I flew to New Zealand after staying in Alice Springs for six months. It was impressive to look at the outback from an airplane. I couldn’t believe how I cycled there to get to Alice Springs by bike.
I arrived in Christchurch late at night around 11 pm. I had saved up enough money to travel with my mom for New Year in Australia but my Working Holiday Visa was about to expire so I would spend one month in New Zealand.
I talked to a local people at the airport and he told me it was safer to cycle in a late night than day time because there were fewer cars. I had cycled in North Island and South Island of New Zealand one year ago. I totally forgot how New Zealand was safe.
After installing my bike and having dinner, it was around 1 am.
My host who let me stay last year for a couple of nights invited me this time again thankfully. They had to work the next day that they slept while unlocked the door for me. They left a lovely note for me in front of the door. And a cat was sitting just right around the note and looked at me just like a house owner when I opened the door. It was such a nice welcoming night.
It was good to see Peter Nikki again and had breakfast together. In the late afternoon, we went to the city center and I was so surprised. “How come there are so many people???” One year ago, when I came to New Zealand from South East Asia, I thought “it’s so empty”, and then when I went to Sydney from New Zealand, I thought “There are too many cars and people that it’s chaotic.” After staying in a small town, New Zealand looked too busy now.
Another shocking thing was everything was so green. I kept repeating saying “Everything is green!!!!” For a few days, I kept saying “IT IS GREEN EVERYWHERE!!!!!!”
Nikki let me use her MTB that I went cycling with Peter.
Mountain Biking Video
There was one thing I decided when I was in Alice Springs; To go back home by sailing boat. Eight years ago when I was in Yellowknife, Canada with my working holiday visa, I told everyone around “I am going to cycle around the world.” And here I was doing. So I thought if I kept telling people my dream, it would come true.
First of all, I wanted to learn about how to sail in New Zealand. Then I would learn more about it after traveling with mom in Australia. I wanted to be a captain, not a crew. I was thinking of having a sailing boat by sponsorship.
A sailing boat always needed people’s help. So I thought it would be nice to learn while helping people on a boat. Peter helped me to check a yacht club around together. Actually, I couldn’t talk to any captain that I just left a note with my number and name at the club.
Then I researched the weather for sailing around. I had noticed that there was typhoon season I must wait every a few months until it would be gone at each sea. So it looked like it would take for a few years. So, I simply gave up on this dream because I did want to go back home in the next year, 2020.
After several days passing, I got used to green stuff and many people.
I bought climbing shoes and a harness when I was in Alice Springs. I joined Christchurch Climbing group on Facebook and posted like “If you want to climb together, please pm.” Then I got a contact from Nathan, a local guy. He told me he would go climbing this week with his friend that I could join.
Nathan’s flatmate didn’t have experience of climbing before. She was a bit struggling that she didn’t join the next time. I went climbing with him a few times after it including YMCA indoor climbing.
It was way easier than Alice Spring’s climbing cause it was easy to grab rocks but fingers were more hurt. The scenery was so beautiful on the top that I did enjoy so much.
There was a party for Nikki’s birthday. Actually, my birthday was just passed that I was congratulated by her friends as well.
I usually didn’t look for a Korean restaurant, but suddenly I wanted to have Korean food. Maybe it meant time to go back home. I had never drunk Soju, Korean alcohol alone at the restaurant that it was fun. But the food and side dish were not like real Korean food.
I had hanged out with Nathan often while staying in Christchurch. One time I followed him for kite sand surfing. But there was not enough wind that we didn’t stay long out there.
I went to his house a few times and played a board game with his flatmates. The reason I never won against them was they were used to playing this game more than me that they knew the strategy of how to win.
I always looked at people surfing with admiration. I was not friendly with water that maybe I would not have any chance to learn surfing.
While staying in Christchurch, I tried to make the plan to travel with my mom. It was different than my cycling trip which I just moved without a plan. To travel with my mom needed a detailed plan which was so difficult to make for me. I called often my mom to check if she liked this plan or that plan. Actually, she suggested how about traveling in March or April cause the end of the year would be busy. But I didn’t want to delay cause I would not know what can happen next year like I would be too busy or my mom can be sick suddenly. After booking flights and accommodation, I decided to have a short trip around Christchurch.
I asked Nathan if he wanted to join my short trip and he liked my idea. I didn’t mind any place to cycle so I told him I would cycle where he wanted. He asked for advice from his dad. His dad recommended us Molesworth Muster Trail. So we would go around that trail. I left two bags of mine at Christchurch.
It was good to have a company to talk to.
I liked always the creative mailbox. If I get a chance to settle down at a house, I love to make a funny mailbox for the house.
I tried to minimalize my bags, but my winter jacket and camping gears were big as it was cheap. We put everything in his car and he left his car at friend’s house to avoid cycling on a busy road.
We were about to enter Molesworth Muster Trail. There were two ways to enter on Google Map. We chose one of them but it was too steep to push my bicycle even that he helped me to push my bicycle together. When we reached the top, it was rained and we realized the road was ended. I forgot that actually, Google Map would be so wrong so I had to check with Maps.me, an offline map app as well. On the way back downhill, it was so steep that I had to be very careful.
The rain stopped and we had to find a camping spot. This place looked amazing. But the reality was….
It was just right next to a power station. There was no other place. If I slept under the tower every day, it would be a problem. But just one day would be fine.
I was so tired after pushing my bicycle in the late afternoon.
The next day we entered into a beautiful trail.
The natural scenery was so beautiful.
There were many up and down and some hills were a bit steep. But it was okay to cycle.
I liked the shadow of me and my bicycle.
I saw a unique bird. When I came to New Zealand last year, I thought the birds were so pretty. But when I went to Australia after New Zealand, I could see birds of all different colors. I thought New Zealand had unique birds and Australia had beautiful birds.
When I was in Australia, suddenly one question hit me. “Why are there so many different species on birds?” I researched and it said because the bird’s ancestor was coming from a dinosaur that their evolution had a longer history than others.
Then another question came to me “Why human is so boring that there were no different species? The human did have a bit different skin, eye, and hair color. But it was not extraordinary different like 5m tall human, blue skin, long neck and so on.
I couldn’t find a clear answer to it. It guessed there were different species but all extinct and human only survived. Another thing would be human’s evolution was so short compared to birds so we were simple.
On the land, birds had the biggest species, but still, it was less than fish underwater because fish evolution had a longer history than bird. So it can be explained simply we humans had the shortest history than any animal on this planet. But it was so funny that we, the latest animal, rule this planet. (‘Rule’ would be a not nice word but in reality this was right. We can destroy the earth by pollution and war but the animal cannot do it.)
This was really awesome place to cycle but I thought if I had full of my luggage, it would be difficult to cycle.
There was no town nor a house to get water. He had some pills to kill bacteria on the water so we could drink water from the creek. It was good to camp next to a creek that we could use water as much as we can.
I liked camping with people cause it was more fun than being alone.
We played card games.
I could understand why his dad recommended this place. It was a peaceful place with only a few cars passing.
Video of Downhills
When the trail was about to end, I could see farms. I saw the guy riding a horse with five dogs. I was wondering how big a farm he had to keep five dogs.
After four days of cycling on the trail, we went out to the sea side. From this part, we were heading down to Christchurch.
I could see other cyclists here. I usually saw a family with kids, a couple, and friends cycling together before. But I felt like seeing a daughter and dad cycling together was for the first that it was impressive.
After that, we met an Italian family. The woman was so excited to see me cause she was following me before online and it made me excited to see them too. It seemed like she really liked our meeting that she donated at me through my website after a few days of meeting.
After keeping pedaling, I could see seals next to the sea.
I was not sure it was dead or not that I kept my eyes on the belly. It moved that I felt relaxed. Many seals lied down like dead.
It seemed like it was the season for the baby. To see them was so adorable.
The body was so big but the ear was so tiny. Whenever I saw the unique animals, looked at the night sky, saw the moon at day time, I felt the earth was an amazing and blessed place.
When I dried my wet tent, I felt like I became superman.
Later we arrived Kaikoura, a tourist town. We decided to stay at the hostel for two nights cause it would rain the next day. It was so cozy to stay under the roof after one week of camping outside. On the second day, it rained all day so we just cooked our meal and played a board games. I liked playing the board game so it was good.
We found the chess that we played it. I didn’t play chess for a long time that I forgot a simple trap strategy. Unlike a board game, to lose at chess made kinda upset. I found some excuse that he kept canceling his move as soon as move. I told him “This was the reason you kept winning cause you canceled your move and put on a different move again as soon as moving. Once you moved, you cannot move back. I won’t play this game anymore cause you are kinda cheating.” and then we played a board game again peacefully. Actually, he said he won a chess league when he was in elementary school. Yeah this was the real reason I didn’t want to play with him.
The next day the weather was sunshine that we went to walk around.
I could understand why this was a popular destination.
It was so cute to see seals sleeping like the dead. After having enough rest, we hit the road again.
I always wish to take this kind of a small plane.
Today I could see seals on the road as well.
It was interesting to see seals jumping into the sea.
Today he found many fruit trees. This tree was so special to me that I had never seen it since I left my country. I thought even it was not easy to buy in Korea cause you cannot keep this fruit easily. I reckoned I usually picked them up on the tree to eat when I was little.
And Kereru, the bird of 2019 in New Zealand, was sitting on the tree. Kereru was known for the drunk birds after eating fermented fruit.
After 10 days of cycling with him, we came back to Christchurch. To meet him on a normal life was more relaxed than on the road where need to find a place to sleep, cycle under the strong sun, rain, wind, and he had to keep waiting for me cause I was too slow at everything.
We went climbing again and the signboard was so funny with people’s writing.
My favorite sports were climbing and mountain biking.
We went to the beach to do sand kite surfing. I was a beginner that we decided not to use a board, but just hold a kite. He advised me not to miss the kite. But the wind was super strong that it was difficult to have the balance. Then I was like pulled out by kite and fell down on the ground. It was not soft and but wet sand that I felt so hurt after hitting the ground with my right shoulder.
I was shocked that the pain didn’t disappear for a while. I had fallen off from mountain biking and car accidents. But usually, the pain didn’t go long. I felt this time was different. We decided to stop the kite. Then we went to the park to play with his drone. I really loved the drone that I had it on my trip five years ago. But then I sold it when I headed to Central Asia cause it could make the problem at the border crossing.
The next morning I couldn’t move right hand to the behind with too much pain on the shoulder that even it was so difficult to change the clothes. Yesterday he told me “Text me if you are still sick the next morning. I will take you to the hospital. It is free to go to a hospital for a foreigner if something is broken in New Zealand.” So I searched for it. In New Zealand, if a foreigner is sick like with a cold or stomachache, it would be not covered by the government. But if a foreigner gets injured from outdoor activities, it would be covered by the government. The reason was the government trying to prevent local companies from being sued. So I texted him “Hey mate, I am not going to sue you for the injury. So please take me to the hospital.”
I waited at the hospital for one hour or one and a half hours. I tried to empathy I got injured from “KITE SURFING” when I was called my name. But actually, I didn’t see a doctor, the nurse brought me into another a big corridor inside where so many people sitting. I had to wait again. Then my name was called again and I said “KTE SURFING” blah blah, but actually, it was not a doctor that the person wrote down and then said wait outside. So I waited outside again. FINALLY, my name was called again! I had X-Ray and then been told “Wait outside” So it was not final actually. My name was called again and FINALLY, I could talk to a doctor. Surprisingly he was Korean. He told me there was no broken bone that take the prescription he would write for a pain killer. The time I talk to a doctor was fast as the velocity of light compared to my waiting time.
I was relaxed that there was no broken bone but the pain was really big. The pain killer was cheaper than usual but I felt it didn’t help to kill my pain.
It seemed to go to a hospital with the pain was the first time after eight years of traveling. I was worried about how I could travel with my mom after a week. (Fortunately, I didn’t need that black thing holding my arm after a week that I got better. After one and half months all the pain disappeared.)
The video of how I got injured
I would fly to Sydney at midnight on the 25th of December. Always a flight ticket was cheaper on Christmas and New Year where people didn’t want to be in the sky. I was playing a board game at his house with him and his roommate. And then at the night, he dropped me at the airport and I had farewell with him. I waited until the flight time.
The natural landscape was really beautiful while cycling. But most memorable was to meet people; to meet Peter and Nikki again, and to make a good friend with Nathan. I left New Zealand with such a blessed feeling.
Route (The yellow circle is the route I cycled)
Days in New Zealand= 36 Days
Distance of cycling in New Zealand= 672km (420mi)
Expenditure in New Zealand= $1,116 USD