Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cycling In New Zealand 2018: Day 4 - Cycling Queenstown Lake Wakatipu

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / New Zealand / Cycling New Zealand 2018 / Day 4    |     Go to D1-2/D3/D5/D6/D7-8/D9/D10-11/D12-13
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Cycling New Zealand 2018Day 4 - Cycling Queenstown Lake Wakatipu
New Zealand, North & South Island : Wednesday 24th October 2018
This is part of a cycling tour North Island & South IslandNew Zealand:
Cycling Distance: 15.40km.     Level: Medium
Cycling Time : 2:20pm to 5:45pm
Time Taken :  3 hrs. 15 mins. (inclusive of stops for picnic, rest, regrouping, and many photo opps).

This is page 3 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D3 Queenstown        |       Go to Other Days           |          Go to D4 Milford >

Route Recommendations :
1. Traffic Directions!
    Traffic in New Zealand is right-hand drive, so cycle on the left. Same thing applies when crossing the road, take note of the direction in which traffic is approaching from!
    Some New Zealanders can get quite impatient when it comes to driving. So do not hog the road, stay within your lane and put on your indicators when turning or changing lanes so as not to irate them.

2. Route & Traffic Conditions  
  Along the Lake Wakatipu Trail the route was fairly flat with certain gentle undulating stretches. There is a steep climb up and down the Kawarau Falls Dam leading to the Kelvin Peninsula where the trail is also has some undulating stretches which were steeper. Do note that there are not many road/trail that links the Lake Wakatipu Trail to Frankton Road; we  to exited at Sugar Lane next to the Element Escape Marina Apartments to get to the road which has shared cycling paths. On Frankton Road, the route was undulating with a couple of steep stretches.
    New Zealand has fairly well developed cycling routes that run in the cities, town, villages, and country side. Some of the cycling trails are on dedicated cycling lanes, some on shared lanes with pedestrians or other traffic. Some are on paved tracks while others are on gravel or earth trails, and they go through fairly busy towns, green forests and bright blue lakeside.
    The New Zealand Cycle Trail site provides an interactive map of exciting journeys on 2,500km of trails suited to everyone from sightseeing easy-going riders, to hardcore mountain bikers up for a challenge. The Queenstown Trail site provides cycling routes for various levels of rides in QueenstownNew Zealand law requires cyclists to wear helmets while cycling.

3. Navigation
    We used Google Maps in Cycling Mode for navigation but there is a lag when starting off, so one would have to cycle a bit to get the orientation right. Google Maps is also useful as it shows various places of interests that were not shown on GPS units.
    Alternatively, download the MAPS.ME app together with the relevant country maps. This app can be used offline.

4. Weather
   Average temperatures in Queenstown averaged 12°C and 8°C respectively for day and night. It was a moderately overcast day with a slightly strong winds of 20kph with gusts up to 40kph.
    Useful weather forecast sites for the New Zealand are the New Zealand Met Service and AccuWeather. For more detailed weather, including cloud cover and wind speed, use Weatherspark and Ventusky.

5. Places of Interests
    Along the cycling route were several places of interests, some of which we visited others we did not for lack of time:
- Queenstown Lake Esplanade (GPS: -45.03541, 168.65175)
Lake Wakatipu (GPS:-45.02931, 168.70128 ), one with very clear blueish water and the rugged brown/green hills topped with snow at the background.
- Queenstown Garden (GPS: -45.03930, 168.65748).
- Jubilee Park (GPS: -45.03635, 168.67144).
- Ivy Box Art Gallery (GPS: -45.03625, 168.67239).
- Club Pacific Beach (GPS: -45.02009, 168.72854).
Kawarau Falls Dam (GPS: -45.02783, 168.73377).
- Franklin Recreational Reserve (GPS: -45.03362, 168.70459).
- Queenstown Golf Club (GPS: -45.04279, 168.66942).
Boat Shed Cafe (GPS: -45.01899, 168.71511).
Sherwood Queenstown vegetable and herb garden (GPS:-45.0242, 168.69652 ).

6. Food
Lunch: Burgers at Fergburger (GPS: -45.03173, 168.65947).
Morning Tea: Ice-cream from Patagonia (GPS: -45.03255, 168.65928).
Dinner: Western fare at Sherwood's Restaurant that includes NZ beef and the famed New Zealand's Green-lipped Mussels. The vegetables and herbs used were freshly plucked from the own garden.

7. Accomodations
We stayed Sherwood Queenstown (GPS: -45.02377, 168.69611):
Address: 554 Frankton Rd, Queenstown 9348, New Zealand.
Tel.: +64 3-450 1090
Email: reservations@sherwoodqueenstown.nz

8. Bringing Bikes Onto Buses
    The local ORbus serving Queenstown and the Otago Region allows folded bikes on board without being bagged. Click here to see a forum discussion on bringing bikes onto buses. If one travels frequently by bus at the Queenstown locality it would be good to get their GO Cards; the card cost NZ$10 and can be used simultaneously by two persons. They can be purchased from the driver and credit can be bought together and topped up then. With the card fare per pax within the region covered is NZ$2/- per pax, otherwise it's NZ$5/- if paid by cash.
    
9. Communicating with Each Other
   When travelling in a group it's important to be able to communicate with each other, especially if one got lost from the rest. Vodafone prepaid phone cards can be bought at the Vodafone stall located just outside the Arrival Hall. We got ours from a promoter at the shopping arcade within the arrival hall, with each of us getting the prepaid mobile cards at NZ$25 (inclusive of GST) which came with 1.5Gb of data lasting 30 days. Also included were 200 minutes for local calls and calls to selected countries, including Malaysia. This also includes text messages to the selected countries. There's also free chat data when using FaceBook Messenger and WhatsApp.
    Most hotels, motels, home-stays, restaurants, and airports have free Wifi; do note that these free wifi may not be secure and registration could be required. But one can safe on one's mobile data by using these especially for uploading or downloading videos.

10. Communicating with Locals
    All locals speaks very good English and communicating with them should not be a problem.
    
11. Service Your Bicycles & Carry Tools and Spares
    Before leaving on your tour, it will be good to service your bike and bring along some spares like tubes, puncture patches, brake pads and the relevant tools.
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PRELUDE

Yesterday we had flown in from Auckland to Queenstown and had immediately cycled down to our apartment at Frankton Road. It was a short but sweet ride which had tickled our riding itch. So, today we scratch that itch and will explore more of the Queenstown Trail at Lake Wakatipu
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THE RIDE

This route runs a loop along Lake Wakatipu TrailFrom the Queenstown Lake Esplanade to the Kawarau Falls Dam it is fairly flat with some gentle undulating sections. There is a steep climb up and down to the Kawarau Falls Dam bridge. Over at the Kelvin Peninsula, the route has steeper undulating sections. This is a beautiful trail that runs along the lakeside which has very clear water, it goes through woodlands amidst colourful flora. The scenery is a superb one of a blue lake fringed by green/brown mountains which are snow-capped, depending on the season. It's best to take one's time and appreciate the beauty of the place.
Cycling Distance: 15.40km.     Level: Medium
(Click here for a Relive of our Queenstown Lake Wakatiu Ride)


10:30am - The weather here is so nice. There we were tucked in bed, keeping comfortably warm below the blankets in the 12°C crispy morning with birds twitting outside. It was so nice that we overslept! Reluctantly we pulled ourselves from the warm bed and had coffee at the terrace while a bird was playing in the water of the nearby brook.
Trying to make up for time, instead of cycling, we hurriedly took a bus down to the town centre... Why? To go get some Fergburger before a long queue builds up.
At the town centrr, up above, the gondolas were going up to the top station of the Skyline cable car. People had started going up, many for spectacular panorama from the top, with breath taking views of Coronet Peak, the Remarkables mountain range and acrossLake Wakatipu to Cecil Peak and Walter Peak. Others had brought their mountain bikes up, their bikes hanging from the outside of their gondola as they rode it up; from the top they can take one of few bike trails to bravely ride down, pumping up their adrenaline. Others may take the luge ride at the circuit at the top.


Well, we will have to miss all that as we popped into Fergburger; the queue was there but fortunately it was not that long. I made our orders at the counter while Lynne managed to find some seats at the few tables available.
Here I am, taking healthy mouthfuls of the Southern Swine Burger which came with a large patty of prime New Zealand beef topped with a large piece of streaky bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion in aioli and tomato relish.


To quote a famous tagline, "Where's the beef?"; it's all there as the generously thick pure beef patty had no hidden add-ons, making it full of good, juicy beefy flavours. The bacon added their nice porky saltiness to the burger.
Lynne went for the Little Lamby that came with a good, solid tasting lamb patty. The burgers were much larger than one served by other burger chains; we could not finish them and packed them up for a later lake-side picnic.
Fergburgers are very good, and they have a wide selection to cater for different palates; DON'T MISS THEM WHEN IN QUEENSTOWN!


Short of time, we decided to skip the cable-car and went for a quick ride around the Esplanade. The steamship TSS_Earnslaw had just docked from an earlier cruise of the lake. It's a stately looking ship; a quaint reminder of the past... so.... snap, snap, snap!
We were eager to see more of Lake Wakatipu, but decided to take a cycle ride along the trails looping it; perhaps we will take the cruise later when we get back.


But first - another thing not to be missed - good New Zealand ice-cream that are really creamy. We had those at Patagonia, slowly savouring the scoops as we sat at their first floor lounge. From here, there is a good view of The Remarkables mountain range rising up from Lake Wakatipu.


2:30pm - Okay, better stop dallying around town. And we headed out on our ride along the Lake Wakatipu Ride of the Queenstown Trail, starting from the Queenstown dock of the TSS_Earnslaw which will lead us to the Frankton Track.
The good thing about biking trails in New Zealand is that they are many signage along the way, indicating one's location, and distances to interesting destinations ahead; so one can't really get lost here.


The trail is made up of compacted fine gravel, easy to ride on even with our small-wheeled Bromptons. It meanders along on a gentle undulating terrain that took us pass parks and woods, with colourful blooms to brighten one's ride.


The rail is amazing, at many points it skirts right up to the lake's edge, tempting one to stop often and linger on. Which we did without regrets; one should not hurry here, take one's time and enjoy the views, listen to the lapping waves while a cool breeze blows in.


At other times, there are forks that goes slightly inwards away from the lake: like this one that weaves through tall pine trees of the Queenstown Garden.


There are short stretches that cut through shared roads at residential areas; here a truck loaded with striking kayaks and paddle boats was getting ready to deliver to the town jetties for tourist to have fun riding them.


Further on was this house almost overgrown with creeping ivy vines climbing up to its roof. This is the appropriately named Ivy Box, an art gallery run by Lynda & Nicci Hensman. Would have loved to visit but it was closed. Photos from the net showed it at a right season when the vines were almost covering the whole house with red blooms flowering out.


Nearby, a catamaran attracted us to stop and pose for photos. Haha... this would be one of many, many stops that we made along the way. Our fifteen kilometre ride would take us three hours; at an average very slow pace of five kilometer an hour 😂.


A "Dog Poo Fairy" poster. I tried looking for the fairy, but there's no such thing. It's a subtle reminder for dog owners to handle their dog poo in consideration of other users so that there will be no "Step On A Poo Disaster". Many dog lovers take their pets for walks here, and I notice that most of them came with necessary clearing equipment (i.e. specially long sticks with poo suckers).


3:15pm - Time to stop for our picnic at one of the many benches. A nice stop to munch away our take-away Fergburger.


Time to continue on; the track now edges on a narrow strip, with the lake on one side and steep slopes of residential houses on the other. Do note that there are not many points along the way that joins the track to the roads above; so plan your ride accordingly.


At other times, we rode slightly further inland, away from the lake onto meandering tracks going through green woods.


Met Ivy, a cycling tourer from Taiwan, on a long six months cycling tour of New Zealand. Her riding compatriots had decided to hop onto a bus to Queenstown and she bravely rode on alone.


The Boat Shed Cafe; this is a building with an interesting history. Set in the restored, historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office, the Boatshed’s building dates back to 1869-78 and was originally used as a store. In 1936 it was bought by Frank G. Duncan, a Dunedin lawyer, and moved from central Queenstown to its current location on the Frankton waterfront. Over the years the building and the associated boat shed fell into disrepair, until 2011 when volunteers of the Wakatipu Community Maritime Preservation Society undertook a restoration project. The society’s efforts were recognized when it won the Heritage and Environment award in the 2012. The building were officially opened by Prime Minister John Key on 1 March 2013. Now it houses the Boat Shed Cafe & Bistro, run by Jane Shaw. It would be nice to have dinner here, but the place closes at 5:00pm.


3:45 - Near the Frankton Motor Camp, the wind had become stronger, blowing through the willow trees here in a haunting melody.


Slightly further ahead, a couple from China were feeding ducks at a lakeside beach. Seeing us watching them, they passed some bread to us. Such is the ambiance here, it makes strangers warm up to each other. Soon, Lynne too were feeding the ducks


At the section fronting Lake Avenue, there is a large grassy patch; some teens were having a picnic there....


 The grassy patched slopes upwards to Lake Avenue, there a man was playing his guitar.


4:00pm - We reach the Kawarau Falls Dam; there were construction work ongoing and we had to go off-road for a moment. A bridge sits on the dam while another path goes below the bridge and lead onward to Lake Hayes, but we will be crossing the bridge to get over to the other side, the Kelvin Peninsula. The dam completed in 1926, was built during the gold rush period with hope of holding back the waters so that gold can be prospected down stream. Unfortunately it lowered the water by only a metre or so – not enough to uncover significant amounts of gold-bearing rock. The lasting benefits of the dam were incidental to its developer’s intentions. In times of high rainfall, the waters of Lake Wakatipu can be held back temporarily, reducing the seriousness of floods downstream in the Clutha. This historic single-lane bridge is now for used by cyclists and pedestrians; main traffic use a new two-lane bridge just downstream which was completed in early mid-2018.

Just before the bridge is a scenic view of The Remarkables; the newly completed Highway 6 is at the back.


Lynne rode comfortably across the ongoing construction area, netting had been placed over the concrete to prevent slipping on the sandy surface. This seems like too wide road just for cycling and walking, perhaps it will also cater for slower local traffic. Oddly, this bridge is not shown on Google Maps; perhaps it will later, when completed.


On the other side, a steep path led down to the lake level. Playing it safe we pushed our bikes down .....


At the bottom of the slope, a view of the dam. This was on the Lake Wakatipu side, as can be seen the level on the other side is not much lower, in fact motorized river traffic are allowed to go through the dam.


We stopped for a while to take a rest and also to take in the scenery. A Thunder jet boat came zooming in, taking a sharp corner with a spray of water. For those interested in this thrilling ride, several companies operate this, click here for the link. Overhead a jet plane roared as as it took off from the nearby Queenstown Airport.


The cycling tracks at the Kelvin Peninsula cross through residential areas, lake side vista, woods and shrub land. The route here is undulating but with steeper slopes; Lynne here struggling up a slope, the hotter afternoon weather did not help 😆.


But the harder ride was worth it as we rode through the unique flora of Lake Wakatipu.


Stopped for some fun photos at one of the many boat piers here.....


..... and to take in the natural life here - a lone duck sitting on a  floating log; is it waiting for it's mate?


... and a beautiful black swan came swimming by to entice us.


Nice white blooms brighten up a slope, Goofy my bike trying to chip in to add to the beauty!


5:00pm - Time to start riding back. We regretted starting late; a kilometre ahead was another park, Franklin Recreational Reserve, and five kilometre further was the Queenstown Golf Club, located right at the neck of the lake, opposite the Queenstown Garden. Well, perhaps next time.
Back at Sherwood Queenstown, it was to their restaurant for dinner. We made our orders and I popped over to their vegetable garden to have a look.... and who should come by but Chef Ben himself. He's plucking some veggies and herbs for our orders, most kind of him to give such personalized service to ensure that our dishes will have the freshest of fresh!


All these went in to make this colourful dish of oysters and green-lipped mussels.....


..... and the marinated beef with potato puree.


We finished off the day with glasses of golden Deception Schwarzbier Beer.

CHEERS!

Tomorrow we head for the Milford Sound ... Yahoooooo!!

Click here for a Relive of our Queenstown Lake Wakatiu Ride
(For more photos of the day Click Here)
This is page 3 of a 9-page blog, Click Here To Go To Title Page.
Go to D3 Queenstown        |       Go to Other Days           |          Go to D4 Milford >

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