new zealand: landed

We left a miserable drizzly Vancouver Friday and, 22 hours later, arrived in Nelson, New Zealand, late morning Sunday of a beautiful sunny day. It was more than we had hoped for, and the past two days have been absolutely pleasant.

We had originally planned to be completely useless the day of our arrival, and for any complex mental activities, we certainly were. But surprisingly, a magical reserve of energy helped us put our bikes together. Maybe the blue skies, the shaded patio of the inn we stayed at (Trampers Rest) and summer flowers helped.

The next day, after a long sleep, we set off into town for pre-tour errands. It had clouded up overnight, but the great thing about quickly changing island weather is that by midday, the clouds had burned off and we had another sunny day. I could be happy if the weather stayed like this; cool mornings and warm afternoon and evenings. But a few guidebooks mentioned Nelson being the sunniest place in NZ so, alas, it’s best we expect rainy days.

One of our errands took us along the seaside highway to find a bike shop we saw when coming in from the airport. The shop was never to be found but it was a good reminder that touring should ‘t be about the destination or the distance, but about the ride itself.

This ride took us by a beach where we could watch curious looking oyster catchers and the fellow below, who waddled like a penguin towards us in the most endearing way. We looked him up later and are guessing it was the Pied Shag. Possibly a common shore bird in New Zealand but new and exciting to us.

After errands, we walked up a hill near the inn to see the “Center of New Zealand”. Really, you want to go to this site for the view.

Because it’s not reeally the center, but the center in a declared, cartesian sense. All mapping coordinates of the country are based on this point of origin.

It’s now Tuesday (writing that more as a reminder to myself) and in minutes we’ll be off to start our tour! The first two days will be a leisurely ride to Picton, a little over 100km away, where we’ll meet with Hendrik, Eric and Janelle, who’ve been wintering in New Zealad. I’m looking forward to the visit!

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