Edited by Robert Edmonds The full edition with pictures can be viewed by clicking on the link above.
New Zealand 2012 by Rob Edmonds
Club members, Anthony Lynch, Helen and Robert Edmonds were part of a large contingent of Aussie mountain bike orienteers who took on the challenge against the Kiwis in the Central Otago region of the New Zealand’s south island. The tour began in Christchurch and then moved down to Wanaka. Helen and I last visited NZ in 1975, and we were really looking forward to this adventure.
The team gathered in quake torn Christchurch with the unpacking and reassembling of bikes. We took part in two practice events at nearby McLean’s Island and Bottle Lake over the first two days. McLeans Island is a unique natural recreational area of flat land bordering the Waimakariri River and owned by Environment Canterbury. The area is a mix of over 15kms of purpose-built single tracks that wind through pine and exotic forest, stop-banks and 4WD shingle tracks, with some open land where forests have been cleared and some pasture. Bottle Lake is an area of flat plantation forest with intricate MTB track network on the northern coastal outskirts of Christchurch.
Most members, about 30 of the touring party, travelled in 3 mini buses with bikes atop the luggage trailers. Another dozen members travelled independently. We had time to explore Christchurch on the second day when Helen and I rode into the CBD from the North-South Tourist Park. The gardens were beautiful but the city centre was closed down while restoration work continues. Church spires nestle on footpaths and cranes adorn city streets. Most parts of Christchurch remain untouched, with areas on sand belts and marshlands most affected. The locals are suffering the ongoing trauma of coping with the disaster and the constant threat of further shocks. There were a number of shakes on the days before we arrived. Over 5000 homes will be levelled and many others are putting up with burst water and gas mains, and ripples and upwelling on roads from the after shocks.
Wanaka became our base for the next 4 events. We travelled across the Canterbury Plains for morning tea at Geraldine. They fish from quad bikes there. Then lunch at beautiful Lake Tekapo. Past Lake Putaki with views of Mt Cook and then onto the Backpackers Base at Wanaka. Andrew Campbell, Blake Gordon and Tim Hackney shared the driving while Peta Whitford, Kathy Liley, Helen Edmonds, Graham Wallis, Carolyn Matthews and Malcolm Roberts kept the conversation flowing. Yes, we were the older crew, first to get away and get back due to the stringent timelines set by Kathy and Peta.
The Sprint event was held at Roxburgh. This delightful little area is an alluvial terrace adjacent to the Clutha River which has been extensively mined for gold by sluicing. Some of the original land surface remains as flat-topped hills with steep scarps like American mesas; the remainder has been shifted and sifted, though the contours are mostly fairly smooth. There are one or two areas of intense contour detail. There are a few 4WD tracks, but local mountain bikers and a gold-panning tourism operator have created a network of single-track; but as it is little known many tracks are hard to see.