It was wet when we woke, and it was good to know that cycling today was optional.
We had coffee and breakfast once the kids woke, and headed to the Kissing Gate cafe next door for a second coffee and to access their free wifi.
Jonno ordered an apricot and banana smoothie which was heavy on the apricot and absolutely delicious. Georgia enjoyed her berry smoothie, and the coffees were good. This wifi was a little slow, but we eventually uploaded the blog and photos from yesterday.
We detoured home via Cycle Surgery to pick up a map of the local area, and find a recommended route. We found a circular route that covered all the local highlights, around 30kms or so. However, Jonno had worked out that we needed 40kms to make it to 500kms for the trip, so we were doing 40km today regardless.
Whilst still overcast, it was fine as we headed off, and we didn't get more than a few spots of rain all day.
The first stop was the Stoneyards, sheep pens made from standing stones. To get there we had to wait for the sheep, literally. Part way up the road we were stopped by a sea of sheep in the middle of the road. They looked at us with interest but they weren't going anywhere. The farmer was moving them to a new field and we waited, and were helpful, as the sheep weren't going to come to close to us. Eventually they all jostled their way through the gate to their new home and we were able to head on once more.
A sea of sheep blocking the road
The Stoneyards were disused and in some disrepair, but an interesting use of the local rock, that was also used to hold up fences. The countryside became quite rugged, and we were surrounded by many tors, rugged rock outcrops that dotted the landscape.
Rugged rock outcrops and tors
We crossed the Sutton suspension bridge, supposedly a poor cousin to the bridge we had crossed near Ophir, and passed the Sutton rotary camp en route to Sutton salt lake, the only salt lake in New Zealand.
Sutton Suspension Bridge
There was a walking track loop to the lake that could be completed on bikes, so we headed in and cycled for some time across rolling hills till we came to what was left of the lake. The Sutton salt pan would be a more apt name, and it was very small. The nearby rocks made a good place for lunch, and then we completed the circuit out. I called it mountain biking, but Jonno assured me that it was more off road cycling.
Sutton Salt Lake
Georgia's lunch perch
It was easy cycling back into town, but we were still a few kms short of our 40km target so we set off the explore the environs of Middlemarch, only returning once we had cycled 40kms, thereby completing a 500km tour of Central Otago. We have loved every minute of it!
The hills around Middlemarch
Jonno had offered to cook nachos for dinner, but with three maths questions still outstanding, Georgia and I took over the cooking. Just one maths question to go, to be completed tomorrow.