Saturday, March 15, 2014

Day 16 - Rakaia Gorge -> Amberly -> Kaikoura -> Blenheim

415 km - 5 hrs: 9 min travel time.

Another long day. With cyclone Lusi sweeping south and promising to unleash havoc, we need to get as far north as possible. Although our ferry is Tuesday afternoon, we want to have time to ride around some of the Marlborough coastline.
Forecast is predicting heavy rain and gale force winds starting Saturday night through Sunday. 

So up early on a misty morning. Packed and on the road in record time.
A circuitous route skirting Christchurch takes us through classic Canterbury Plains farmland. Small hamlets with names like Oxford and Ashley - very English. Mist gives way to broken low cloud with brief splashes of sunlight.

Refuel at Amberly and the weather turns greyer and cooler.

The inland route to Kaikoura provides an interesting challenge. A combination of narrow twisting roads crossing numerous rivers and streams and liberally sprinkled with fresh road repairs - (what the New Zealand road maintenance people laughingly refer to as 'New Seal' - a spray of tar covered with lots of loose gravel.)

Lunch (seafood chowder) in Kaikoura and then a last dash up the coast to Blenheim under lowering skies and freshening winds.

No camping tonight. We are safely ensconced in a motel where we will wait out the aftermath of 'Lusi'.

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