Well here we are ...after a last-night 'little drink', it was a 5 30am start for the trip to Sydney airport, complete with hangovers. Cozza did an admiral job of getting us there, I think, as I slept most of the way. The plane trip was like most plane trips, boring and uncomfortable. They played some movie that contained two of the warning signs that a movie is going to suck, namely Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Costner. And it lived up (down?) to it's promise, sucking badly. The food was fantastic, well it was crap really, but having not eaten since the night before, I would've eaten an old sock in tomato sauce if they'd dished it up. Actually, I think that's maybe what it was. Got the cocaine through NZ customs no problems, and were met by mum and dad (we stashed the coke in their car for safety reasons). And onward through Wellington (dad's scenic route) and up the Wairarapa to the quaint little hamlet of Carterton.
Today we woke to overcast and cool conditions, pretty good for our trip up to the Rimutaka Incline trail. On the way up we stopped in at the Waiohine Gorge, where we were met with the scariest suspension bridge I've ever seen. A few hikers were coming back across it, and gave us some strange looks when they spotted our footwear, me in joggers and Christian in thongs! One of them asked where we were going, as if we were the biggest fools he'd ever encountered. We soon understood his reasons when we gingerly stepped out onto the crude wire rope and chicken mesh creation. I made it about a quarter of the way out, while Christian turned back a little shy of that. Not the most pleasant sensation, bouncing and swinging whilst suspended 100 metres above a torrent of rushing white water and jagged rocks.
We decided we'd feel more at home on our bikes, and headed up to the Rimutaka Incline. A nice little twisty singletrack starts us off at the bottom, then it's a 7.5km climb up the old railway track. Amazing that trains could've gone up and down here. Riding up through the tunnels was a cool, freaky experience, with only pissy little lights for guidance...it was easier just to focus on the light at the end. At the top there was a group of families who were heading back down the way we came up, and it was a blast passing them at speed on the way back down. The singletrack back to the car was a blast too, and it was a great start to our trip. After lunch we drove up to Kiriwhakapapa trail, which I'd also ridden last time I was here. The conditions were a bit too wet to fully appreciate the trail, with slippery roots and rocks hiding under the leaf mulch surface just waiting to send you to your doom down one of the sheer drops off the side of the trail. As I soon found out. Luckily I was climbing at the time, and my fall was broken by the thicket of ferns on the cliffs edge. I made sure Christian got a photo before he hauled me back onto the trail. It was a treacherous descent, but lowering our seats made it a little easier, but what would be an awesome trail in the dry wasn't so great under these conditions. A quick detour around the 'Loop Track' finished things off a little more nicely, and it was back home for dinner and beers. Tomorrow we hit Wellington....stay tuned.