February 13th, 2014

 Categories: Travel

A local group of cycle enthusiasts, DUBBUG, challenged me to take part in a cycle tour of areas in New Zealand south island.  Blessed with fine weather, we left the Gold Coast and arrived in Christchurch.  The next day, after assembling our bikes, we looked around the earthquake damaged city.

Gold Coast to Christchurch pictures

Whilst that evening Phil satisfied his hunger for bread and jam, we prepared for an early morning departure.  A hired bus and trailer took us to Lake Tekapo to commence the ride from Alps to Ocean.  Our first night being at Twizel.  Robert had his own adventure returning the bus & trailer.

Lake Tekapo to Twizel pictures

A map of our travels can be found here.  It was fun changing the route between the towns to keep off the busy roads.  Luckily the road surfaces were generally fantastic.  Still, we managed to find a few off-road bike tracks to keep us balanced (or not).

After leaving Twizel, a slight detour had us traversing past salmon farms & scenic lakes on gravel trails.  There were even apple trees! Some weary souls gladly made it to the hot tubs at Omarama.

Twizel to Omarama pictures

From Omarama we made our way to Otematata for morning tea, a rise over the spectacular Benmore dam, around Lake Aviemore to arrive in Kurow for a cool swim and a "small" dinner at the local.

Omarama to Kurow pictures

Every town & every corner had a new story to tell.  After leaving Kurow we came across a lot of history including Maori drawings, Elephant rocks & up close and personal with whale bones.  Duntroon was a highlight, not just for the namesake, but also an association with flying pigs.  The long, hilly, & scenic ride to Oamaru (on the coast) was ever changing - with a fabulous welcome at the Backpackers.

Kurow to Oamaru pictures

Oamaru was a great place to have a "rest".  Many of us taking the opportunity to cycle around the steep hills surrounding the town and visiting the culture centres, including the steam exhibit, historic buildings, taking in a movie or watching penguins!

Oamaru pictures

Leaving Oamaru we cruised along the flats and took a scenic route via "Cock and Hen Road" until, after climbing hills, we rode through a beautiful valley leading into Waimate.  A pub, that had seen better days, was our accomodation for the night.  We made friends with the publican/cook and even tried our hand at strawberry picking (well at least looked for the fields).

Oamaru to Waimate pictures

A southerly buster morning enabled us to literally fly up the road to Timaru.  It was pretty cold on the coast and a most welcome morning tea along the way.  With time to spare, a quick cycle adventure around the bay found many attractions including the public avairy and even a cruise ship in port from New York.

Waimate to Timaru pictures

Morning tea at Pleasant Point at the "Legends" cafe was a highlight the next day.  Pleasant Point being the town that "if you blinked you will have missed out".  We went past another "under whelming" feature at hanging rock, however were soon rewarded with a climb through hills, a short dirt road, and even Moi relics before another valley ride into Geraldine.

Timaru to Geraldine pictures

From Geraldine, there was only one word to describe the ride - flat.  So flat we even decided at morning tea to take a slightly shorter route into Methven.  As the local rag at the stop wrote, "you have got to do these things before you get tapped on the head with a shovel".

Geraldine to Methven pictures

 Leaving Methven our group was in for a treat, through the beautiful Rakaia gorge and morning tea at Terrace Downs Golf Resort at the base of Mount Hutt.  Some of our group thought they would take a shortcut via a gravel road (known locally as the zig zag) - I think they are still overcoming the effects of riding on marbles!  A pie stop for lunch at Glentunnel and fast ride into Springfield made this one of our longest days.  What a lovely suprise the YHA was.

Methven to Springfield pictures

So good was the hospitality at YHA we decided to have a rest day and try our luck at catching the train to Arthur's Pass and cycling back.  A bit pricey though and the next day the weather was not looking the best.  Phil, BA & Kermit were keen to climb Porter's Pass and were back in time for morning tea.  Which was just as well, because the YHA offered us a bus to hire for the trip to Arthur's Pass.  Enjoy the photos.

Springfield to Arthurs Pass pictures

 It seemed like it was all downhill from Springfield into Christchurch.  We got our only bit of rain (if you could call it that), however it was cold enough to really enjoy the bakery at Darfield.  As we got closer to Christchurch the road got busier so it was pleasing to get to our park giving plenty of time to stow away the bikes, return cars and prepare a fine meal.  It was my birthday the next day & I was well spoilt.

Springfield to Christchurch pictures

Not much left of the trip now.  A quick flight home to the Gold Coast and then the car ride back to Coffs Harbour area.  The following photos are at the "end of the roll".

Christchurch to Gold Coast pictures

The ride has inspired us all and I would like to see the Alps to Ocean planning continue in the same way in Australia.  To that end, I have commenced our own NSW Coastal Cycle web site .... let's see what develops!

 

 

December 12th, 2013

 Categories: Family

It was a weekend with some great memories for all those in attendance.  Not only was it Margaret's 50th, but also celebration of Liam completing High School & Elizabeth spreading her wings.

See a summary of photos by clicking here ...

spears 50th 381 judy spears 50th 152

Photos taken by professional photographer and good friends Judy & Dave Thorn

February 26th, 2013

 Categories: Floods

Having just survived a small flood at end January, along comes the next full moon & it's back on again. And this one was a ripper! We managed a 9m peak at Bellingen that made its way down to the Bellinger River mouth, snaking across our floodplain overnight and catching us all by surprise in the morning. Check out the following photos on and around our property.

August 8th, 2010

 Categories: Skiing

Mt Bogong 2010This year we stayed in Cleve Cole Hut for almost a week, involving extra rations which, thankfully, were earlier hiked in during Apr & May. Gourmet meals & beers were enjoyed, along with the great company of Grossen, Bluestone, Bugle, TD, JC, Dutchy, Birdsong, Dr Tugger, Donkey, and (of course) the Captain.  The weather was fantastic and a reasonable dump of snow on the Sunday/Monday meant that we had enough cover to do a bit of skiing as well as getting brilliant photo opportunities. The week went way too quickly. I vowed never to hire boots again - they never mould to your feet unless they are new.  Follow this link  for the slide show or  this link to see all the photos.

Bluestone AWDAfter a great night at the Eskdale Hotel, Monday was the hard slog in (5.5 hours).  We entered via Mulhauser Spur, which was a safer option than crossing Mt Bogong itself in whiteout conditions with wind gusts of over 125 km/h forecast.  There was plenty of new fallen snow and Bluestone christened the AWD.  Luckily 'Ubiquitous Steve' was around to make the job of clearing trees easy.

Tuesday was a chance to recover a bit as the winds eased off.  We tried our luck at Westons and were rewarded with some magic views of the mountains covered in snow. Our route in

Wednesday brought in more snow. Birdsong, Dr T & Chad joined us.  The overcast conditions made it ideal to collect wood. Grossen and Bugle prove there is no such word as "can't" when it comes to getting the sled down to the hut with a huge load - watch out Captain!

Thursday the clouds remained low, however that did not prevent some excellent skiing. The Pole lineFriday enabled us to head to Mt Bogong and out to West Peak. Great runs down Cairn Gully. Spectacular day, which we repeated on Saturday, despite the "crowds" which turned up for the weekend. The hut was rather full on Friday night and tents were pitched.Cairn Gully

Sunday's exit weather was kind. It took about 4 hours to get out to the vehicles and I think we all agreed that a night at the Eskdale Pub on the way out should have been high on our priorities rather than face the long drive ahead.

 

 

WANTED! - THE FOLLOWING FERRALS ARE CONSIDERED DANGEROUS:

Grossen Bluestone Bugle

Dutchy TD JC

Donkey Dr Tugger BirdSong The Captain

The Bogong Boys 

Thanks everyone for making this such a great trip. We had lots of fun & laughs.

July 3rd, 2010

 Categories: Family
Our dear niece, Shannon, entertained us all with a party! A great night of dancing, gambling, and a warm fire on a clear, cool winter's night. Leading up to the weekend, it was so wet there were very little places to park the car, and some got bogged in the fields. No worries, there were plenty of campers and a few pink gum boots. Lots of fun!

April 16th, 2010

 Categories: Skiing

Mt Bogong Sunset

A great friend of mine, who I have shared many skiing adventures with,  recently celebrated his half century.  It was unfortunate that I was not able to get together for Bluestone's great day, so I put together a collage of photos from past adventure years.  You can download the resulting masterpiece here.

January 24th, 2010

 Categories: Travel
With fifty fine years looming, it was time to take a well earned break and so, with farmer friends in tow, we spent an amazing time locked away on a ship on the high seas for a week or so. I think those ideas of romantic sea voyages are well and truly justified when you can wine & dine in 5 star luxury travelling to exotic islands and there is an amazing range of entertainment throughout the journey. Yes, it was a bit different than Mt Bogong, but heh if it is on your lists of things to do in life ... then why not? Bazza & I both agreed that this would not be a bad way to retire - at least the phone doesn't ring!

DSC04876 DSC04939

The family with The Captain All of us!

November 13th, 2009

 Categories: Floods

Flood No. 6    November 2009

You don’t have to go far to find adventure.  Here is flood No. 6 for us this year.  Having received over 11 inches of rain in less than 24 hours (that is nearly more than Melbourne gets in a year) it was enough to close the roads yet again.  A couple of weeks previous we had Flood No. 5 - we received 18 inches in 48 hours.  Luckily I had just finished building some paved paths through our property which prevented some serious erosion!

DSC04428 DSC04427 DSC04391

October 23rd, 2009

 Categories: Travel

Kangaroo Island October 2009

Having had to pull out of this years Mt Bogong adventure due to getting a bad case of the flu,  I took the family to Adelaide and we ventured onto Kangaroo Island for a few days.  What an extraordinary place with such a diverse range of native animals, plants & sea life as well as some great beaches and rugged coastline.  It’s bigger than you think, so you need a guide or a reasonable amount of time to get around.  The sea lions & fur seals were a great sight.  Sand boarding on the dunes was fun.  We met a retired guy who was bicycling from Perth to Sydney - what a great adventure.

DSC04199 DSC04252 DSC04265

September 25th, 2009

 Categories: Skiing

Charlottes Pass    September 2009

My good friend, Teepar, invited me to join with him, Rohan and a colleague, Francesca, on an adventure to Charlottes Pass for a week’s skiing. We hired skis at Jindabyne and travelled into the mountains using the skitube and across to the Pass via oversnow transport.  It was the last week of the downhill season for Charlottes Pass and that gave us a great opportunity to hit both the downhill and alpine slopes across the high range.  It was great to have some 5 star luxury at the end of the day staying at the magnificent KAC lodge with lots of laughs and good food.

Some of the photos are below, click here to see the complete photo album.

 

DSC03950 DSC03896 DSC03928 DSC03922

::