10.45pm YHA Owaka
We are staying in a former Rest home which is now a backpackers. Obviously now I’m fifty I feel right at home with the high back chairs, hand rails and larger font signage which has remained. As David didn’t appear until 5pm in Owaka We decided to call it a day and stay the night here rather than go on to Balclutha or Kaka Point. I’d sussed out this place and somewhere to eat so it was an easy decision to make.
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday’s wind had died right down but it was still bright and sunny so it became an excellent day for cycling.
I’d got up early to check out the sunrise and walk along the rocks to see if could see any penquins, sea lions or dolphins. I drew a blank on all three but it was spectacular coastline with long rocky platforms taking the full force of the pent up fury of the ocean breakers as they smashed into land.
We got on our way by 9am to see the petrified forest which was formed when ash from a volcanic eruption some 160 million years ago turned the trees into silicates before they had time to rot. It was impressive and you could make out how the forest had once stood all those years ago.
We headed only as far as Niagara (where in true Kiwi irony there is one of the worlds smallest waterfalls) and had our first flat white of the day (Ive even got David into flat whites now). The cafe is owned by a NZ paralympic cyclist (Phillipa Gray or Laura Thompson, not sure which). She wasnt there ( a grumpy Lithuanian woman served us ) otherwise it would have been great to talk to her. Her G,S and B medals were on display at the counter which I thought was great.
Next stop was Papatowai where there was a very eccentric cafe,”The Lost Gypsy” with a gallery and even theatre of curios and automatons made by a creative guy called Blair. We met Jens there, a cyclist from Germany and I had a good chat about his trip not only in NZ but in Chile too. We all went to the shop and had a pie together! Jens had it all sussed so that he would be in Brazil for the world cup, although he played down Germany’s chances as the temperature would be too hot.
Next came the biggest hill of the day, Table Hill, which I managed to get all the way up without a stop. My legs are definitely stronger and even my lungs are keeping up now.
So, here I am in a rest home.
Oy yes, we decided to eat out at local pub, this was quite sedate and not too many “local colour” characters in there tonight. We played connect four which I just managed to beat David at 3-2. We shared a pizza and chips which the girl behind bar assured me would be enough for “2 Ravenous cyclists” as I’d so described us. It was only just about enough! Washed down with 2 jugs of Wild Buck local beer.