Queenstown. I’m not going anywhere for a few days…

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It wouldn't be a blog about NZ without a picture of some sheep would it now.

It wouldn’t be a blog about NZ without a picture of some sheep would it now.

A road sign in the Gibson valley with lots of wineries

A road sign in the Gibson valley with lots of wineries

Queenstown sunset @ Hippo Lodge backpackers

Queenstown sunset @ Hippo Lodge backpackers

The first settler in Queenstown.  This guy's granddaughter gave me some anzac cookies (See picture below)

The first settler in Queenstown. This guy’s granddaughter gave me some anzac cookies (See picture below)

My tent, next to a another the same.  Tight spot, but it does the job, and the hostel has an amazing view.

My tent, next to a another the same. Tight spot, but it does the job, and the hostel has an amazing view.

So it appears environmentalists haven't reached Queenstown yet ...(it spews out smoke like this every day)

So it appears environmentalists haven’t reached Queenstown yet …(it spews out smoke like this every day)

Lunch overlooking a reservoir above Clyde.  The cookies you can see were donated to me by the granddaughter of Queenstown's first settler (see other pic)

Lunch overlooking a reservoir above Clyde. The cookies you can see were donated to me by the granddaughter of Queenstown’s first settler (see other pic)

I’m now in Queenstown trying to resist adding another bike to the family of them I have sitting at home. More on that later though. I made it along the road from Clyde – the end of the Otago Rail Trail, and got a bit of a shock with the bad traffic, having seen none at all for the previous few days. One guy who cut me up on the road, then tooted his horn (an aggressive toot, not the friendly Thai/Laos toot, or the harder to recognise friendly Kiwi double toot), and given I was already angry at him cutting me up, I shook my fist in the air. He must have seen me as he put his brakes on to consider stopping and do, well I have no idea what to me. Thankfully he continued on without stopping. Yesterday, in the Kiwi press, there was piece about a very similar incident where the driver did stop, and proceeded to push the cyclist off his bike (he was seriously injured). Time refrain from fist shaking and limit it to swearing profusely – I doubt many drivers can lip-read through their rear view mirrors….

Yesterday I checked out the score with hiring/buying a mountain bike here. Queenstown has some of the best mountain biking on the planet, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity while I’m here. I tried out another 29er bike – the shop is very clever in what they do – they give you a bike for free, take you into the hills with a bunch of folk, even giving you a free uplift and send you down an outrageously fun track with a view to buying the bike. I couldn’t help but ask ‘So, how many bikes have you managed to sell by taking folk down this track then?’ to which the answer was ‘Oh, a few’. Once back in town I put my sensible head on said I’d have a think about it. It’s hard enough getting around NZ with one bike and all my clobber, let alone two. I’m thinking I’ll just hire instead – I went round the shops comparing the deals they would do on long term hiring rates (I do have the Scottish ‘deep pockets, short arms’ stereotype to uphold after all). I got a blinder of a deal from one of the shops where the guy in charge was there for the love of the sport, not to make money. I went out on one of the many tracks here, and caught up with 3 Americans who were also hiring for the day, one of whom was 61 years old, has had 2 knee replacements (are knees replaceable?), as well as a hip replacement. It wasn’t a simple jolly either, it was a 4 hour marathon with some serious hills.

I’ve just booked tickets to see the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra a week from now, which may or may not be as grand as it sounds. It does boast ‘the world’s best ukulele soloist’, James Hill though. Is there a world ukulele championship every year? If so, it sounds awesome!!.

This morning I managed to sleep in until 9.30am, which was a great change – I’m normally up at the crack of dawn with somewhere else to cycle. I think my body needs the rest to be honest. Though ’m still cycling almost daily, this is the longest I’ve stayed in the same place since I left home in November which is fantastic and allows me to slow down somewhat.

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