with everyone and were so grateful to them for making such an effort 😉
So for the last time in this blog, here are a few photos from our day…..













So there you have it, another wonderful day, great hospitality, great friends, food and wine. The last picture, from left to right, top row :-
Phil Kissel, Anne Cook, Naomi, Vince Langford.
Bottom row, left to right :-
Daniel Wood, John ( our new kiwi friend ) and myself 😉
Take care folks and keep reading


About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
This entry was posted in Cycling, New Zealand, south island, world cycle tour and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to New Zealand, Maruia Springs to Christchurch

  1. Great to see you all together a year later.

  2. smurf says:

    Awesome! This was quite an emotional blog, lots of detail and meaningful comments. Amazing pictures, relationships, bonds, memories, wow….you are lucky john – bank that x

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