Australian Tourist Seriously Injured in Paintball Driveby in Hanmer Springs – “VintageTourer”

An Australian tourist has sustained a serious eye injury whilst cycling in Hanmer Springs.

The man was hit in the eye by a paintball pellet whilst travelling along Hanmer Springs Road – State highway 7A – on Friday evening. He was taken to hospital and admitted for treatment. Had he not been wearing sunglasses he would have been blinded.

According to New Zealand news reports

Before the incident he had noticed a vehicle travelling towards him, which then passed after he fell off his bike.

Police said they were making enquiries about a white or light coloured van, and were checking surveillance cameras.

The man had been intending to cycle to Nelson via Hamner Springs.

“It was a day of firsts for me,” he said.

“It was the first time I’ve ridden 140km in a day on a loaded bike, and the first time I’d been shot in the eye. It’s really odd to have ridden 140km for the first time, and then end up in the same spot you started in a wheelchair.” source

The netizens of know the victim and have identified him as Graham Smith from Canberra, who had recently retired. His screen name is VintageTourer. source  and more here.

This blog about his NZ trip may be found here Shaky Island Shorthaul. We wish him a full recovery.

Mr Smith has extensive cycling touring experience overseas and in Australia. He has traversed the Australian outback without incident.

Cycle Tours
May-Nov 1979: London to Haifa (Israel) via England, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece
Dec 1980: Bundanoon-Kangaroo Valley-Kiama-Robertson (NSW Australia)
May 1981: Kosciuszko National Park circuit (NSW Australia)
Aug 1981: Tamworth to Myall Lakes via Barrington Tops (NSW Australia)
Dec 1981: Bombala-Bega valley return (NSW Australia)
May 1982: Canberra-Khancoban-Omeo-Albury via Great Dividing Range backroads (ACT, NSW, Vic Australia)
Aug 1982: Albury-Bright-Albury inc Mt Buffalo summit (Vic Australia)
Dec 1982: Beechworth-Bright-Kiewa and King river valleys (Vic Australia)
April 1983: Macquarie River valley circuit from Milthorpe, Bathurst and Hill End (NSW Australia)
Mar-Sep 1989: Istanbul-Oxford via western Turkey, Crete, Rhodes, Santorini, Kythera, mainland Greece, Italy and France
(1980-1989: annual, week-long cycle tours, organised with teacher colleagues, for large groups of secondary students,NSW and Vic Australia)
May 2011: Canberra to Sydney (Australia – ACT/NSW)
Sep 2011: Tarago to Kiama (Australia – NSW)
Sep-Oct 2012: Canberra to Melbourne (Australia – ACT/NSW/Vic)
March 2013 Goulburn to Penrith (Australia NSW)
July 2013 Kununurra to Derby Gibb River Road (Australia WA)

Comments from

Unfortunately NZ has it’s bogans too. Canterbury….especially South Canterbury is Boganville Central.

“Don’t know if I’d call it a new low…..the bogans of Canterbury have always scraped the bottom of the barrel. As far as general intelligence goes the Adelaide Hills bogans have a slight edge over their NZ counterparts.”

It is the second occasion this season when a vacationer has been hit by an object from a passing vehicle in New Zealand… see below.

The Death of Rutger Hale

A few days ago police said they’d made some progress in identifying the “mystery object” thought to have been thrown from a passing white ute (pick up truck) which killed 22 year old motorist Rutger Hale.

Mr Hale, a seasoned world traveller, had recently completed an American road trip without incident. He was driving with his girlfriend Danielle Oylear near Lake Hawea, Wanaka, in New Zealand when he was struck by the object. It was large enough to leave a first sized hole in the windscreen.

Chances are the object was a beer bottle that fragmented on impact, or a rock. It won’t have been the first time beer bottles thrown by hoons have caused injury in New Zealand. Read Tauranga Grandmother In Coma After Bottle Attack.