Why a Three-Week Bike Hire Turned into Ten (Despite An Unfortunate Incident on Day Two)

solo cycling in nzLotus is from Taiwan and she recently hired a bike from us to cycle around the South Island. Her trip didn’t start well…on her first day she rode down the motorway (illegal in New Zealand) and on her second day her bike blew into a lake! But it got better. So much better that she ended up cycling for over ten weeks! Here’s her story:

What were your favourite places and why?
My favourite cycle trail was the Tarnbrae Track (Lake Ohau) The view was so beautiful and the track is nice for the mountain bike.

My favourite road was State Highway 73 (which connects the East and West coasts via the Southern Alps). Although the Otira Gorge is difficult and dangerous, the view was amazing. The road is big and flat. It was safer for bikes. The downhill was nice, but it was a little dangerous because the wind was strong.

The most natural road was the West Coast. When I went to the West Coast by car I just saw many trees. On the bike, I could hear waterfalls and birds. I felt I rode in the forest, not a road.

What kind of weather did you experience?
Sunny, rainy, windy, snowy, hailstorms and an earthquake! The weather in New Zealand is variable. Because of that, I saw lots of different scenery. After rain, I would always see a beautiful rainbow.

Did you feel safe throughout your trip considering you were travelling alone?
New Zealand (especially the South Island) is a safe and nice place. I like to travel with the bike alone, because I ride slowly. I prefer alone – I can talk with myself and face myself and enjoy every moment and meet a lot of new friends.
cycling around new zealand

On my second day, my bike blew into the lake. A nice, older man carried me by car to the Holiday Park. The Duvauchelle Holiday Park manager gave me coins to wash and dry my clothes. I was deeply touched.

When I knew the water was salt, I worried about the bike. I thought I had to tell Natural High the truth and get them to check out the bike. Dan taught me how to change a flat tyre and gave me bicycle oil. And he told me, ”enjoy, have a good trip, and keep away from the wharf.” (Ha ha, he was really sweet.) I felt so warm, because he was like family, like a father.

In a café in Little River I met a French family: Papa, Mum and four children (ages 15,13,11,8). They had a plan to travel around the world by bike for one year. When I met them, they had travelled 6 months already. That day was rainy, windy and cold – a nice Kiwi woman invited us to stay at her house for one night. Then I joined the French family riding from Little River to Christchurch.french family cycling

On day 39 I arrived at Bluff. When I was on the road from the Catlins, I lost my heart and energy. I didn’t want to keep going and I worried about time and money. Then I decided to go to Stewart Island. I stayed three nights on Stewart Island. I didn’t want to talk with people – I just enjoyed the silence and nature and freedom. Then I met a Kiwi, who had ridden his bike from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island. I went to his concert and I liked his voice and his songs. That night I was really glad and happy.

So I travelled alone, but I was not alone on my way.

Lastly, did you enjoy it?
Yes, I really, really, really enjoyed it! During my journey, I discovered:
The most powerful thing is nature
The most beautiful scenery is people.
The things that bring me most happiness are warm showers and sleeping on a bed.
The most important thing to be is happy and safe.

I thank Natural High, because a good bike was very, very important in my journey. It was my best friend in my trip and I think it enjoyed every moment!

Thanks for sharing your story, Lotus. If you fancy doing something similar (minus the bike in the lake!) you can check out bike hire here.

Have a brilliant week,
Andrew Hunt

P.S. Lotus’ route if you’re interested in knowing exactly where she went:
Christchurch-Akaroa-Christchurch-Rakaia-Ashburton-by car to Geraldine-Lake Tekapo-Glentanner-Mount Cook-Lake Ohau-Omarama-Kurow-Duntroon-Oamaru-Katiki-Warrington-Dunedin-Middlemarch-Ranfurly-Omakau-Alexandra-Clyde-Alexandra-Roxburgh-Beaumont-Lawrence-Tuapeka-Balcluthu-Catlins(Nugget Point)-Papatowai-Curio Bay-Slope Point-Invercargill-Bluff-Stewart Island-Bluff-Riverton-Te Anau-Mossburn-Queenstown-Arrowtown-Cardrona-Wanaka-Makarora-Haast-Lake Paringa-Fox Glacier-Franz Josef-Ross-Hokitika-Greymouth-Moana-Jacksons-Arthur’s Pass-Flock Hill-Christchurch.