Elaine, Allan and 15 friends finished their Alps 2 Ocean trip from Otematata to Oamaru just in time before the country went into lockdown. What better way to spend a week in the outdoors before spending 4+ weeks at home. We caught up with Elaine recently to ask her a few questions about their experience on the Alps 2 Ocean….
Tell us about your group and how they came together?
“We are a group of friends comprising friends of friends who share common interests in Geology, flora and fauna, water, bridges and dams. For this trip the age range was 69 to 85. The average age was 75+ but we don’t think of ourselves as vulnerable!! Most now ride 2 bikes. Some once were water scientists , engineers, nurses, medical researches, textile specialists, teachers etc who enjoy each others company. Most are based in Christchurch and some in Dunedin.”
“What section of the A2O would you rate as the best riding experience?
“Our favourite ride: Otematata to Kurow and Rural Duntroon to Oamaru, (about equal. too many ex MOW voters)”
What was your favourite accommodation location on the trail?
“Accommodation was all good, especially as the group could stay together; Favourite was the Farmstay but Twizel Motel a close second. The Brydone Hotel went out of their way with bike security, giving us a warm place to stay when the stress of the imminent lockdown was approaching.
Most if not all of the group are saddle fit and all ride regularly, so there were no long days and we arrived at our night’s accommodation in good spirits and with time to explore. Glad we did the extra ride to the Farmstay as this gave us more time on the last day. The rolling green limestone hills, the rocky outcrops and also the history was all explored.”
“One of our group missed the turn off on to Grants Road to the Rothesay Farmstay. We had gone over the route and the turn off – he had even been given the instructions in writing but….. We had a ‘last sighting’ so Barry and a member of our group did a systematic search and located him. A bit of a worry, but as a group we endeavour to stay within sight of each other, again but…”
“What was the one thing you would have changed about your planning in retrospect?
“ Nothing – It was all good and suited our group. Willie got us home in good time so we had two days to prepare our bubble.”
Have you done any/many other trails and if so what was the best of them?
“Like most groups we all started doing the Otago Rail Trail. Some have now done this 3-4 times as we introduce our families to the joys of cycling. We have done lots of cycling around Queenstown, Wanaka, Mt Cook, Otematata. Also the Nelson Great Taste Trail, Little River Trail and West Coast Wilderness Trail.
This trip would be one of our best yet, but we did also few much enjoy the West Coast Wilderness Trail. It is impossible to compare the two as they are so different. They were as unalike as East and West.”