This text was written in German. The translation in English was created by machine with DeepL and without proofreading.
On Labor Weekend we went to Leukerbad in New Zealand.

Last weekend was the Labour Weekend in New Zealand. This means that everyone who owns a motorhome, caravan, bots trailer with boat or off-road vehicle goes to the other end of the island to make 3 days spring break. Based on the traffic, the previously unnamed Kiwis are most likely doing this as well. We (tandem owners only) also joined this troop. We loaded our tandem with survival essentials and also a great many less important heavy things so that we could join in the national traffic chaos. On Saturday at 5.30 the alarm clock shrilled, so that we could start cycling at 6.20 in the direction of Christchurch station. Arriving at the station, we then had to load our tandem onto the train. The railroad officials (British railroad officials like in the picture book) asked us whether it would not be possible to fold the tandem or to saw in the middle apart. Finally they found a place in a separate luggage car and the trip to Waipara could start.


Waipara Central Station

The region around Waipara is a very famous and large wine growing area on the east coast of New Zealand. Under Waipara Central Station one might imagine a big, proud and magnificent station from the colonial times. On the train, the engineer announced this stop, also adding that passengers would get off here, but everyone else should stay on the train. In reality, the station is more like the stop of a Siberian village with five inhabitants and the station building or rather the cottage looks like a Bernmobil stop from the 50s. Next to the Main North Line station (no joke!) is the rail yard of the Weka Pass Express. The Weka Pass Express is a weekend steam train run by some rail enthusiasts. In New Zealand, the railroad has a completely different meaning than in Switzerland. The railroad is used almost exclusively for freight transport (with increasing freight volumes), but the few rides that one is allowed to experience as a passenger are only geared towards tourism.

Tandem ride

In Waipara the adventure of the bike ride could begin. First we took some pictures of the impressive station and then we got on our bikes. The first destination of the day was the Weka Pass. We imagined a pass like in Switzerland or analogous to the Port Hills in Christchurch. But it turned out to be much easier to conquer. Passing large flocks of sheep and green landscape, we drove comfortably over this hill. Rana, who always has a little time to admire the landscape on the back of the tandem, noticed that New Zealand is not only teeming with sheep, but also with rabbits hopping around in the grass. Sometimes you had the feeling that the whole hill was jumping. That's why you don't have to be surprised when up to 3 animals per km are lying around run over on the road. She also noticed that often the carcasses were hung on the cattle fences. After the Weka Pass we drove a several km long straight stretch through a piecewise cleared forest. After this stretch we allowed ourselves a short break, because our legs were starting to hurt. After 2 minutes the first car stopped next to us and the driver asked us if we needed help. After this short break we drove through a beautiful mountain valley, past beautiful pastures and over a deep gorge to the "Alpine Spa Village" Hanmer Springs.


Hanmer Springs

Hanmer Springs is famous for its natural warm thermal springs. They were discovered by a European in 1859. In 1914 a sanatorium was built there. However, in the same year this sanatorium burned down and a hospital for war casualties was built. Later it was used for other water therapies and then as an alcohol rehabilitation center. The hospital no longer exists in this style. However, the building has been preserved. Today these thermal springs are a big tourist attraction. However, locals believe that these natural thermal springs are no longer used and the sulfurous water is produced artificially. Thus, the huge chimney near the hotpots also speaks for itself. Nevertheless, we enjoyed bathing in the 10 different pools or pots. For Rana the water could not be hot enough and for Moritz exceptionally not cold enough. The different pots have with temperatures from 35C to 41C something for all tastes.

Return trip

On Monday we drove all the way from Hanmer Springs back to Christchurch. On the way back we cooked leftovers from the previous day, which we transported in a pet bottle due to missing containers... that worked out quite well.
During the lunch break we were able to photograph the moving Weka Pass Express.
On the way back, however, we did without the train and rode the entire distance to Christchurch by tandem. Thus we drove this weekend 235km on our two-wheeler with trailer.

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