Boxing Day in Australia signals the start of a sporting extravaganza. As a child I always recall it meant the television was blaringly loud. We started with the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, with the massive supporting armada seeing the maxi yachts out of the magnificent sunny Sydney Harbour to the heads. The television would not change channel until the leaders were out the heads, heading to our state capital Hobart.
The television channel then swapped to the cricket live from the home of Australian sport, the MCG, or as Aussies call it, The G. The Boxing Day test is always played between Australia and the visiting international team. As the day rolls on, often hot, over by over, the mob on the hill get rowdier, well liquidated by the local amber ale.
Today looked nothing like that. Not one iota.
It started raining and raining and a little bit more for good measure.
Now today was to be a shorter day so we had time to kill. You can’t arrive to early, wet and cold. So we headed off to the Twizel shopping centre where there was shelter.
Then we headed to the bakery and grabbed a coffee.
From there we checked out the local hardware store. Amazingly eclectic!
However I did purchase my third pair of locally produced wool cycling socks! They are really comfortable and these were a bit longer for the cooler day. It was 9 degrees. The chair was for sale and really comfy. $160 for the ‘mother of all chairs’ ( well that’s what the sign said).
Still killing time we headed to the local toilets. I was impressed with the bottle filler fountain. Here we met Will, hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland who is on a two month riding tour of South Island. Poor guy has been in bed for the last week with pneumonia and was heading for Mt Cook.
Finally it was decided to ride on as the sky looked to be improving. We left Twizel following the Glen Lyon Road as it weaved its way around towards Lake Ohau.
We followed the Pukaki canal.
As we turned right to follow the Ohau Canal we had some lovely head winds but on the positive side, the temperature had jumped to 11 degrees. We had drizzle on and off but overall it looked like it was clearing.
The Ohau Canal appears to have a reasonable amount of salmon farming. The birds were keen. At least seals would not be a predator issue here like at home.
At the end of Glen Lyon Road the Ohau Canal enters Lake Ohau.
We turned off the road and back onto gravel track for a further 10 km under the ever watchful dominance of Ben Ohau. The scenery was so reminiscent of northern Scotland so appropriate it is a ‘ben’.
Ohau Weir features a ramp up and over the tunnels.
We then climbed a small rise providing a better view of the weir.
We continued to follow the Lake Ohau track which was skirting around the edge of the lake. This section was my favourite part of today.
A new type of crossing appeared.
One of the better view of Ben Ohau encountered today. A popular walk that takes around 4-5 hours, 810 metres vertical climbing.
Following the track around the lake we came across an old hut.
The track was lined with flowering lupin ( yellow and purple) which Gary grumblebum ( InterCity bus driver from Christchurch airport notoriety) had told the passengers that the spread of lupin was from sheep eating the English introduced plant.
The track also had the most incredibly prickly plant (matagouri) that you need to avoid close encounters with.
Some final views from the track.
Nice ride down the sealed road room is into the Lake Ohau village that has some very flash homes. We climbed up the village hill off the A20 route just because we could.
7 km down the road from the village we arrived at our destination, Lake Ohau Lodge. Our gear is here, bonus! Our wifi does not work here so have just bought a pack for $20 that you can only use in the communal areas.
The view from the Lodge is so reminding me of Scotland. Just beautiful.
The hot tub called my name so I obliged. Looking stressed?
Whilst writing this blog I have spied a table tennis table. Someone is in for a spanking…volunteers to take me on at the table tennis table? Roll up!