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NZ Tour 2005: Alexandria

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Rode down the last bit of hill, finally got to see the dam that makes Lake Dunstan. It was very newsworthy during construction because there were geological niceties that they only found during the lake filling process. Anyway, Alexandria was my last chance to shop for a while before I hit the rail trail. So I stocked up a bit, then headed out using a free map I picked up in Cromwell as a guide. The Otago rail trail is very nice.


The Clude dam. It's big, it's bad and it has finally been fixed. Well, Lake Dunstan (the lake it created) has unstable hills above it that have needed lengthy and expensive work to stabilise them.The Clude dam. It's big, it's bad and it has finally been fixed. Well, Lake Dunstan (the lake it created) has unstable hills above it that have needed lengthy and expensive work to stabilise them.
The town of Cromwell. I just biked through and noticed the tourists, didn't really stop.The town of Cromwell. I just biked through and noticed the tourists, didn't really stop.
Cool looking clouds outside Cromwell. Not rainy-looking :)Cool looking clouds outside Cromwell. Not rainy-looking :)
I found the rail trail! Having stocked up on food I was hanging out to get onto the fabled trail and away from the hugely busy main roads, where sometimes there was more than one car visible at a time!I found the rail trail! Having stocked up on food I was hanging out to get onto the fabled trail and away from the hugely busy main roads, where sometimes there was more than one car visible at a time!
There's something odd about a railway station with no rails. But i saw a lot of them, with these signs to tell me how far away everything was. There was also lots of accomodation and so on close to the tracks, even when the "town" the station serviced was long gone.There's something odd about a railway station with no rails. But i saw a lot of them, with these signs to tell me how far away everything was. There was also lots of accomodation and so on close to the tracks, even when the "town" the station serviced was long gone.
The first section was much like this - gravel track through farmland, but as with all good railway lines, very gentle gradients. Quite pleasant to ride.The first section was much like this - gravel track through farmland, but as with all good railway lines, very gentle gradients. Quite pleasant to ride.
The Otago Central Rail Trail explained.The Otago Central Rail Trail explained.
But after a while you notice that it is actually consistently uphill. Gentle, but noticable.But after a while you notice that it is actually consistently uphill. Gentle, but noticable.
The tunnels are cool. Not least because one of them curves, so you end up riding into actual darkeness. Which is a bit bizarre. I mean "wheeling your bike", yeah. Just like the sign says to.The tunnels are cool. Not least because one of them curves, so you end up riding into actual darkeness. Which is a bit bizarre. I mean "wheeling your bike", yeah. Just like the sign says to.
Inside there's this mix of local rock quarried into slabs and used as bricks, with fired clay bricks above that.Inside there's this mix of local rock quarried into slabs and used as bricks, with fired clay bricks above that.
And in the middle, there's just rock. presumably at some point digging gets so hard that they decide it will support itself without bricks (or there's enough thickness overhead?) The built-in flash struggled a bit here. Sorry.And in the middle, there's just rock. presumably at some point digging gets so hard that they decide it will support itself without bricks (or there's enough thickness overhead?) The built-in flash struggled a bit here. Sorry.
I like tunnels.I like tunnels.
Real Otago - bare, rocky and dry. I know there's lots of bits that aren't like this, but to me this country makes me think I'm really in Otago.Real Otago - bare, rocky and dry. I know there's lots of bits that aren't like this, but to me this country makes me think I'm really in Otago.
There are heaps of these signs. I just took photos of the ones that interested me for some reason, but I think I stopped and read them all.There are heaps of these signs. I just took photos of the ones that interested me for some reason, but I think I stopped and read them all.
See the sign, see the viaduct. It is quite impressive. But the river undeathneath is fairly Australian, more of a creek with pretensions. So no jumping off the bridge (well, limit one per customer anyway).See the sign, see the viaduct. It is quite impressive. But the river undeathneath is fairly Australian, more of a creek with pretensions. So no jumping off the bridge (well, limit one per customer anyway).
I camped down underneath it, taking the panniers and stuff off my bike to get it over the fence, then reassembling it to ride down a track to the creek. Lots of thistles  then this rather nice campsite, sheltered from the weather as well as hard to see from the track. The towel indicates that I had a brief wash in the creek, but I'm not a swimmer unless the water is over 25 degrees.I camped down underneath it, taking the panniers and stuff off my bike to get it over the fence, then reassembling it to ride down a track to the creek. Lots of thistles then this rather nice campsite, sheltered from the weather as well as hard to see from the track. The towel indicates that I had a brief wash in the creek, but I'm not a swimmer unless the water is over 25 degrees.