Today is the shortest day of the Alps to Ocean journey. Hardly seemed worthwhile donning the lycra. Our preference would have been to ride out to Oamuru and make a day of it, but we’d had accomodation waiting in Duntroon, a small town with a population of 90, and we were told absolutely no shops open. The local pub and cafe had both closed.
So we procrastinated in leaving Kurow, then called in at the local cafe for a coffee and as it turns out a treat.
The trail today was all off road, starting at the eastern end of town between the museum sheds. A gravel track heads across to the Waitaki River which we followed down the valley.
At the 5km point we rode bang smack into the middle of a winery that was also open for coffee but we were all coffeed out.
The winery was lovely to cruise through reminding me of the Bordeaux wineries and other rides in France with an avenue of trees either side.
From the winery we headed back towards the Waitaki River and followed the Waitaki Haul Road, also used by 4WD. The track was patchy in places courtesy of flooding and crossing creek beds. We crossed the Otiake River and then the Otekaieke River.
The off road trail then followed adjacent the highway with lovely valley views.
At the 23 km point, on the other side of the highway was a sign to Takiroa Maori rock art site. So over we went.
It was very interesting but sad that humans of the more modern era have come along and destroyed most of the art work in one of two ways. In the early 1900’s scientists removed a portion for museums, but in the process most was destroyed and little remains.
Secondly there are the bogan vandals who have carved names, words and initials into the soft stone, of the small amount that does remain.
After visiting the rock site we needed to retrace our steps and continue on the trail back down to the Waitaki River.
A pleasant discovery on the outskirts of Duntroon was a wetlands walkway track, with numerous little bridges criss crossing the wet terrain.
Having arrived in Duntroon by 11.30am we cruised around town and found quite a few quirky points of interest. Firstly there was a static blacksmith shop that is active some days, having been restored by locals.
St Martins church is apparently one of the most photographed in New Zealand due to its gothic style and stone used. It was opened in 1901, same year Queen Victoria died.
Mention must be made of the local public toilets, featuring cycle friendly murals
We are staying at the old Duntroon Railway Station. Amazing accomodation featuring large lounge, dining and kitchen area, two bedrooms ( 2 x 2 single very short beds), bathroom, as well as a large deck overlooking the Waitaki Valley.
I have have enjoyed sitting out in the sun, skim reading a book on New Zealand, finishing a book by Juliana Buhring, falling asleep for a nap…trying to remove those knick and jersey tan marks!
An extraordinary looking dinner and pure quantity of food has been delivered that we could not possibly eat all of…
I notice that all the chocolates and the caramel shortbread cakes have been removed someone else’s safe keeping ( not mine, ha ha ha). For the record I have knocked off all the cherries though!
So despite today’s shorter distance and leisurely ride, Duntroon is a nice little town where I have chillaxed on the deck! So nice to be here.
Tomorrow is the final day of the A20 Alps to Ocean ride as we will arrive in Oamuru.