Wanaka to Queenstown, and the 3500-foot Crown Range.

Were we pleased with the ride down from the Crown Range? Or is the Pope a Catholic? A stonking ride up, and an exhilarating ride down, with a LOT of braking, as the bends needed a lot of respect. I’d told Jutta it was just 3000 feet. Turned out to be 3500 feet, and a hard, hard push to get to the top. So worth it. — with Jutta Brayne, Katie Brayne and Carmela Snooks at Crown Range Pass.

So, Daisy’s first full day seriously cycling with the girls was just amazing – 90 km over the Crown Range from Wanaka to Queenstown (a cool 3500 foot pass, scaled with elegance and ease, and a bit of pushing) and some of the most amazing views of the trip so far.

Lovely to be pedalling with Katie Brayne and Carmela Snooks for the first time properly since they set off from Cape Reinga 27 days ago and we did two weeks before that.

As ever – have I said this before? – the pictures below (keep scrolling) tell the story, but I might add that Jutta and I have not only reached some 2600 km on our almost-3000km Tour Aotearoa, we’ve hit our fundraising target for the Rory Peck Trust of 3000 smackers.

Slight accounting trick (George Osborne would be proud) in that we’ve redefined your wonderful contributions from GPB to NZD, and £1600+ neatly makes NZD 3000+! Awesome!!!!

Only three days, and if Daisy can push it a bit harder along the gravel paths beyond Walter Peak Station a short ferry ride across Lake Wakatipu in the morning, two days to go now to Bluff at the very bottom of the South Island, and the #TandemTA will be done.

Daisy did try hard to be a mountain bike today, along some of the most challenging trails we’ve encountered so far. But with all our heavy baggage, and the need to go SLOW round gravelly bends, we probably held the girls back by about two hours over a seven-a-bit hours in the saddle today.

Perhaps it’s just right that we met up as late as Wanaka for the final push, but everyone’s happy. And especially Daisy with her newly SMOOOOOTH gear changing and a nice new rubber gear change grip that won’t slip in the wet.

Or the wit, as they so charmingly say down here, though despite weather forecasts predicting quite a lot of it, we had none today, but rather absolutely perfect autumnal cycling temperatures, sun and beautiful Southern Hemisphere clouds.

Jutta is brewing a blog post in the next few days, to take stock of the most amazing journey we’ve ever undertaken after 40 pretty good, and at times turbulent, years together. (She’ll tell me I’m being over-superlative again, as usual, but that’s me…)

So, watch this space.

The road up to the Crown Range pass, at 3500 feet. Less intimidating than we had feared, though about 500 feet more than we had expected. Our highest pass to date on the Tour Aotearoa, and our last.
Now there’s a story to this picture. When multi-named Kat, Kati, Katie, Katharine first came to NZ early in 2009, she wanted to let her parents (then separated) know that she was OK. So, she rang both Mark and Jutta separately, reverse charges. From this very telephone box in Arrowtown. We both accepted the calls, not knowing how much they would cost. Mum spoke longer than Dad, so her BT bill came to nearly £500. Dad’s to over £300. Blimey. Nothing to be done, we sucked it up. And our darling daughter was happy! That’s all that counts. — with Jutta Brayne and Katie Brayne at Arrowtown. South Island New Zealand.
Dreadfully overused word, but the Cardrona hotel really is iconic. With four iconic #TandemTA and Tour Aotearoa 2016 riders in front.
Atop the Crown Range Pass, between Wanaka and Queenstown. All 3500 feet of it.
Daisy and the girls’ two Tour Aotearoa 2016 brevet bikes, with attendant riders, and a fabulous view down over Queenstown from Tobins Track. — with Katie Brayne, Jutta Brayne and Carmela Snooks at Tobin’s Track,Arrowtown.
Bras on the fence at Cardrona/Bradrona, between Wanaka and Queenstown. #OnlyInNewZealand
Jutta checking her bra fittings at Bradrona, the longest bra-adorned fence surely on the planet. — with Jutta Brayne at Cardrona Hotel, NZ.
Welcome to Bradrona. Only in New Zealand. Multiple bras – hundreds of them – pinned to a fence near the Cardrona Hotel, on the road to the Crown Range Pass.
Mela levitating to take a photo of spouse and parentals-in-law on the ride into Queenstown. — with Jutta Brayne, Katie Brayne and Carmela Snooks at Tobin’s Track,Arrowtown.
Tour Aotearoa 2016 riders Bozho, Rachel and Angela overtaking us along the trail into Queenstown. — with Jutta Brayne, Carmela Snooks and Katie Brayne in Queenstown, New Zealand.
Jet boat on the Shotover River just before reaching Queenstown, and a very hilly, enjoyable up-and-down cycle path in from the Crown Range. — at Shotover River.
The Remarkables, Mountain Range, as we pedalled into Queenstown along the Frankton Arm tonight.
Daisy and the girls’ two brevet trusty steeds in our hotel room in Queenstown tonight.

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