Top 10 Cycle Tours: (#10) Otago Rail Trail

Last year I posted my top 10 mountain treks across the world. Now there’s a sequel – my favourite 10 cycle journeys.

Over the past 15 years I’ve toured long distances on four continents, from the highest roads in the world to long stretches at sea level, from open highways to some of the roughest tracks in existence. It’s taken me across tens of thousands of kilometres of roads and tracks, which also means there are millions of roads still out there. It is inevitably, then, a limited and biased list. But hey, ain’t they all. Continue reading

Friday Foto: Hidden Tongariro Valley

Tong valley

Walking on a trail can be like threading a line between words in a book – you only see part of the story. Move off the line – read the entire page – and a place expands and changes, developing new shapes, angles and experiences as you step through untracked land.

In a forest or in heavily mountainous country, you quickly sense the possibility of this change if you were to step away from the trail. On my recent visit to New Zealand, however, I discovered there can be just as much shift in an open, barren landscape such as that around the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. Continue reading

Blowing Down the Whanganui River

I’ve always admired New Zealanders for their sense of belonging in the outdoors. Their land really is the natural equivalent of the burger with the lot – glaciers, alpine peaks, volcanoes, beaches, rainforest, even one tiny spot of desert – and, in the main, the people appear to know and appreciate their natural good fortune. It’s a connection that seems to give them an insouciance about conditions and weather that you see in few other countries. There’s little that stops Kiwis from getting out to play.

When I arrived in New Zealand a few days ago, Cyclone Lusi was bearing down on the country. This storm had killed 10 people in Vanuatu and was forecast to arrive in New Zealand with wind speeds of up to 130km/h and the sort of rainfall that would have done Noah proud. And I was about to go canoeing.

Whanganui1

 

Continue reading

Friday Foto: Lake Pukaki

Pukaki2

Lake Pukaki has long been the dream viewpoint in New Zealand’s South Island, peering across glacial waters to Mt Cook, the highest peak in the country. Most people drive here, but it’s now also part of the route for the Alps 2 Ocean cycleway, one of 18 new cycle routes being carved throughout New Zealand. Continue reading

Top 10 Mountain Treks: (#6) Nelson Lakes to Lewis Pass

The journey through my favourite mountain trails continues, closer to home now, on New Zealand’s South Island. But not among the usual roll calls of famous tramps. Continue reading