Today, after 2300km and six weeks on the road, we finally reached our final destination: Bluff!
We would like to thank everyone for their support throughout this adventure. We sure learnt a heck! If it hadn't been for a great support team, we would not have made it this far.
Thank you to our sponsors, Campersoz, PD Bikeworks, Cairns Adventure Equipments, Natural High and Camping World for providing us with great gear. Thanks to The Sir Peter Blake Trust for believing in us and always showing enthusiasm for our crazy ideas. Thank you to Johanness Strassner for capturing our first moments on the road. Thank you to Kelvin, Shelley and Dave Thomas, Lucinda as well as Rick for letting us stay a few precious nights indoor. Kevin, for your great coaching! Thank you to Tilmann and everyone who gave us great advice before we hit the roads. And finally thank you to everyone who made this journey a tiny bit easier, family, friends and everyone else, you know who you are.
So what's next? We will both continue our studies, giving our best as always and keeping our sense of adventure deep within ourselves! The memorie
Tomorrow we will reach Bluff after 42 days on the road! We are now in Lumsden and reflecting on what we have learnt through this adventure. Here is an individual recount:
"I learned that the key to sucess in an expedition is team-work. A good team spirit is what will get you to the finish line. We were really fortunate to get on that well, our characters were matching perfectly. That's why we always knew that together we could do this. Giving up wasn't even an option. When one had a bad day, the other one was there to help. I realised that in life, you can go so much further than you could ever imagine if you manage to work as a team."
" Riding the length of New Zealand taught me so much about the country, people, environment and myself. The expereince also particularly opened my eyes and gave me a new perespective on achieving goals. Through this adventure, I was shown that any dream can be reduced to small steps that become realisable. I was amazed by how far we can go with ambition, discipline, and enthusiasm. The North2South expedition armed me with important tools I will be able to use throughout my life such as team-work, creativeness and many more."
After riding in the rain for a few days we finally made it to Queenstown! For the whole trip, we always saw Queenstown as a milestone, the town of "adventurers". It was a great feeling to ride into town, knowing we already had cycled more than 2000 kilometers.
It's hard for us to believe we've been on the road for 38 days. It seems like we have slightly lost the notion of time. Our "homely" daily routines have been shaken and replaced by a nomadic lifestyle. We feel a bit embarassed to ask which day it is to cashiers sometimes; to us the days go by numbers... today is day 38.
We realise we have already learned so much about New Zealand, its environment, people and culture in such a short time, yet so much feels unexplored. By being outside for more than a month, we have also discovered more about ourselves, our personal ambitions and challenges.
We see this last leg of the trip as the final sprint. With only 10 days left, we hope to keep transforming our days into impactful memories. Check out Facebook for more photo updates and for those who want to pitch in with a few f: http://www.fundraiseonline.co.nz/North2South/
Every town we ride into, our bikes get quite a lot of attention. We've found that the same questions usually arise. Here's a short list of the most frequently asked:
1) "Isn't New Zealand super hard to ride in?"
- No, we usually walk the tough hills which makes the whole trip very do-able.
2) "How many kilometers do you ride a day?"
- Anywhere from 50 to 110km a day.
3) "How long does that take you?"
- In hilly terrain, 10km can take us an hour but on flat roads we can double the kilometers.
4) "What do you eat on the road?"
- There's supermarkets throughout New Zealand so it is fairly easy to stock up. Breakfast usually consists of an apple and packet of biscuits. Lunch is carrots, tuna and chickpeas. Dinner is always pasta and tomato sauce. The whole lot topped up with lots of lollies and water.
5) "How much does everything weigh?"
- When fully stocked up, we are both riding with approximately 40kg each (yes, we struggle on some hills!)
6) "Why the hell are you doing this?"
- For the adventure, experience, travel and to fundraise for the Sir Peter Blake Trust and Save Our Seaturtles. But also for the heck of it, it's actually a lot of fun and we hope to inspire people to undertake their own trips.
Still got questions? Ask ahead, we'd be happy to answer them!
Rain, rain and more rain. That's what the weather forecast has been saying in each visitor center on the West Coast. So where do we camp? We thought we'd explain.
Every night the same question arises, where is a good, dry and warm place to spend the night. On a limited budget hostels and campsites can quickly blow the daily expenses. That's where our imagination comes handy. For the last month we have only wild camped, no exeptions in towns. Schools, abandoned buildings, sheds and carparks make the perfect accomodation for young travellers like us. No need to shower when there is a lake and hot water can wait. Laundry can be done in the river, so all we need is somewhere safe to spend the night.
Sometimes it can be tough, not knowing where we will sleep, especially when thunderstorms hit. But with a bit of faith, we know we are always looked after. Tonight we are in Wanaka, the same mission goes... another spot to find. Once again, our gut feeling will help us find a perfect "homely" spot to rest up for tomorrow's hills.
We would like to wish everyone a happy New Year, we hope you have had a great 2012 and that your resolutions are hunting for the stars! In 2013, we would like to reach Bluff.. and lots more! ;)
This morning, we woke up drenched from the rain. We decided to leave as soon as possible to avoid our sleeping bags from getting wet as well. We rode all day under the rain, with a flat tyre. In the South Island, if we don't ride fast enough, the sand-flies get us... toughest conditions so far.
It is challenging days like these that make us appreciate the sunny ones. It is through these "bad" days that we really see how we react out of our comfort zone. We have to make an extra effort to stay positive but it is a good experience.
Even though the conditions aren't the best at the moment, we are making the most of what we have and keeping a sense of humour about it. Anyway, we're off to find a spot to camp for the night. More news will follow in two days when we reach Wanaka for New Year's eve.
We have entered New Zealand's glacier region! Surprisingly, the hills aren't that bad. We've also had the chance to meet some incredible people on the way.
So you thought we were mad? Just yesterday, we met Henrik who is cycling around the world. He has been on the road for more than a year. Even though he doesn't look like your typical cyclist with his checkered shirt, the miles he has accumulated is amazing! Listening to him, he really showed us through his stories that nothing is impossible.
People like that on the road really inspire us to give our best and follow our dreams. Today we met another cyclist whom we rode with all day. Julien, from Quebec is a 22 year old cyclist and we are enjoying having some company after being on the road for a month. It's great to see how others are handling their journeys through New Zealand, we realise that we're not doing bad ourselves!
As teenagers, it's great to meet people who expand our outlook on the world. People who show us that when you put your mind to something, anything is realisable. Can't wait to see what other surprises the road holds!
"You bloody nutters!" was all Steven told us when we told him we were cycling the length of New Zealand. "Here, have some Christmas dinner kids" he added. The hospitality in New Zealand has been overwhelming, especially at Christmas time.
We spent Christmas eating and treated ourselves to a nice shower in the Greymouth town's fountain. It is our first Christmas away from home, so to have people like Steven on the road is comforting. We are very grateful for everyone who helped us get this far. Whether it is someone letting us stay the night, telling us directions or giving us some cake, every person becomes part of the journey. We feel lucky to be out here, doing what we love but it couldn't have been without a great support team.
We will be heading to Franz Glacier for the next four days, therefore we're not sure when we will get an internet connection next. We hope everyone had a merry Christmas and enjoy the rest of the festivities. We sure will!
The last four days have been the most challenging so far! The mountains really have started testing us physically and emotionally. We've been rolling up and down roads that never seem to end, contourning rivers and villages. It's been a beautiful couple of days which has shown us the importance of teamwork.
Both of us are known in our social circles for having strong personalities, not use to compromising very often (basically the usual teenage "our way or the highway") Out here, we need to adjust to the conditions. Last night we came up with different reasons we think our team is working so well:
- We have a common goal to ride the length of New Zealand. We know that without each other, our chances are slimmer to make the bottom of the island.
- We have very similar interests, therefore, it makes it so much easier to make decisions in terms of camping, itinerary and food.
- We have come to understand that we both need our personal space from time to time. We know to back off when one needs time to their own.
With this in mind, we are confident the trip will continue amazingly! By striving to have an enthusiastic, kind and cheerful attitude 100% of the time, Bluff becomes within reach.
As we turned the corner of a gentle curve, there it was: our first South Island hill! Welcome to day 23 guys, the South Island is here, the scenery screamed!
We have heard so much about this beautiful part of the world; but nothing quite prepared us for the majestic coast that awaited us this beautiful morning. Arriving in Picton, we were in awe! This was the gateway to the South Island.
Today we are stocking up on food (lots and lots of pasta) and water before heading to St Arnaud. Both of us are feeling fit and healthy, ready to tackle the hills and challeneges of the west coast. Our beaming smiles show the team is still going strong!