March 30 - April 1, 2012

Today we rode to the Otago Peninsula.  It is our first venture out to test weight ratios, communications  and basically just overall comfort. 

We pulled out from our flat and old habits are hard to break…right off the bat I hit my communication button and said "Ahh Kev, you're on the wrong side of the road!"…left left left!!!  So this time I could talk to Kev, but he could not talk to me…still more tweaking to do!

The road to the Otago Peninsula Headland was purely amazing, we took it nice and easy as it was a narrow road right against the water.  When we arrived at the conservation area we headed up a heavily graveled steep road….Wow nothing like throwing it to us all at once, hey?  We took a tour of this privately owned sanctuary and what a treat it was.  We had warm, clear, happy weather and the ocean was smooth as glass, it was pure paradise!  The whole experience was pretty surreal. We toured the property in an 8 wheeler which was darned exciting in itself!   The owners have done an amazing job of removing domestic predators from the area.  The owners and staff are otherwise completely hands off with the wildlife and let mother nature do what she does best.  The New Zealand fur seals, sea lions, little blue and yellow eyed penguins live in harmony are their numbers are rapidly rising.  Just down the hill from Natures Wonders is the Royal Albatross Center at Taiaroa Head here the conservation rangers intensively manage and assist in the overall growth of the Northern Royal Albatross population which is a much different approach to the santurary up the hill.  It was not a windy day, and since the albatross need wind for flight (they are gliders, not flappers) we were hoping that we would get lucky!!  Bingo…luck was on our side.  We were able to view a 6 week old chick on the hillside, and then without warning this massive Toroa (Maori for Albatross) glided in off the sea to feed its chick , another amazing sight!  The Toroa's wing span is up to 3 metros (9'6") long, and they can fly at speeds of 120kph (75mph)!  They live all their life mainly at sea, fishing and sleeping on the water and only return to land to nest every 2 years.  The Toroa's population growth is naturally slow and with the help of the Conservation Centre many albatross chicks fledge successfully.  You didn't know that you would be getting a nature lesson today hey??

 So now we have arrived at our Kuri Bush pad just outside of Brighton on the South Island of New Zealand.  By the way it is only about a 40 minute bike ride from our last pad…ha ha ha, don't want to move too far too fast.  Out here there is no WiFi, no telly, no phone, no microwave, just the plain and simple pure innocence and beauty that mother nature has to offer.  We are in awe of this coastline and still can't believe that we are experiencing this…it does not get much better!

After unpacking our heavily loaded bikes…really they are way over packed, (we have to seriously shed some of this stuff) we started to check out what Kuri Bush had to offer.  We found the path down to the beach just outside our front door…woo hoo loving it, walked down onto the beach to check out the water.  It was low tide and in the rock pools I spied massive mussels…I know what we are having for dinner!  We collected a bucket full in about 2 minutes it was unbelievable, took them up to the house washed and steamed them…dinner was served!   Feeling so lucky :)