Bluff to home on roads less travelled
Two bikes, two children, two adults and two beloved toys made it into Blenheim yesterday more than six weeks after they left Bluff.
Dave and Rachel Monk and their sons Dylan, three, and Lewis, 22 months, have travelled the length of the South Island in a twist on a summer camping holiday.
The Monks, both nurses at Wairau Hospital, have completed several cycling trips together, so last year they started taking their sons with them on smaller trips to see if it was feasible to complete more than 1300 kilometres with the youngsters in tow.
Mr Monk said it was great to see, smell and be immersed in some of New Zealand's less travelled roads.
They mainly camped at Department of Conservation sites but also slept where they found suitable accommodation, which one night meant sleeping in the cricket pavilion in Luggate.
With two youngsters, the Monks ensured the trip was "kiddie-friendly" by having regular breaks, travelling to playgrounds and stopping in places to swim and spend time doing activities.
This also meant strapping in their sons' favourite toys, a teddy bear and a duck, to keep them happy.
"It was a really special time with the family," Mr Monk said.
It was amazing how little they needed to survive, with each parent towing about 40 kilograms, including one child each, he said.
"It's shown us what's important in life, as you can get by without the material things."
Mrs Monk said watching sunsets and meeting locals were the highlights of the trip for her. The hardest part was the hills, particularly Haast Pass.
Their good fitness meant they were well prepared for the trip, she said. No-one was injured, but both bikes suffered punctures.
Arriving in Blenheim yesterday afternoon, Mr Monk said they were looking forward to not queuing for toilets and to some home-cooked meals.
Dylan said it was his toys and his friends he was looking forward to the most.
The Monks are already planning another family trip, cycling around the world when the boys are older.
The Marlborough Express