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  Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Longing for summer

10:02:32 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 9 July 2009

Mixed Weather

7:30:45 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 2 August 2008


Yesterday, at around 5am, Kaycee passed away. Her 17 year old body just gave up on her, after a 48 hour struggle which just happened to coincide with a 15-year storm and a 48 hour long power outage. We have the power back on now but she is gone. I buried her under the trees on the other side of the creek just a stones-throw from the house.

She was my best friend. I can't say much more about her than that.... perhaps those that knew her will understand why.

In Southland with my best mate. (2007)


9:10:10 AM    Comment []

  Friday, 5 October 2007

Camping under the pines

I've just been sitting here watching a slideshow of photos from my xtracycle tour last summer, with The Warratahs (the best of) playing, while treating myself to a sip or two (or three, or four) of wild turkey bourbon, generously mixed with dry ginger ale. A nice way to spend a Friday night at home. Watching those pixelated cell-phone photos fade in and out has bought the feeling of being on the road flooding back. With everything I really need (as opposed to everything I mistakenly think I need) loaded on two wheels, with just the open road, and the New Zealand landscape in front of me... no set timetable or agenda. I'm itching to be doing that again.


I have a large laminated poster sized map of New Zealand pinned to my wall above my table which I now find myself gazing at longingly (again). This summer I think the East Cape of the North Island is calling me. I've been up there once before, back in the days when I was a commercial deep-sea fisherman for a job (ugh, I can't believe I ever did that). While we were fishing for the elusive Orange Roughy we had to duck into Hicks Bay to shelter from rough weather. The weather stayed bad for more than 48 hours so the skipper allowed us deckhands (5 of an 7 man crew) to go ashore and mingle with the locals. This area is a long way from the main highway and so doesn't see a lot of tourists. People are pretty down to earth. I remember walking into the pub there one mid-week evening, and almost instantly feeling as welcome as I have ever felt anywhere before. I think half of them were only at the pub because there was a unfamiliar fishing boat anchored in the bay, which in turn meant there might be some new faces to meet (and welcome) down at the drinking hole. Anyway the one encounter I've had with that part of New Zealand left me with a good feeling, so I'd like to take some time to see it properly; and what better way than on my bike.

Pushing into a southerly



Let the planning begin...

10:35:33 PM    Comment []

  Friday, 6 July 2007

Missing Summer
Moraki beach, taken a few months ago on my cycle tour.
I've been dreaming of next summers bike/camping trip possibilities today. Can't wait for those days to get longer again.

11:29:28 PM    Comment []

  Thursday, 3 May 2007

Lake Moeraki
8:54:06 PM    Comment []

  Tuesday, 1 May 2007

While on our South Island cycle tour I got into the habit of photographing our various campsites. It was always an odd feeling when I'd packed all my gear back onto the bike each morning, to look back as we rode away and see no sign of what had been my home for the night. Here's some of my favourite campsite shots...

Campsite at Clarks Reserve
Clarks Reserve on our first night of the trip. I like how Kaycee came prancing out of the tent just in time for the shot.

Campsite at Punakaiki
Punakaiki was night six of our cycle tour. This is just down the road from the famous pancake rocks.

Campsite near Wanaka
A bit of fun with a tripod and a torch under a full moon at our campsite near Wanaka. This was night 15 of our tour. We got woken up at dawn by a grumpy campground manager demanding our camp fees that we had failed to pay into the honesty box 'on arrival'. We were gonna pay.... honest.

Start of a cycle touring day
This is the start of a (nice sunny) cycle touring day in Manapouri. I sleep with a camera by my pillow :)

Waikouaiti campsite
I can't even remember exactly where this campsite was. Somewhere near Waikouaiti I think. I do remember I couldn't have coffee in the morning because we were short of water. We discovered the river nearby was actually tidal after we had made camp so (fresh) water was on very short rations. Luckily there was a little town just a couple of kilometers away, with a little bakery, that had suuuuperb coffee. Phew.

8:20:42 PM    Comment []

  Monday, 30 April 2007

Roadside - Buller Gorge

9:35:48 PM    Comment []

  Sunday, 29 April 2007

Kekerengu Campsite

This is probably my favourite photo of the last 6 weeks, taken on my 38th night of the tour. My Xtracycle, my dog (who by this time was a well experienced cycle-touring passenger), my tent and a place under the pines to pitch it; what more could a man ask for? Just beyond the trees is a kelp-littered, steep stoney beach with surf surging in and out. A soothing sound to sleep to.

So soothing in fact that I was up before dawn...

Kekerengu campsite at dawn

8:12:58 PM    Comment []

  Saturday, 28 April 2007

Cameron Flat

We arrived at this campsite after dark having just cycled the gruelling Haast Pass road. The next morning it was raining heavily so I just stayed in my tent and enjoyed a well earned sleep in. By the time I emerged mid-morning all the other campers (vans and trucks) had moved on. For several hours we enjoyed a scrolling show of clouds and rain squals. You could sit and watch clouds form and disperse in minutes, while beams of sun broke through here and there. I could have sat there and photographed it all day.

7:45:33 PM    Comment []

Well, we're back. I've had the last 48hrs just resting up. It's been raining since about an hour before I arrived home on Thursday night as if it was waiting until I was indoors again.

I've been thinking about telling a few stories here about our xtracycle trek around the South Island, but I'm struggling to decide how to start (without having to type for three days to finish the tale).

I have been dying to post some high res shots to show you what was really behind all those chunky mobile phone pictures (they were fun though, weren't they?), so I guess I'll do my usual trick of letting the pictures tell the story, a little bit at a time.

These two shots were taken on about day 11 of our voyage on our way through Haast Pass. It was raining on and off all day and we encountered some of the steepest roads in the entire trip. Travelled from Okuru (about 15km SE of Hasst), over the narrow, steep, incredibly beautiful pass, and down to a little DOC campground called Camerons Flat just North of Makarora. This is an example of some of the many views that cannot be appreciated from a car or a bus as you need to stop and walk to the edge of the canyon, and this piece of road is just too narrow and dangerous for a motor vehicle to pull over.

Haast Pass 1

Haast Pass 2

More high-res shots from the trip coming soon, in no particular order ;)

6:43:48 PM    Comment []

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