Cycling day 2: Alexandra to Omakau – 12 November 2016
We woke to quite dark skies and heavy rain overnight but everyone keeps telling us that it doesn’t rain very much in this area. It’s looking very green everywhere so it’s been quite a wet season so far. Apparently the average rainfall is only 300mls a year!
We managed to start riding after a wet start, but thankfully it eased to minor drizzle. The day remained cool and overcast.
We left Alexandra and rode across the Manuherikia River, past the ladies waiting room at Galloway, through some rocky outcrops before crossing the river again near Chatto Creek. We stopped at the Chatto Creek Tavern for a late morning tea/early lunch along with a few other groups of cyclists. We chatted to some locals and the others in the tavern and enjoyed the camaraderie. The pubs over here are old and full of charm. The food is really good too!
After leaving Chatto Creek we cycled on the straight trail through irrigated farmlands with the Dunstan Mountains in the distance.
We were staying at Tiger Hill Lodge, which was right on the rail trail, but went on into Omakau for lunch at the Muddy Creek cafe for the best hamburgers! We heard the story (again) about the rainfall being unprecedented and as we rode onto the tiny village of Ophir we were caught in a slight downpour. Ophir was a historic goldfields town and had been the centre for the local population until the railway was built. We enjoyed the well-preserved buildings and the Daniel O’Connell bridge just out of town which was opened in 1880.
Black’s pub was a welcome rest spot, in between the showers, before we cycled to our gorgeous accommodation at Tiger Hill Lodge. It was a purpose-built schist rock lodge with great facilities including the very welcome hot-tub out in the old barn.
We were welcomed by the lovely Gwyneth who we chatted to like long lost friends. She booked us into the local pub for dinner complete with courtesy bus pickup. What a great time we had being treated like royalty!
The day’s total distance was just over 30km and we were starting to feel our muscles.
We were all a bit sad to have to leave Tiger Hill the next day as it was such a comfortable place to stay. But the tour continues to lurch from cafe to cafe along the rail trail – all the little towns seem to love having us stop for refreshments and a chat.
We have found everyone to be very friendly and accommodating. It’s a great way to see the countryside.