Civilisation does some weird things to you when you've been wandering around in the middle of nowhere for weeks.
We crave it as we get close to it. Junk food. Booze. Flat whites. The news.
But we're getting more and more disillusioned with it all as we move up the island.
Queues. Junk food. Tourists (we're tourists). The news. They're all becoming more difficult to digest with each stop.
We want to leave almost as soon as we get there. We'd spent only a few hours in Wanaka.
Are we becoming anti-social? Snobs?
I don't think so. I think we're missing home, and civilisation just reminds us of the comforts we don't and can't have. At the same time the usually beautiful backcountry and its huts has become our other home. A perfectly acceptable replacement.
So it was with trepidation that we cycled off to Twizel. It was a great ride that seemed almost impossibly fast.
A little bit of road soon turned to lakeside track. We went for a bit of a dip in Lake Ohau, amongst the didymo, then powered on to the hydro canals.
It was another day of contrasts. The canals are an outstanding example of our ability to control the environment.
The wilding pines - the only trees anywhere and sprouting everywhere - were a sad reminder of how we're failing miserably to look after it.
The colours were overwhelming. We knew the sky would be blue and the grass would be golden and the mountains would be ochre and the rivers, canals and lakes would be deep turquoise. We were expecting it. But we'd only driven through it, or seen it on TV. We'd never moved through it at a human speed.
It was harsh. Hot. And almost dead.
Every few hundred metres or so we'd bike past trout fishers. Sitting in the shade of their R.V.s while their rods did all the hard work.
Then the canal salmon farm rolled into view. It's an efficient looking operation with Seagulls, Shags and more trout fishers trying to get an easy feed alongside.
At this stage it became clear that we were on the wrong side of the canal.
If we were walking it would have been a disaster. But the four kilometre detour over a bridge only took a few minutes. We realised that our bikes were actually time machines.
Twizel kind of appeared on the side of the road shortly after.
It was time to find somewhere to stay. First and most obviuos stop the campground.
We were greeted with almost total disinterest from the guy who looked like he was in charge.
We could have a look around sure.
"No. The kitchen doesn't have an oven."
We asked if we could take one of the free tourist maps sitting on the counter. You know the kind...every town has them. They're plastered with ads and sit on the desks of most tourist outfits. They show you where to find toilets, libraries, i-sites...other camping grounds.
"You can only have one if you book a tent site."
Welcome back to civilisation.
We went and found a really nice backpackers across town.