Pine needles and the big 50

Otematata to Sublime Organic Winery (just outside Kurow)

Alps 2 Ocean Trail

60 plus kms

I just want to go straight to Sublime winery pics but that is at the end of the so called ‘soft and fluffy’ ride day!!!

Rather we seemed to have settled into the homeless men’s shelter over night (I think it was the unlimited free wifi) and we did not get going to 9:00am and then stopped 500mtrs up the road at a delightful little coffee van

with a lady who loved what she was doing all smiles and stories she even gave Rob a free slice for his birthday!!!

It was a morning of chirpy locals all saying ‘hi’ curious to know where we had travelled from and too and tell us the weather ‘they haven’t never seen it this bad’ and ‘we were brave to be out there’ one old man did not seem to care though when I mentioned my feet had gone purple he replied you know what we would say in my day ‘harden up…tablespoon of cement’!

On leaving Otematata (in Maori this means place of good flint!!) the path traversed along the wetlands till we came to the Benmore Hydropower Dam (like Rob it was 50 as well and this explains the decor of the pub as it was built in the hey day of the town) this added to Robs birthday morning he was quite excited about the cables (?) and the motor (editor says it’s called a turbine) also of course the climb halfway up the mountain to see the hydro plant..as we are climbing I am thinking what part of this ride is soft and fluffy!!!

Then the cycle trail weaved through the Waitaki district which looked like countryside from an Enid Blighton book; think English and magical with flowing creeks, an amazing assortment of flowers, fat little bumble bees and the most delicious smelling pine needles..oh and of course some cow manure.

The magic did not last for too long before we were climbin again up the Otematata saddle and onto another smaller hydro power dam…

climbs are so much easier when you are not being whipped by wind, rain or snow, it was stunningly sunny.

Then another off road climb to our destination for lunch in Kurow, this town was on the upper end of super friendly and I had the most amazing gf toasted sandwich I have ever had at a little cafe that even allowed dogs..the dog we saw looked as happy as I did, eating my sandwich.

Following that Rob and I went to the information centre and spoke to some very helpful locals who shared their knowledge and pride of South New Zealand with memorabilia and Rob got his own personal history lesson about the hydro dam …

And then the best bit yes another climb that was almost equivalent to Burke’s Pass to our accommodation at Sublime winery and all I can say is WOW..,we were greeted by the hosts Stephen and Fenella with a bottle of organic red from the property and nibblies.

The chooks happily watched us eating and celebrating Robs 50th..

Dinner was incredible not only the 3 course meal all prepared by Fenella who has travelled the world as a ‘chef’ but sitting in the dining room surrounded by her art and hearing her stories…oh and the local news that the South Island of New Zealand is under a civil emergency ‘one of the worst floods in 30 years’ where were preparing to head too is under water, has raw sewarage over flowing and no buses are going in or out! And to add to the news the cows we saw the other day actually attacked a couple who were on the track and his leg was broken!!!!! They were on their honeymoon!!

I think a nice way to end today would be Rob to share as many things as he wants that he has enjoyed on his first day in his 50’s!!

1. Enjoyed cake and coffee on the side of the road.

2. Visiting the Benmore hydro power station.

3. Good old chat with local volunteer with Peter at Kurow’s information centre.

4. And Sublime …the atmosphere, the hospitality and the food.

5. Tommorrow is a down hill run all the way to the highway from Sublime.

*cute little Maltese at the winery

*artwork Rob’s style

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