South Canterbury primary school teacher Andrew Oliver had the Haast Pass road almost to himself yesterday. Photo by Mark Price.
In driving rain, on a road littered with tree branches and
covered in places with waist-deep gravel, a cyclist was
probably the last thing road maintenance crews expected to
But Andrew Oliver, a teacher of 9- and 10-year-old children
at Waimate Main School, thought nothing of it.
The rain he took in his stride, the hills he seemed to be
enjoying and, as for the slips, he simply got off and pushed.
Mr Oliver's adventures began soon after setting out from his
South Canterbury home more than a week ago.
He crossed Arthurs Pass just in time to find the Wanganui
Bridge at Harihari, south of Hokitika, washed out.
At some point, and in circumstances he did not wish to
elaborate on, a friendly man in a digger swung Mr Oliver and
his bicycle across the chasm left by the washout.
That presented him with several hundred kilometres of
relatively straightforward cycling - until he reached Haast.
Unaware of what the rain was doing to the rivers and
hillsides along the Haast Pass, he set out yesterday morning
for Makarora and, in more circumstances he did not wish to
elaborate on, was not halted by various obstacles he
Safely past his last major obstacle, a 50m slip at the Gates
of Haast Bridge, he headed towards Wanaka.