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    Day 754 – So much for my renegade camping plans…

    Nelson -> Picton (hostel)
    Distance (km) : 114
    Time on bike : 6h 20m
    Brutto time: 11.00 – 18.00
    Avg : 18.0 km/h
    Max.speed: 69.8
    Total (km) : 30.419

    Today’s 114 km from Nelson to Picton turn out to be a lot easier than expected, though the terrain is quite hilly in some parts. It must have been the rest and all the great food in Nelson (thanks again to Raywin & Co.).

    15 km before Picton – from where the ferry leaves across the Cook Strait for Wellington on the North Island – I suddenly realize that it’s about time to say goodbye to the South Island and hello to what, geographically at least, seems like a totally different country. Culturally, some Mainlanders (people from the South Island, i.e) even claim that the Islanders on the North Island are a totally different breed.

    I’ll leave that one open for now…

    In the afternoon I turn off the State highway #6 that I’ve been following pretty much since I left Invercargill on the southern tip of the island weeks ago. It’s now the Queen Charlotte Sound Road, a very pretty and hilly stretch of bitumen that twists and turns, hugging the coast for the last 35 km towards Picton. Magnificent cycling.

    Hunger pangs hit me when I reach Picton just after sunset. It’s already dark. I cook a simple meal and a jug of coffee on the stove. That’s when the heavy rain started. So much for my wild/renegade camping plans, huh?

    Luckily this country is full of relatively cheap backpacker places – and Picton is no exception. Apart from a family from Malaysia I have the whole house to myself.

    As you’d understand, I really enjoyed that seldom moment of indoor privacy…

    The South Island is a very beautiful place. No doubt about it and I’ve had some fantastic 40 days here, even though at times it has felt like not only my tent but also my mind’s been covered in a thin layer of ice, as if the island hasn’t fully reached the bottom of me. Camping in freezing temperatures isn’t quite as fun as it could’ve been. Stop me if I’m whining. New Zealand is truly amazing. Period.

    (Photos to come…)

    On this day..

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