We woke to an awesome clear sky day, for our longest distance day. What a relief!
We got on the road by about 9.30am, after a nice chilled breakfast in our unit. The only off note was the hot rod cars who idled in either unit beside us, oblivious to the petrol smell. Still, off and away. A gorgeous stretch along a trail beside Lake Benmore. All too soon though we had 5km on state highway 83, to climb over a saddle to get to Otematata. The downhill was worth it!
We stopped for a coffee break in the village, pleased to have the first 24km of our day completed. Next we skirted Lake Avimore, to get to the imposing Benmore Hydro dam. It really was a juxtaposition of man made concrete against a backdrop of natural beauty. Still, we cycled on, and up, to the dam. Quite a mission, but we did it!! The views over the valley below were impressive, as was the massive hydro pipes we looked down on.
Next we had a 27km ride around the Avimore lake. It was lovely, up until a headwind started up! Then it was hard work. We stopped for lunch at one of the rustic campsites. It was mostly deserted now, but must heave over summer. Duel recorded in our 'when we're retired' file. Still, we needed to push on. Round the lake another 10km, and we reached the dam head. It was still a buzz to cycle over it, but it just didn'T have the scale of Benmore.
The last 1km were back on state highway 83. It was all a bit tough really. The thought of a cold beer at the end kept us going. Past the third hydro station, Qatari, and on to Kurow. The two pubs were not set up for bikes, and we didn'T want to leave them fully laden on the street, so the pint had to wait. We whizzed back 150m to our accommodation -Riverside b and b, quickly let ourselves in and dumped our panniers. We raced back to the pub! There were friendly locals, and standard beer, but it tasted good. Thirst quenched, after a couple, we headed back to the bnb.
Kieran and Lynn had a gorgeous three room bnb, and we're fab hosts. We showered, then joined them at the bar beside the kitchen, and chatted to them as they prepared dinner. Duck confit no less! The evening passed quickly. Entertaining stories, great food and non stop wine. Great fun.