Day 10 - Wanaka to Queenstown via The Crown Range Road
Today is our final day of cycling in New Zealand. A relatively short trip in comparison to our Indonesian adventure. I feel like we are only just getting into the spirit and adventure of what these trips mean to us. We woke really early today as we had spoken with some Wanaka locals who advised us on the road ahead. Dylan had heard of the Crown Range Road in our prep. At 1076 meters above sea level, it is the highest paved road in new Zealand.
It is a mountainous road that bypasses the usual 117km route via Cromwell. We would cycle a shorter distance but were subject to road closures due to unfavorable weather. With darkness still around when I checked to see that the bikes were still locked to the bike rack we were unsure of what the weather may bring. My routine was perfected with bags packed, layers on and breakfast warming its way through my body as it prepared for some intense riding. The sky grew lighter and lighter as the sun rose and it was evident that the day ahead would be stunning.
The first small incline out of the lakeside town saw warm air pouring out every time I exhaled, a clear sign of how cold it was. We saw a fairly moderate flow of traffic as mountain-goers made their way to the slopes in search of the last bit of powder before the season finished. After we passed the small town of Cardrona we made the slow and steady rise towards the summit of the Crown Range Road. Once we reached the top we were welcomed with a view like no other so far on this trip. You could see down into the valley and in the distance, Queenstown. There was a sense of accomplishment that we had set out to achieve an adventure and we succeeded. It was part of the reason as to why we do these trips. Its an addictive feeling and something you can't quite explain in words.
We had lunch at the monument placed on the highest paved road in New Zealand and made a phone call home to my wife. It was a feeling like no other and something I wish I could of shared with her. We clipped in and took the mammoth ride down the mountain.
After a brief ride through the outer towns of Queenstown, we took the dedicated bike path along Lake Wakatipu and made our final push towards the banks of Queenstown. The cold, crisp air seemed to be a fitting end to our journey through the South Island. We celebrated that evening with our customary beers and Mexican food. The following day Dylan hit the slopes for some snowboarding and I jumped off a mountain with a parachute attached to my back. It was a time to reflect on our trip together in our own way and think about the future and where we would be cycling next.
Rian climbing the range road, about 3km from the summit.
Climbing from 250meters to 1000meters at the top of the crown range road.
Rian at the summit apprieciating the hard earned view.
Here is a video filmed on this day riding the crown range.