We had to get up seriously early today as we had to get to Middlemarch to catch the 1.00pm train to Dunedin, so we were away by 7-30am.
The route was all flat or gentle down hill with, hallelujah, a back wind. We saw a lot of other cyclists along the route and we overtook all of them as we maintained nearly 20km per hour.
It was very scenic through the upper Taieri Gorge, probably our favourite part. There were several families just setting off along the trail with children of all ages. As it was very sheltered, downhill and they had only just started, they were all in high spirits. In contrast as we got closer to Middlemarch we passed another family coming in the opposite direction, up hill into the head wind. Dad and the kids seemed OK, but mum was in tears and looked ready to give up.
We completed the 60km to Middlemarch by 11-15am, so had an early lunch in the "Quench" cafe and then had a good look around the station while waiting for the train.
The train was 30 minutes late as it was waiting in Dunedin for a cruise ship party to arrive. As its arrival time approached the activity on the platform increased. The "Lions" had a stall serving hot dogs and the passengers were milling around taking photographs and looking at the old rolling stock. Finally we saw the lights of the train coming up the track and the Taieri Gorge train pulled into the station. The 260 passengers were disgorged onto the platform, which was now extremely chaotic. The train guard directed those getting onto the train to collect their tickets from a table that had just been set up on the platform. Luggage (and bikes) had to be taken to the guards van at the rear and lifted from ground level, 4 feet up into the carriage. We collected our tickets and then it was "All aboard!"