How we got this so wrong I just don’t know. Somehow we were all convinced that our next day would be an easy 24km ride. Piece of cake!!! Who read these directions anyway? How could the long day be the one right after the impossible day? There must be a mistake? How can we face a 60km+ ride after what we have just done? We’re too old for this.. .. We did go on!!!
Our accommodation at Omarama was in little one bedroom units. It was more than satisfactory. We ended up having a meal in the garden at the pub. It was much better than we thought it would be as the smell of old cooking oil wafted heavily around the vacinity. A few of us opted for the seafood chowder which was surprisingly good.
Early the next morning we set off on the first leg of our epic ride which would take us to Otematata for a coffee stop. This section headed east down the Waitaki Valley on a dedicated trail and from there alongside the highway and the picturesque Benmore dam.
Then there was the road climb up the Otematata Saddle – a mere five kilometers up a 150m elevation and another five down. It was strenuous even on an ebike. The descent was a hoot and while consistently squeezing the breaks, managed over 50km/h. I really did not want to come off here.
We caught up at Otematata with another group of cyclists from Brisbane whose path we kept crossing. There were quite a few Australians doing the A2O as well as other riders from all over.
The climb to the dam wall was challenging but the vista from the top was worth it. Next we followed the Te Akatarawa Road alongside Lake Aviemore for a further 22km eventually finding a beautiful spot in a caravan park beside the lake. Very interesting that so many caravans and even tents are just locked up and abandoned until the owners next holiday. Apparently $300 per year will buy you the right to leave your caravan and return as you please. There are very basic amenities and I didn’t see any powered sites but there may have been.
After a while 20km began to feel like a short distance. We arrived Kurow and found Lyn, our host, at one of the two beautiful cottages where we would stay. She had organised a meal for us at a local Cafe and breakfast as well. It was incredibly welcoming after such a long day.