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Old 01-09-18, 12:51 AM   #1
pinholecam
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New Zealand -Alps to Ocean in Apr -need tips and advice

Hi All,

I am doing New Zealand -Alps to Ocean this (early) Apr.

The current plan is to land in Christchurch, stay a day and then take the AtomicTravel coach up to Tekapo where I'd start the Alps to Ocean trail the following day.

I am planning for a 5 day travel instead of the 4/6 day itinerary this is usually recommended.

Here are a fw questions for those who have done this route or live in NZ.

The bike is a Tyrell IVE 18" foldable with 1.5" or 1.65" tires (the latter in on order) since these will be the widest I can put on the bike.
How loose are the shingle/gravel trails for this route?


I'd need to camp a few days.
1. Is free camping allowed? (the plan is for photography IF I find a nice spot to do sunrise/sunset/astro photography)
2. I plan to use an alcohol stove; Will it be easy to get fuel? and is it even allowed in campsites?
3. How hard is the route? (I am able to do 200km brevets on this bike, but I am unsure how the terrain and my bike choice will affect the difficulty)
4. Does handphone data work in those areas? (I am using pre-load maps via ORUX and ViewRanger Apps; but having data would be a big plus)

Any other tips is much appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old 01-09-18, 03:58 AM   #2
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New Zealand -Alps to Ocean in Apr -need tips and advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Hi All,

I am doing New Zealand -Alps to Ocean this (early) Apr.

The current plan is to land in Christchurch, stay a day and then take the AtomicTravel coach up to Tekapo where I'd start the Alps to Ocean trail the following day.

I am planning for a 5 day travel instead of the 4/6 day itinerary this is usually recommended.

Here are a fw questions for those who have done this route or live in NZ.

The bike is a Tyrell IVE 18" foldable with 1.5" or 1.65" tires (the latter in on order) since these will be the widest I can put on the bike.
How loose are the shingle/gravel trails for this route?


I'd need to camp a few days.
1. Is free camping allowed? (the plan is for photography IF I find a nice spot to do sunrise/sunset/astro photography)
2. I plan to use an alcohol stove; Will it be easy to get fuel? and is it even allowed in campsites?
3. How hard is the route? (I am able to do 200km brevets on this bike, but I am unsure how the terrain and my bike choice will affect the difficulty)
4. Does handphone data work in those areas? (I am using pre-load maps via ORUX and ViewRanger Apps; but having data would be a big plus)

Any other tips is much appreciated.
Thanks.

Pinholecam,

Good luck with your trip. I haven't done this ride myself, but can help with a few answers:

#1: Free camping is becoming more difficult due to the need for proper toilet facilities. I use the CamperMate app to help plan my trips.
#2: I use an alcohol stove. Fuel is readily available, and can be purchased from any camping store or The Warehouse big box store in Christchurch. Often petrol (gas) stations and supermarkets will have methylated spirits (methanol) available off the shelf.
#3: I can't comment, as I haven't ridden the track.
#4: Coverage should generally be good. I can't post URLs. Check the Spark and Vodafone website for coverage details. See this thread for more details: 1120493-phone-sim-card-new-zealand-question.

JT
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Old 01-09-18, 04:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jvt View Post
Pinholecam,

Good luck with your trip. I haven't done this ride myself, but can help with a few answers:

#1: Free camping is becoming more difficult due to the need for proper toilet facilities. I use the CamperMate app to help plan my trips.
#2: I use an alcohol stove. Fuel is readily available, and can be purchased from any camping store or The Warehouse big box store in Christchurch. Often petrol (gas) stations and supermarkets will have methylated spirits (methanol) available off the shelf.
#3: I can't comment, as I haven't ridden the track.
#4: Coverage should generally be good. I can't post URLs. Check the Spark and Vodafone website for coverage details. See this thread for more details: 1120493-phone-sim-card-new-zealand-question.

JT

Thanks for the information.
Ok, got CamperMate installed.



Keep the info coming.... TIA
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Old 01-10-18, 08:26 AM   #4
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Camper mate is great, but it doesn't have ALL sites.
I just did 1 month in a camper van.

I'm a Kiwi, and i can say that if you are considerate and discrete you can camp almost anywhere in a tent.

We parked the BIG camper van in some side streets of small towns no problem.

In 1987 i cycle toured the South Island and set my tent up all over the place, but i was discrete.

Since the Rugby world cup in 2011 NZ had some bad mannered tourists in Campervans who pissed off a lot of Kiwi's.
Thats one of the reasons the laws changed.
But as i said, almost all Kiwi's are incredibly helpful and will help you set up somewhere, probably in their back yard!!.
Enjoy.
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Old 01-11-18, 08:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
Camper mate is great, but it doesn't have ALL sites.
I just did 1 month in a camper van.

I'm a Kiwi, and i can say that if you are considerate and discrete you can camp almost anywhere in a tent.

We parked the BIG camper van in some side streets of small towns no problem.

In 1987 i cycle toured the South Island and set my tent up all over the place, but i was discrete.

Since the Rugby world cup in 2011 NZ had some bad mannered tourists in Campervans who pissed off a lot of Kiwi's.
Thats one of the reasons the laws changed.
But as i said, almost all Kiwi's are incredibly helpful and will help you set up somewhere, probably in their back yard!!.
Enjoy.

Sorry to hear about the bad mannered tourists.
I think generally the world is a more complicated place indeed since 87"


I will try not to wild camp if possible since I'd need to wash up, toilet, etc.

Is water available in the camping sites?

What about electricity availability (in the sites) as I might need to charge my phone/camera batteries?

Coming from tropical Singapore, I have Zero resistance to cold, so any tips on what to wear will be helpful.

Will there be a fly bug problem in April? (eg. black flies, flies, mosquitoes, etc)
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Old 01-12-18, 05:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Sorry to hear about the bad mannered tourists.
I think generally the world is a more complicated place indeed since 87"


I will try not to wild camp if possible since I'd need to wash up, toilet, etc.

Is water available in the camping sites?

What about electricity availability (in the sites) as I might need to charge my phone/camera batteries?

Coming from tropical Singapore, I have Zero resistance to cold, so any tips on what to wear will be helpful.

Will there be a fly bug problem in April? (eg. black flies, flies, mosquitoes, etc)
Hi,
just been to wonderful Singapore. We went to Palau Ubin and hired some bicycles. Saw Monkeys, wild pigs, Hornbills, fabulous.

All the biggish camping grounds have kitchens with power, hot water, ovens.
Showers with hot water, sometimes wifi, and if you strike it extra lucky, hot tubs out doors.

I ride all winter here in the UK.
I highly recommend clothing made from Bamboo material.
Wear a couple of layers next to the skin, and buy some Bamboo leggings.
Feels way better than synthetic materials, and is so comfortable.
The only thing with Bamboo is that you can't dry it in a machine dryer. It has to be hung out or on top of a radiator.

NZ doesn't have Mosquitoes, BUT it has SANDFLIES!! All year long. But they really only get you at night. And they are mainly near big rivers and lakes.
Make sure your tent has fly screens.
Before you leave Singapore, buy Tiger Balm roll on. This will take care of the little monsters.
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Old 01-12-18, 02:14 PM   #7
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In April in the south island it is definitely starting to cool down markedly, although it is generally a reasonably settled time of year weather wise, the likelihood of bad weather is lower. I would take a couple of layers of warmth, perhaps thermals and an overlayer, possibly a thicker down jacket, some gloves and decent woollen socks. It may not get really cold, but there's no harm in being prepared, especially if you're from an equatorial region.
I'm unfamiliar with the campsites on the track, but in general most NZ towns have a camp ground, which will almost always have showers, a kitchen with electrical outlets, and a laundry with washing and drying machines.
For other camping info there are numerous android apps. Rankers Camping NZ app claims to have been checked and approved by all NZ local government organisations, so you shouldn't get in trouble if you camp in the spots they show. Another good one I have used is WikiCamps NZ, although sometimes the places they show are only for motorhomes.
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Old 01-12-18, 06:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablatom View Post

NZ doesn't have Mosquitoes, BUT it has SANDFLIES!! All year long. But they really only get you at night. And they are mainly near big rivers and lakes.
It has both and you need to keep an eye out for the mozzies at night in your tent. You need a repellent.

Freedom camping is becoming frowned upon. You should avoid it. There are plenty of camps along the way. There are some basic ones without power but with toilet and water eg at Lake Pukaki, Ohau, Lake Aviemore. There are also camps with power at the towns such as Tekapo, Twizel, Omarama, Kurow. You don't need to freedom camp if you don't need to.

I have cycled a lot of the trail with 1.5" road tyres. The gravel is mostly well packed and the trails along the canals have a well worn track to avoid the loose gravel. The trail is easy with few climbs. The main climb is from Ohau which is also the most scenic from comments I have read. I did not cycle this section but bypassed it by taking the road from Twizel to Omarama. There is also a climb up the Otematata Saddle which is not too long. And you have the short sharp one up the Benmore Dam.

It can get cold at any time of the year so take warm clothing and good rainwear. You are cycling in autumn so the weather may get cold.

Cell phone reception may be patchy or non-existent away from the towns but overall you should get some coverage.

Some parts of our journal for the trail...
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=493413&v=1K

Last edited by Steve0000; 01-12-18 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 01-12-18, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
Hi,
just been to wonderful Singapore. We went to Palau Ubin and hired some bicycles. Saw Monkeys, wild pigs, Hornbills, fabulous.

All the biggish camping grounds have kitchens with power, hot water, ovens.
Showers with hot water, sometimes wifi, and if you strike it extra lucky, hot tubs out doors.

I ride all winter here in the UK.
I highly recommend clothing made from Bamboo material.
Wear a couple of layers next to the skin, and buy some Bamboo leggings.
Feels way better than synthetic materials, and is so comfortable.
The only thing with Bamboo is that you can't dry it in a machine dryer. It has to be hung out or on top of a radiator.

NZ doesn't have Mosquitoes, BUT it has SANDFLIES!! All year long. But they really only get you at night. And they are mainly near big rivers and lakes.
Make sure your tent has fly screens.
Before you leave Singapore, buy Tiger Balm roll on. This will take care of the little monsters.
I respectfully disagree.
Lots of areas of NZ have mosquitos.
Sandflies are generally only about before dark and thats about when the mossies come out to play and carry off small children.
South Island West Coast has mossies often mistaken for seagulls........ well sparrows at least.
A good repellant will deter them for the most part.
I know what Tiger balm is but have never heard of its use for deterring NZ's little vampires.
I'll give it a twirl next time I'm over there, but will take some deet in case the NZ varieties haven't heard of the Tiger Balm either.

Recommend a very good rain jacket to be taken with you OP as well as a warm sleeping bag.
Cold weather can strike much of the South Island at any time so layering is important.

NZ's weather can be wild at any time of year so again, think hard about your rainwear, quality tent able to withstand rain and wind, sleeping bag and warm clothing options.

Your crossing the Alps, so think about what they are generally covered in.

Having lived in NZ in the past, I'd say think about your gearing.
NZ has a lot of steep roads so save your knees and get a cassette suitable for such.

You might enjoy some of the insights of RonK's journeying here: http://wheelswhisper.blogspot.com.au/

Or there is likely plenty to be found in https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...octype=journal

Last edited by rifraf; 01-12-18 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 01-13-18, 06:38 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
I respectfully disagree.
Lots of areas of NZ have mosquitos.
Sorry, i haven't lived in NZ for a long time, i used to call all the biting insects sand flies.
My memory fails me.
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Old 01-13-18, 06:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
Sorry, i haven't lived in NZ for a long time, i used to call all the biting insects sand flies.
My memory fails me.
You and me both with regards to not having lived in NZ for a long time and often the memory failure.

Nothing to be sorry about, as I'm sure there are areas which will be mozzie free.

Alas there is no shortage where I am in Western Australia, although I've finally convinced my neighbour to rid us the curse of their water feature which has helped immensely.

I look forward to trying your Tiger Balm idea.

The deet is destructive to plastic/nylon and I think responsible for damage to my past sleeping bag and bivybag (both now replaced).
I doubt it enhances health.

Another deterrent, albeit a NZ local one, is an antiseptic called Dettol, mixed with baby oil.
I'm unsure how many babies it takes to fill a bottle but its not dear.

A very quick search had this at the top of the list: http://www.instructables.com/id/Supe...ect-Repellent/

Last edited by rifraf; 01-13-18 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 01-13-18, 02:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
You and me both with regards to not having lived in NZ for a long time and often the memory failure.

Nothing to be sorry about, as I'm sure there are areas which will be mozzie free.

Alas there is no shortage where I am in Western Australia, although I've finally convinced my neighbour to rid us the curse of their water feature which has helped immensely.

I look forward to trying your Tiger Balm idea.

The deet is destructive to plastic/nylon and I think responsible for damage to my past sleeping bag and bivybag (both now replaced).
I doubt it enhances health.

Another deterrent, albeit a NZ local one, is an antiseptic called Dettol, mixed with baby oil.
I'm unsure how many babies it takes to fill a bottle but its not dear.

A very quick search had this at the top of the list: DIY Insect Repellent!!: 4 Steps (with Pictures)
I got the Tiger balm idea from a forum, but i used to use it often, and i could imagine it being a brilliant deterrent to all pesky winged folk.
And i was in Singapore a few weeks a go and so the roll-on Tigerbalm. That would be very handy.
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Old 01-14-18, 05:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tablatom View Post
Hi,
just been to wonderful Singapore. We went to Palau Ubin and hired some bicycles. Saw Monkeys, wild pigs, Hornbills, fabulous.

All the biggish camping grounds have kitchens with power, hot water, ovens.
Showers with hot water, sometimes wifi, and if you strike it extra lucky, hot tubs out doors.

NZ doesn't have Mosquitoes, BUT it has SANDFLIES!! All year long. But they really only get you at night. And they are mainly near big rivers and lakes.
Make sure your tent has fly screens.
Before you leave Singapore, buy Tiger Balm roll on. This will take care of the little monsters.
Thanks for all the tips.
Glad you liked Singapore.
Ok, got it on the biting insects.
I do always keep a bottle of some sort of Chinese Medicated Oil (eg. Tiger Balm) in my camera bag for multi purposes.
(Eg. Bruises; Insect Repellent; Sniffy Nose; Removal of Sticker Residue; etc)



Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve0000 View Post
It has both and you need to keep an eye out for the mozzies at night in your tent. You need a repellent.


I have cycled a lot of the trail with 1.5" road tyres. The gravel is mostly well packed and the trails along the canals have a well worn track to avoid the loose gravel. The trail is easy with few climbs. The main climb is from Ohau which is also the most scenic from comments I have read. I did not cycle this section but bypassed it by taking the road from Twizel to Omarama. There is also a climb up the Otematata Saddle which is not too long. And you have the short sharp one up the Benmore Dam.

It can get cold at any time of the year so take warm clothing and good rainwear. You are cycling in autumn so the weather may get cold.



Some parts of our journal for the trail...
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...id=493413&v=1K
Thanks for the advice and link (I will have to really study your article .. thanks)
Your information on the route itself and the handling of 1.5" tires on the route is really reassuring.
Saves me worrying about trying to fit 1.75" knobblies on my bike which will take some effort (and may still not fit).

Do you/anyone has an opinion on a Rain Cape over a Rain Jacket?
I have both, but I am thinking of bringing the rain cape so that it drapes over the bike front where my camera bag is (on the handlebar), is more ventilated when riding and it works as a rain cover/tarp if necessary.
Of course the downside is the effect of headwinds on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
I respectfully disagree.
Lots of areas of NZ have mosquitos.
Sandflies are generally only about before dark and thats about when the mossies come out to play and carry off small children.
South Island West Coast has mossies often mistaken for seagulls........ well sparrows at least.
A good repellant will deter them for the most part.
I know what Tiger balm is but have never heard of its use for deterring NZ's little vampires.
I'll give it a twirl next time I'm over there, but will take some deet in case the NZ varieties haven't heard of the Tiger Balm either.

Recommend a very good rain jacket to be taken with you OP as well as a warm sleeping bag.
Cold weather can strike much of the South Island at any time so layering is important.

NZ's weather can be wild at any time of year so again, think hard about your rainwear, quality tent able to withstand rain and wind, sleeping bag and warm clothing options.

You might enjoy some of the insights of RonK's journeying here: whispering wheels, singing spokes...

Or there is likely plenty to be found in https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/...octype=journal
Great info! Thanks.
I think my tent, sleeping bag is sorted out.

I worry a bit about my warm clothing at this point.
I've mainly got regular thermals and not much in cold weather outer clothes. (cycling clothes are fine).
I am currently thinking of buying some of these when I am in NZ since it produces a lot of wool products and I get to buy what the locals wear.
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Old 01-17-18, 10:15 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pinholecam View Post
Thanks for all the tips.
Glad you liked Singapore.
Ok, got it on the biting insects.
I do always keep a bottle of some sort of Chinese Medicated Oil (eg. Tiger Balm) in my camera bag for multi purposes.
(Eg. Bruises; Insect Repellent; Sniffy Nose; Removal of Sticker Residue; etc)





Thanks for the advice and link (I will have to really study your article .. thanks)
Your information on the route itself and the handling of 1.5" tires on the route is really reassuring.
Saves me worrying about trying to fit 1.75" knobblies on my bike which will take some effort (and may still not fit).

Do you/anyone has an opinion on a Rain Cape over a Rain Jacket?
I have both, but I am thinking of bringing the rain cape so that it drapes over the bike front where my camera bag is (on the handlebar), is more ventilated when riding and it works as a rain cover/tarp if necessary.
Of course the downside is the effect of headwinds on it.




Great info! Thanks.
I think my tent, sleeping bag is sorted out.

I worry a bit about my warm clothing at this point.
I've mainly got regular thermals and not much in cold weather outer clothes. (cycling clothes are fine).
I am currently thinking of buying some of these when I am in NZ since it produces a lot of wool products and I get to buy what the locals wear.
I'd take the rain jacket. While the weather in April is likely to be more settled that doesn't mean it may not be windy. The rain jacket will also work when you are not on the bike.

If you don't like Deet based insect repellants there is a locally made one, made with a variety of natural ingredients that is available in most supermarkets. It is called Goodbye Sandfly

It can get cold at any time of the year so a fleece or down jacket is essential.

The other option instead of camping is finding a host via Warmshowers. It is becoming more well know here with more hosts joining up. You won't be able to freedom camp unless you are are in self-contained motorhome. Most councils are starting to fine freedom campers who aren't self-contained. There should be plenty of campgrounds on the trail though as it is becoming a popular ride.
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