It felt good to be back on the bicycles as we pedal away from Ranfurly. The morning gives us big rolling grey clouds and the air is chilly on our skin. We adorn our warm clothing before disappearing from civilization into the quiet isolation of the Otago Rail Trail.
The gravel trail lead us through vast areas of grassy fields littered with hundreds of cotton wool balls of sheep. Their curiosity has them staring and bleating like crazy. We have arrived as entertainment for the masses. We are like celebrities, but only for a few seconds in passing.
A small gorge climb is conquered with ease – our legs have become accustomed to the inclines allowing us to enjoy the spine tingling views with gusto. We pedal onwards and back into civilisation for a brief moment.
The tiny town of Waipiata, once a busy railway construction camp also known for where the giant Moa bird once roamed – it is now a tranquil place to relax and play as it sits next to the popular Taieri river, a river the trail continues to follow.
A few kilometres out of Waipiata we pedal over the impressive iron work of the ‘Green Bridge’ which was constructed in 1896 and still standing proud.
We cycle through places bearing the names of Kokonga, Tiroiti and Daisybank. The Taieri river snakes its way through the land. Gliding over hay bale pastures before cutting deep into the earth creating deep pockets and mighty crevasses.
Like a soap opera the scenery becomes more dramatic with each curve in the trail. My senses are mesmerised and I find myself often stopping to indulge in the beauty around me.
Our ears, noses and hands begin to get numb from the ice-biting breeze when, like a shining apparition, we pedal upon a lone coffee cart shining under the grey clouds. The stop is a welcome treat. The jolly owner enjoys our arrival as we throughly enjoy drinking his warm delicious liquid gold.
Back in our saddles our legs spin quickly to stay warm. Prices Creek tunnel and the town of Hyde are not too far, but it isn’t long before our cycling effort is slowed.
We spot apples trees on the trails edge full of bulging baggage. We stop and munch greedily while the heights of another lush gorge waits for our arrival to treat us to its impressive wares. Decorative tree patterns, steep cliff plunges and the spooky Prices Creek tunnel – What more could you want?
The Rocks Station, an old Merino Station is definitely a wonderful surprise. It is an old homestead just for the three of us! We spend the late afternoon exploring the house, its river, derelict sheds and the remains of the historic moss-covered stone sheep yards before heading out for a fun-filled evening at the local pub.
We return to the homestead to find that our hosts have the wood fire roaring ready for our arrival home! Our chilly day certainly ended a roasty toasty one! One day to left to go…