Saturday, 15 March 2008

Thursday 28th Feb 2008

Horses For Courses Another bright sunny day beckoned as I packed up my bags and waved goodbye to Shaggy and Christchurch. Hit the Southern Highway 1 (SH1) which runs down the east coast and pushed on as far as Waimate (pronounced Why-a-mat-Eeee, not Y-mate) to break up the journey a little bit. Fixed the bike together and headed into the hills that formed a ridge parallel to the main highway (running North to South some 10k's inland). If you looked up to the hills that run parallel to the east coast some 10k inland you could see a white horse etched into the top of the hill side. The ride is aptly named after said horse which was erected as a permanent reminder and testament to the part played by the Clysedale horses to hasten New Zealands development. Now I'm not a massive horse fan but I do know that those horses used to help pull carts of beer kegs so fair play. Thanks to the dodgy signage I accidentally headed up the walkers path instead of the MTB trail which luckily for me was super steep and semi-unridable, especially in flip-flops (feet still very sore). After no small amount of perspiration and a good deal of cursing the lack of directions I summited the peak and enjoyed the views before heading down the bikers path and onto some gradely tracks created by locals. As I cruised back into town the 575 received whoops of praise from appreciative young schoolboys. Had to chuckle.

Nissan Pulsar Breaks Land Speed Record Cruised down the East coast road towards Dunedin and possibly broke the land speed record for a Nissan Pulsar, I tipped 168kph down the single-laned SH1. I've got no idea how fast that is in mph's but it's faster than Brett Lee so I'll take it as a tonne and a bit. I reckon that's not a bad achievement in it's own right but coupled with downloading pics from my camera to my laptop I reckon it's a good effort.

Shag Point I kid you not, this is an actual place on the Otago (the state which contains Dunedin amongst many other places) peninsular. The sign flashed past forcing me to bank left sharpish and before I knew it I was heading onto a gravel track and a nature reserve. Twas dusk and as such all the tourists had packed up and gone home long ago, I had the whole reserve to myself, well, me and a load of seals and Yellow Eyed Penguins (YEPs). The seals were just chilling on the rocks that weren't getting bashed by waves, it was the penguins I wanted to see, having never seen them in the wild before. I rounded a corner, feeling somewhat like David Bellamy scurry as quitely as possible through the undergrowth and mumbling to myself 'wook at awwww ve wanderfuw cawers boys and giws'. There stood two YEPs basking in the dying embers of sunlight, I snook up on them and gave them a damn good kicking. Only joking, I got a couple of snaps of the rarest species (say that like David Bellamy) of penguin on the planet and then wondered all the way home how they managed to escape from their chocolate bar wrapper.

Dunedin Cracked on into Dunedin, tis quite a descent on the SH1 to this South Easterly city. Spent a good half hour looking for somewhere to stay, providence, my only companion, seemed to be deserting me, however the Kiwi's Nest pulled me out of a hole and fixed me up with a very clean and comfortable single room for $40. Result. Strolled into town to a noodle bar and dominated the $7 beef and spring onion meal This place bas a bring your own beer (BYOB) affair so I nipped next door and grabbed a bottle of local red and quaffed it with my noodles. Hit Robbie Burns' pub next door which had a great little three-piece jazz band on, I think the combined age of the outfit was touching half a millenium but they sounded great. Hooked up with a couple or three locals and proceeded to explore Dunedin, unbeknown to me it was 'Orinetation Week' at the University of Otago (UoO), Freshers Week to the English, and we all know what that means, lots of drunken Tom Foolery. Luckily for me I ran out of cash and none of the ATMs would give me anymore so I de-thonged and skipped back to The Nest in my barefeet.

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