Riding the Rail Trails around Queenstown New Zealand travel blog

Manuherikia River Bridge

Poolburn Gorge

Poolburn Tunnel

Downhill through the Ida Valley

Hawk Rock House.


The day dawned fine, which was a relief after the rain the night before. Whilst Simon and I were up before 8am, the kids stayed in bed till we roused them round 9am. We had our usual few rounds of 500 after dinner, so yet again they were in bed well after 10.

Our panniers were pretty full, there being no supermarkets for the next two days. Whilst there is a general store in Oturehua, Gilchrists, the longest operating store in NZ, we had been warned that they don't have too much on offer.

The kids were doing the dishes when the owner's aunt turned up to strip the beds. It was minutes after 10am so we guessed that check out must have been at 10. We were up and out pretty soon after.

We stopped off to explore the station area around Omakau, then were on the bikes to next stop Lauder some 7km away, and a gentle uphill climb, that set the scene for the rest of the day.

The mountains were clearly visible now and we could see all the vistas that had been previously hidden by clouds.

The Poolburn gorge and viaducts were the highlights of the ride, including two long tunnels, and two long bridges. The gorge was completely different to our Roxburgh gorge experience, much more compact. After passing through the tunnels we enjoyed some downhill to the beautiful Ida Valley and could see for miles. We could also see the trail rising gently miles into the distance.

We decided to push on to our accommodation at Hawk Rock before stopping for lunch, as the only picnic tables were passed were too early in the day, and there were few other places to stop. We found the turnoff to Agnew Road some 3kms before Oturehua and could spot the house perched up on the hill overlooking the trail.

The drive up to the house was steep and we ended up pushing the bikes. The house was amazing, made of stone with a deep veranda and views in every direction. I had chosen this place specially so Simon would celebrate his birthday somewhere special. We all agreed that this was the best place yet, and an easy cycle into Oturehua for a birthday lunch tomorrow.

After lunch we settled into the comfortable lounges and chairs to enjoy our books, and Jonno eventually did his maths homework - still two more questions a night till school goes back, with each taking an hour to an hour and a half. All so he can sit the HSC maths later this year (year 10). Still, keeps him out of mischief.

Dinner was a stir fry with a local packet sauce which was surprisingly tasty. Unfortunately though, the camera card was corrupted when downloading the photos, so we only have a few photos from today. Will have to take extra tomorrow.

Time now for cards.....



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