The Story : 4000 km. by bike & tramping in New Zealand
When I was young, I used to read adventure books which make life a dream...
So, last year I was thinking to change my life for a while and decided
that I would travel by bike in South America or in New Zealand. This last
destination kept all my attention and more I informed myself about New
Zealand more I was interested by this wild exotic country.
Leaving my Surveying Total Stations, car, flat, bills,...and all this
fucked up stuff , I flew out of Europe... the 7th November 1996. The dream
After looking up to the sky towers in Singapore, I finnaly reached Aukcland,
Because I wasnt speaking much the language, I decided to stay a month
in AKL to study english. I went to a school for a while but there are
enough nice chicks everywhere to teach you the language much better than
teachers... everybody is very kind and it s really easy to meet the locals.
When it s done, you re ready to jump on your bike and ride...
Begining of December, I know how things work over there and I m ready
to Begin that looooong ride around NZ.
Well I must admit that I wasn t so sure about the succes chance s....
It did look such a long way...
Heading North from Dargaville to Cape Reinga, after 3 days and 2 nights
close to the paradise, I was surprised that i did ride only 200km. And
it was a HARD work! Someting is wrong , isnt it? Yes! Guess what! my bloody
#%$ computer was setting in miles! Ouf , that means i did a good job!
Kilometers go on and go on and go on.
But scenery is breathtaking all the way, huges rainforests, kauris(big
trees), birds singing, and gravel roads which make singing your tyres...
That s life, when ya feel free, can breath deaply and scream if you want
to...NZ is not overcrowded...
The bad things with this country is sometime its weather...poor weather,
but the main good things is the hospitality of its people. Just Great!
5 continuous rainy days really pissed me off going down from Cape Reinga
to the bay of Islands, usually the sunshine paradise... I wasnt waterproof
Some days later I went back to Auckland and after some big partys with
schoolmates and friends, took the ferry to Coromandel. Rode the 309rd.
over the coromandel peninsula and followed all the way down to Tauranga
(sunchine ONLY!!! Oh Yes!) before stopping for a while in Whakapappa Village
(Tongariro Nat. Park) to do some tramping over the volcanos. Volcanics
area, hot pools, geysers, hot bubled mud, and all these stuff i had never
seen before...Reallity is much better than TV for sure!
Then went down to Wellington throught the Wanganui River & Nat. Park
where Steeve (an US biker) and me were invited to sleep in one of the
most beautifull farm of NZ (Thanks Lin+Gill).
After what, a huge party at Bulls (thanks Combi+Mohana) and then 200 boring
kilometers under the rain to Paekakari and Wellington....and again party!
Happy New Year 1997. Hey Dianne do you remember it!
3 Days later, I left NZ North Island by the 22 pm ferry boat, under a
dark blue sky full of stars.
The Wild South Island, New Zealand s mainland.
When I just arrived in picton, and after a cool whiskey party at the backpacker,
I jumped on a boat to be drop off far away in the Marlborough sound. Riding
back the Queen Charlotte track was a must. 70 km on a small track folowing
the top of a range just above the sound. Pretty hard work, but beautifull.
After what, a fucked up story to get to Nelson via a 4 wheel drive only
road, crazy steep, full of rounded rolling stones. Hopefully, the scenery
was as usual... beautifull.
After a short trip to Farwell Spit and Abel Tasman Nat. Park, I headed
back and strait to Westport on the West Coast. I put up the tent after
190km this day.
Then followed the coastal road to the glaciers (Fox & Franz-Joseph)
with a short visit to Shantytown, an old gold mining village.
Heaps of fun all along the way,...and the way down to Wanaka, Queenstone
(via the Cardronna road...which is really a must for every biker), and
then strait to TeAnau, Milford Sound, (where the mountains make love to
the sea and dolphins plays with seals and... sandflies pissed me off!).
I stayed there for a while tramping around the Hommer pass before heading
back to TeAnau to buy enough food for 12 days. Some 150 km south, I stopped
in Tuatapere to prepare the Dusky Track. Because I decided to do it by
myself, locals really convicted me to rent a SAR-SAT locator beacon....
2 days later, I leave the civilisation for 10 days.
A few minutes after having been droped off ashore by a stavi-craft, millions
of murderouses sandflies welcome me... Ahhhrg!
The 1st and 2nd days are pretty dry, just a few showers at dusk. Plenty
of good food in my backpack, and some other hikers in the huts. The track
is pretty cool, mostly flat and well dry (mostly) and just 5-6 hours walk
Some 3 days later, I get to the dusky sound itself, there are 3 days that
track conditions are pretty bad and it s with pleasure that I stop one
day at Supper Cove Hut...anyway, it s pooring down, ouside.
The nexts 6 days, on the way out to Lake Manapouri, I have to stay 2 days
in the Kintail hut, the track is just mud, waiste deep mud sometime, and
some wires bridges are gone... Heaps fun...but...
I didnt see any trampers thoses lasts 6 days, and have plenty of time
to think about whatever specially the last 3 days when running out of
coffe & tabacco. Have to cut the cigarettes in two parts to smoke
1 at noon and the other at dusk...
To any trampers: Take enought Netsle Milk Coffe and Tabbaco...
It is tired but happy that I take a boat back across the lake Manapouri
smelling fish and letting traces of my way... This long & adventurous
track is really to recommend to any fit trampers and , mud lovers...
Then, back on my bike i just had to peddal the lasts 200km to Bluff.
17th Feb. 1997 BLUFF SOUTH OF NEW ZEALAND MAINLAND. Already 3300km...
I decide to head to Stewart Island, highlight of my trip, and to stay
for a while if life is good down there... it does... I m gonna live in
Oban 6-7 weeks.
Stewart island is a small land , 400 people, just 14km of road, bush all
over where the foul wind of the southern seas is allright to let grow
some plants. Again, my desire to feel in harmony with myself pushed me
to the Wild south area of Stewart. Gogs&Magogs, the Fraser peaks are
in the ligne of fire. I stayed about10 days at Anns Place, preparing the
trip before renting a floatplane to be droped off at Port Pegasus, Red
Beach. You need a permit to enter this wild area, a locatore beacon and
others... maps, compass, food, tent, and all this bloody stuff wich make
the backpack fucking heavy ... but a good house!
After nearly 2 tramping days, straits across the rainforest and later
across that fucked up scrub, I reach the top of Magog. Contemplating the
sub-antarctica sea, remote area...love them. It s probablly one of the
most beautifull day of my life. Scenery was breathtaking and wilderness
Nobody 80km around, just bush and scrub... The wind scream in between
the huge granit domes of the Fraser peaks, proudly dressed as 2 huge breasts
of a magical austral godess. Athmosphere was great. Those instants carved
my mind for ever.
Beauty is an unestimable gift.
That night it took me up more than 1 hour to put up the tent under a 130km/h
wind... Night was awfull...
Wind blasts, rain and thunders contrained me to check each hours the tent
ancrages. The wall I builded as wind stopper has falled down during the
night...but the North face tent I used is still alive....North face...good
tent, ho yeah.
The xxth february, I take the way back, The Fraser Peaks have shown me
the most beautifull landscape and unspoiled wilderness ever and the clearly
told me to get out of here. Just a blast and I understood quickly...
Walking back near Port Pegasus, I met 8 hunters. We talked, they gave
me beers and offer to camp, dive, hunt with them before going back to
civilisation by ferry boat with them. 4 Days later (after having see heaps
wildlife, ev. a kiwi & chicks in the nest and others) we jumped on
the rented ferry boat and some 3-4 hours later I was back in Oban, enjoying
a huge "Save the Wahles" under an immaculate blue sky at the
I stayed at Anns place one week as manager, before going for some sea
cayaking and others tramping to Masons bays with really cool friends (hi
Kate, Tim, Angelique, ...)
But, unfortunately time is going so fast, I have to leave Stewart the
21th march., if I wanna see the Chatham s.
Jumped again on my bike, riding throught the beautifull Catlin Coast under
the rain, to Dunedin where friends convicted me to take a bus to Christchurch
to ride the Banks Peninsula. I meet up Kate again in ChCh, and we decided
to hitch hike a few days to go tramping to the Mont Cook Nat. Park, before
heading to Kaikoura, diving those cold waters with the seals and dolphins.
A month later, I flew out of the mainland in a 18 seat plane to Chatham
Island...last land before the end of the world...800km East from ChCh,
and just 680 people.
Laying in middle of nowhere, in the Southern Pacific Ocean, I m gonna
spend 2 weeks of peacefull life. Just eating seafood, fishes and mutton,
speaking to fishermanns and farmers, working with them, going to the Only
pub and shop of the whole island . Life is so good!
After what, I board the "Acoriano", an espagnol cargo boat which
go strait to Napier (NZ). Working on it 2 days (crossing time) to pay
My trip touch at the end, and as usuall, plans change ... Her name is
Carrie. (coucou Carrie! @}---/--).
We spent 5 wonderfull weeks together , between Auckland and Napier before
spending a week on Wahiki Island...
A Taste of Paradise...
We promised to meet up again,... Leaving this lovely girl to go back home,
surveying again,...what a hell!
Flight SQ 383 Aukland-Singapore-Zurich. /// whiskey bar...!
If you ve plan a trip like that, I m sur you re gonna have a look at this
page. That s all the most bimportant things I carried with me all around
New Zealand, of course, the gears you ll need Taking more = NO WAY
Bike and accesories
trade : Cannondale M700
fork : Marzochhi XC700
equipment : Deore DX
tyres : Michelin WildGripper Rock/LI>
bags : Ortlieb 100% étanche
usefull reparing tools 2.5 kg
computer KM/high AVOCET
Weight : 20 kg.
Tent North Face VE 25 4.4kg
Term-a-Rest 0.4 kg
sleeping bag Ferrino 2.3 kg
water filter MSR 0.5 kg
stove Coleman Peak 1 1 kg
hanging pans , 1 poêle
usefull camping accessories
survival knife Jungle King II Aitor
other stuff 1 kg
food (always nearly 5 kg)
Weight : 17 kg
3 slips, 3 socks
2 trekking boots, sandals
1 polar fleece Patagonia
1 overjacket Patagonia Triolet Jacket
1 biking short
Weight : 6.8 kg
first aide kit 2 kg
Maps (DOSLI maps scale 1:50 000, 1:250 000, et 1:500 000)
+ Recta compass
Books (John Fante,...)
other 0.5 kg
Weight : 4.7 kg
First Aid kit
Total weight : 28.5 kg + Vélo 20 kg