The mighty Clutha River

(24 Kms)

Thursday,14 Jan, 2016

Beaumont - Millers Flat

We enjoyed our comfortable beds and all slept well and with only 25km to cover over the day there was no need to rush off. A leisurely start meant that Jonno had time for breakfast. This consisted of six slices of toast, two packets of cereal, a tub of yoghurt and a few slices of tinned peaches. Enough to last till morning tea.

We hit the road around 11 and the day was warm and sunny. We waited at the traffic lights for our turn to cross the single lane bridge, and made our way back onto the trail. The views were glorious from the outset. The Clutha Mata-au, the mighty Clutha river, was to be our companion for the day and we were rarely out of sight of it for more than a few minutes. Fast flowing and deep, it was not a river for swimming in.

All packed and ready to go

The Clutha Mata-au

We made good time on the gentle slopes, having definitely got our bike legs from the Queenstown trails. The surface was hard packed and made for relatively easy riding. Simon and I made frequent stops for photos whilst the kids powered on ahead, then waited at designated points for their slower parents to catch up.

The Clutha Mata-au

We were aiming for the Horseshoe Bend bridge for lunch and nearly missed the turnoff, with the signs posted on a gate to the side of the trail. It was a 15 minute walk down to the bridge, and Simon struggled a little,with the heavy pannier that contained our lunch supplies, it being now over 2 hours since the last piece of toast had been consumed.

Reading about the Horseshoe Bend bridge

The views up and down the river were magnificent, whilst the bridge seemed to be in the middle of nowhere but had once linked farmers and children to markets and schools. We enjoyed Jan's excellent pork and sage sausages in French bread with onions and salad, a real gourmet lunch.

A cup of tea at lunch time

Back on the bikes, it was hot work heading into Millers Flat, and we were glad to arrive at our accommodation. Right next door to the local pool, swimming was an option, however, the free wifi proved to be of more interest to Jonno and Georgia. Home made banana cake had been left for us to enjoy, and, after laundry, this was the next priority with a cup of tea. Showers and laundry done we headed to the local supermarket to see what could be done for dinner. The pickings were slim but we found some fresh chicken, curry paste and a few vegetables. No custard could be found to accompany the leftover Christmas pudding so the kids found ice creams instead. A search for our requisite pre dinner beer showed that we could purchase a minimum of 12 beers - rather more than our requirements so we settled for cider instead.

"Lance", loaded up and ready to go

The well equipped outdoor bbq area included a gas wok, meaning dinner was done in no time. We had a lovely chat to Bruce, the owner, who was hoping to sell the property to one of two interested parties tomorrow so he and his wife could move to a retirement village near Dunedin. It was interesting to learn how much the rail trail was contributing to the local small town economies.