A good long ride, some hiking, spectacular views and near perfect weather.
We started from the hotel at Lake Tekapo and rode about 15Km along the quiet main road until a junction with an irrigation canal.
The lake system in New Zealand is extensively used for hydroelectric power generation with the runoff from one lake's generator feeding down canals to the generator at the next lake. Naturally the canals are accompanied by basically flat access roads and riding these would have to be similar to riding along a dike in the Netherlands. Of course the Netherlands scenery rarely includes mountains. Not even the gradually increasing headwind dampened my enjoyment of this ride.
After about 13Km I came to a lookout point over a sharp descent that I suspect is used for one of the power generation points. This is where I caught my first look at Lake Pukaki which is just beautiful. A fast and fun descent (watch for the left hand turn at the T-junction though) was then followed by a lakeside ride for about 5Ks before we hit a busier main road. A quick drive to a look out point for some pictures and morning tea and then we drove round to the other side of the lake and the road to Mount Cook.
The ride along Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook was just wonderful. Despite being a gradual climb overall the hills weren't too bad, the scenery was wonderful, and by the time we stopped by the side of the road for a late picnic lunch I'd done just under 70Km for the day. Imagine if you will me sitting at a table in the warm sunshine looking at Mount Cook just over there whilst enjoying a freshly made sandwich that I know I've earned from my efforts in the morning.
Are you jealous yet? :)
The last 11 or so Km to the parking lot in the Hooker Valley got harder and harder after lunch but I was quite pleased when I found I was there with a total of 79.25Km for the day. But I wasn't done yet!
After regrouping a bit we went for a bit of a hike through the Hooker Valley to see what was to be seen, which was lots. The walk included a couple of suspension bridges which were a bit nervy but which at least had wooden bases that I couldn't see through and hadn't been designed for maximum swing (unlike, oh, the Buller River swing bridge) so I was able to manage them.
Then we drove to Ohau Lodge for the evening. And here are the stats:
Life is good. Right now I'm as pleased as I am tired...