Day 98

I thought the Antarctic was further south!

I thought the Antarctic was further south!

Long Drop serving as camp kitchen...Brown sauce anyone?

Long Drop serving as camp kitchen…Brown sauce anyone?

Rex and 2 old wrecks. My Fashion sense completely disregarded.

Rex and 2 old wrecks. My Fashion sense completely disregarded.

Sun finally thawing us out and the gates are opening to Te Anau

Sun finally thawing us out and the gates are opening to Te Anau

Jimmy with his emergency supply trailer. Raising money for his Shortbread Trust. Good luck

Jimmy with his emergency supply trailer. Raising money for his Shortbread Trust. Good luck

Always sunny and warm in Te Anau

Always sunny and warm in Te Anau

I thought this would be my only encounter with a Takahe

I thought this would be my only encounter with a Takahe

Real live Takahe, brilliant

Real live Takahe, brilliant

The Takahe Story

The Takahe Story

Looking back at Ta Anau

Looking back at Ta Anau

Some fine fillies en route to Manapouri

Some fine fillies en route to Manapouri

Satisfied with another fine day on the road. Manapouri campsite

Satisfied with another fine day on the road. Manapouri campsite

Lake Manapouri as the sun sets behind the mountains

Lake Manapouri as the sun sets behind the mountains

1.30pm FatDuck cafe Te Anau.

I’m basking in lovely warm sunshine and my caffeine fix has set in so feeling pretty good! My stomach is rumbling and i will head off to sample the pies of Te Anau soon (miles bakery has been highly recommended) . I have concluded that David is an even better eater than I am. He is already on his wish to eat list of pies burgers, sausage rolls, sushi and hot chips.

We have deserved every calorie with 65km under our reducing belts since leaving the freezing Mavora lakes this morning. Boy it was cold even with fire going again. We lost feeling in our fingers making it hard to tie laces and clip buckles, it got even worse when got on bikes and lost all sensation. Had to find first sunny spot to stop and stick them in our armpits (our own arm pits as opposed to sharing). Gradually eased as we descended altitude, sun got stronger and the day less cloudy. There is hardly a cloud in the sky now. Katharina who works here has been really nice, she is from the Czech republic and just got her residency. She has been in nz 4 years and Te Anau 3. She goes travelling including back home for 3 months a year when Te Anau gets really quiet. Hi Katarina if you are reading this and thanks for a great cup of coffee!

I met Jimmy, a kiwi, he has set up a charity called the shortbread trust which raises funds to provide clean water, seeds and tools for farming and emergency shelter to people without these essentials in Third World countries http://www.the shortbread trust.com . Jimmy owns a backpackers in Nelson but is cycling down and back up the south island to raise sponsorship.

David and I have decided to push it a bit more today and aim to do another 40km and freedom camp. Will make tomorrow a bit easier. I’d better go and stuff my face before we set off.

11pm staying at a quirky camp site in Manapouri.

An Oldish American lady seems to run it single handedly and has just got on to David who was thinking of sleeping in the TV lounge. I had no intention of doing so but I’ve still come out feeling guilty!

I have been having a good long chat with Justice and Janet from Roughy in Victoria Australia for most of the evening,. They have a 1000 acre farm and are involved in a project which is re-vegitating farmland. Over 300 acres of their land is being planted with native seeds of the type of vegetation which would be present in the area. They are licenced contractors to do this for other farms and have permits to collect and blend native plant species. It is a government funded project and they receive a grant.Results on past farms has really diversified both native flora and fauna and more and more farmers are taken on this land stewardship approach with the govt financial incentive. Justice has tramped a lot in Tasmania and showed me some photos so “Tassie” is looking higher on my bucket list.

Interesting to hear they think NZ are much better than Aussie at marketing their products, be it dairy, meat, forestry or tourism the NZ brands and image are streets ahead (it made me think that we don’t see much Aussie stuff in UK, except maybe Hardy’s and a few other wines).

We didn’t manage to get much further than Te Anau , Matapouri being just 20km up the road but it will make tomorrows long 100km a bit shorter or we can get bit further. We stopped at the visitor centre in Te Anau which had a good display on geology, history, flora and fauna etc plus we fed the ducks. We then went off road which slowed us down but really glad we did as came across a pen with a family of Takahe in and this is first time I’d ever seen them. It was an excellent ride in the evening sunshine overlooked by the mountains to get here just as the sun dipped behind the mountains by the lake.

Oh yes, I’ve decided what I may do, all being well, to celebrate my 50th and the end of my official challenge to travel the length of New Zealand. We saw some south African “Bulls” rugby players in Queenstown and they are playing the local Otago Highlanders on Friday night so I thought finding a pub full of partisan highlander supporters would be a good way to pass the time!

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