|Obligatory selfie, looking back up Pukaki to the divide|
|Cruising the Pukaki lakeshore|
|Salmon sushi, Pukaki dam|
After the dam, the trail heads cross country through tussock land to Twizel, where I shared a room with a couple of French lads and their well worn sock collection. Next morning I headed out of town to join the hydro canal leading down from Lake Ohau.
|Salmon farm on hydro canal, local angling for escaped salmon|
On the way I passed the salmon farms, big floating cages seething with the fish. On shore, the odd angler cast their lines for escaped salmon.
|Moa nest, Ohau|
A surprise was stumbling on a late season Moa nest. The Alps2Ocean is of course the only one of the Nga Haerenga/ NZ Cycle Trails where cyclists have a chance of seeing these shy creatures in the wild. During the breeding season (starting 1 April) cyclists are advised to sound their bells frequently to avoid surprising Moa - adults, particularly if accompanying chicks, can be aggressive.
At Ohau the well graded Tarnbrae trail climbs the hillside from Ohau lodge to a 900m high point with great views back up the Hopkins and Dobson, across the lake to Ben Ohau, and south across the tussock to Omarama. Since Ohau Lodge was closed, I took a steeper shortcut up Sawyer's track from the lakeshore, rejoining Alps2Ocean at the Sawyers Creek Bridge.
|Tarnbrae high point - all downhill from here|
From the high point, it's a cruisy downhill through the grasslands to Omarama, particularly with a tailwind coming down from the mountains.
|Across the grasslands to Omarama|
|Curious alpine technology: either an incinerator, or an early model robot|
|Racing the rainbows from Omarama|
At Otematata I warmed up with a hot chocolate, then turned off the main road and across Benmore Dam, one of several 1960s mega energy projects in the Waitaki. On the other side the trail follows the almost deserted road around Lake Aviemore, reputedly teeming with thousands of campers in the holiday season.
|Autumn colours on the Aviemore Road|
|Good signage on the A2O|
|Hakataramea Motors, Kurow|
|Dawn shadows south of Kurow|
|When good dolphins go bad - or at least sabre toothed|
Near Ngapara, I experienced a Hitchhikers Guide/Dr Who moment when confronted by a row of concrete water towers - at least I think they were just water towers.
|"Do you think the humans have noticed us, O One Eye?" "No, they're so stupid they don't even know the answer to life the universe and everything"|
It was a bit of a shock when the sky started to turn red, and the light faded, with 10 km still to go to the end. I dashed through the Oamaru suburbs on the rail trail, through the botanic gardens, past Steam Punk HQ, and out along the pier to where there was only ocean still to go.
|Dusk, and journey's end|
Then it was uphill to meet my kind host, Philip of Oamaru Libraries - my professional links haven't quite died - and next morning the bus to Christchurch.