Matador intern Eileen Smith recently returned from a cycle tour of the South Island of New Zealand. This is some of what she saw.

My route: from Christchurch, across the South Island to Greymouth by train, down the rainy west coast and its glaciers, over the pass and to the drier east side, where I got to pedal until I was tired, make liberal use of hydrocortisone cream for myriad sand flea bites, drink more coffee than medically recommended, and discuss the various benefits and detriments of sealed, chip-sealed, and unsealed roads with oncoming cyclists.


Safety sign

1. Safety first A sign reminding cyclists to cross train tracks at an angle.



2. Christchurch After a rain.


Windy road

3. Wind Strong wind shapes the occasional tree between Hokitika and Ross.


Working on a bike

4. Bike mechanics A father and son team from the North Island check out and make adjustments to my bike in Ross, NZ.


Wet sand

5. On the beach The ocean washes the sand away from this rock at a beach near Jacob’s River.


Rata blossoms

6. Rata This native New Zealand tree blooms red until January when it drops its flowers.


Franz Joseph Glacier

7. Franz Joseph The glacier and valley, with the rata blooming red in the background.



8. Queenstown The view from the hill overlooking Queenstown, with observation deck in the foreground.


Cycling bridge

9. Otago Rail Trail bridge One of many wooden bridges on the 140km gravel bike and hiker trail that connects Clyde with Middlemarch.


New Zealand boathouse

10. Low tide Boatshed on the Otago Peninsula before the tide comes in.


Penguin tunnel

11. Penguin tunnel En route to see the yellow-eyed penguins at the end of the Otago Peninsula.


Stop sign

12. Stop sign After pedaling down the unpaved Waitati Road from Dunedin to Palmerston, before rejoining the main road.


Fixing a flat

13. Bikeshop The second of two flats I would suffer, this one on the unpaved Waitati Road between Dunnedin and the coastal road.


Cow on a hill

14. Cow Between Seacliff and Palmerston, this cow stopped grazing to check me out.


Steampunk Headquarters

15. Steampunk HQ A building in the old section of Oamaru, which is known for its Victorian architecture.


Riding a penny farthing

16. Penny farthing Bike enthusiast Bruce runs after a visitor trying one out for the first time.


Public service announcement

17. PSA Part of New Zealand’s anti-speeding campaign.


Moeraki boulders

18. Moeraki boulders Stepping tentatively around these perfectly round, naturally-occurring crystal-filled spheres.