West coast and tired
Trip Start Oct 12, 2011
74Trip End Aug 07, 2012
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The Wet Coast as it’s described in the book is a badge of honour for those in the know, well we didn’t know! We are to be challenged mentally and physically mmmm my favourite type of challenge. The wind the rain the climbs are insane, then the wet bed (because of rain), wet tent (rain), and my best friends sand flies, and camp craft food for 10 days yummy. So here is our experience enjoy.
Greymounth – past Hokitika, Lake Mahinapua Doc camp site. 52km
A great day sunshine nice clear roads hardly a hill to climb seeing as we are by the coast, sun on our backs and wind in our sails, our first stop today is the traditional start for the coast to coast taking in Arthurs pass a chance to dip our hands in the a Tasman sea an end to our coast to coast but a true start to our west coast ride
Lake Mahinapua DOC Camp site – before Hari Hari Lake Ianthe Doc 50km
First stop this morning is a small mega gold town called ROSS Town. This is the town that found the largest golden nugget in NZ it was bought for $400 back in the day. It now sits on the table in Buckingham Palace given to King George as a present it was named by the Lads at the mine as Honourable Roddy not after the man who found it but after the mine master. The town itself was only recently suggested to be sitting on over $700 million dollars’ worth of gold I think the township of 300 might have to move. We set off with only 1 gas bomb to cook luckily Ross town had the facilities so we now have 2 yippee. Scenic delights views of Mt Cook and later of the lake side camp site we arrive at 4.30 so sun bathe the afternoon away its so hot in the sun kit dry we go to sleep. Great day.
Lake Ianthe doc – Whataroa 50km
First thing different to yesterday is that it’s super raining not Cumbrian rain I might add but Forrest Gump wet rain no less. So we decided to get to HARI HARI 15km morning warm up ride to decide what the weather was going to do. There is super coffee and cake at the local shop so definitely stop if you can. After the cake the rain had slowed down enough, in front of us lays the 'Hill Hercules’ the name itself scared us enough but we went for it, what a climb we pushed the first step. But there after our legs spun all the way up a real pleasant climb as for the decent it was poncho on and blast, it was possibly the best decent I have ever had maybe not the fastest because it was wet and the corners suggested cars should drive at 25km an hour we were nearly breaking that speed round them!! The decent was never ending 2km climb 4.5km decent how nice, not far now 20k in the rain to Whataroa and when we arrive there is nothing there. I mean we are 31km from Franz Josef glacier where everyone stops so do we carry on? well we ponder for a while the pub hotel is fully booked with contractors for a month the only other option is a private unit or shed as I call it. $60 for a night we head into the wind out of town its 4.30 evening we’ve done a nice 50k were planning on doing 30 more to get to FJ we are met in the first km by a sheet of rain ooops this has totally soaked us in no time
Whataroa to Franz Joseph Glacier Township – 31km
Perfect weather today nice ride quite roads, these are old roads! (maybe resurfaced 3 yrs ago) and this means that there worn smooth better for cycling. All the other roads in NZ have been meticulously resurfaced last week or sometime this year (I mean all of them) and the gravely surface shakes you about like nothing else. I havnt seen a badly surfaced road in NZ I wish theyd stop and focus on Earthquake damage. Anyway this section was a blast and a nice days ride to FJ we arrived in civilisation thank god the only ATM in the next 150km
The next day after a bad night’s sleep in a smelly room perhaps it was the occupants! We thought it would have been better to have camped oh but we were so wrong the heavens opened at 9.30 as if on request! The rain was epic and didn’t stop all day I only went outside for fresh air and to test gens rain jacket I walked around the block to find it really didn’t work there was no hope for the pac a mac why had we brought it all this way?? Well to include with last night’s TV viewing we were about to sit through another viewing of ‘Lord of the Rings’ this is the 3rd time I have watched the 3rd one and second time for each of the others and that’s just while being in NZ that’s enough for me! No more!
Met a lady today who was also cycling cut this story quick, but she had been hit by a farm truck the wing mirror 100km into the back of her head (helmet) on a straight piece of road elbow cut to the bone sore back and head obviously. The guy thought he’d clipped a road sign not a person, scary
Franz Josef to Fox Glacier Township 23km with extra 10km side trip to FJ glacier on the way!
Today our last real chance to keep on track with our riding plan and go see the glacier at FJ while also riding to Fox in the afternoon, so morning rainy cold ride to the glacier where the rain stopped and hopefully from the photos you can get an idea of how lucky we really were to see the glacier so clear. We walked to peters pond then the glacier view point, then hurried back to collect our bags from town. We set up at 1pm from our hostel left town got about 3km out of town and well I thought it had rained yesterday but this was something else in the space of 100m the water had penetrated all our defences to the skin wet through it was a strange feeling to feel the wet cold just get through everything in 10 seconds. It was snowing higher up I expect but I couldn’t look up. It was just the brain freeze on my forehead that ached so badly I wasn’t sure if we were going to make it 20km to go up 3 of the most major climbs on our whole trip we had already lost feeing in our hands and feet we arrived at the foot of the first climb 5km into our trip to fox. Well suck it up and get to the other side of the first hill…. magically (as if you can imagine it) by the end of this ride we were actually dry and well warm not only was the sun shining but because we were met on the last climb (the biggest climb by far) by 6 men from Australia riding aided so without pannier bags to carry
Mon 26th Mar. Fox town glacier rest day. 24km and some hours of walking
Today we visited Lake Matherson, on the way we met a guy who gave us come good advice of where to get the photo of the whole gloacier pretty much, and wow it was worth the extra distance.the views were spectacular. After soaking up the atmosphere we headed to Lake Matherson, this is where you can get an almost perfect reflection of the mountains in the water. But the clouds had very slowly crept over the tops, but it was still a great little walk and we still got some good photos. Here we found the most beautifull mushrooms, they were blue, bright blue. We spent ages trying to get some good photos of them. After some lunch we headed up to fox glacier, it was a gorgeous ride through jungle away from the road, and it really is jungle, wet and louchious. Ferns and lichen attach to every living thing making the trees look fury. This is defiantly where they got the inspiration for ‘fern gully’. I felt like I was in the film exploring the trees. This is a magical forest. We arrived at the car park for the glacier and wondered our way up. This glacier is much more rewarding to get to and feels slightly more out there as you have to cross a couple of streams etc. bt when we got to the end of the track we could see a blue cave where the river is flowing out, and you can see all the blue cravases etc really close
Tuesday 27th march fox to lake paringa 70k
Today the roads were hard, long straights, no real climbs, Dan got a flat towards the end of the day and the sand flys interrupted our lunch by the sea. We felt pretty strong still at 50km but the last 20km were hard – fast pase due to flat, flat tyre for dan and the rain set in, but luckly didn’t down pour until we got to our campsite and under some shelter. The DOC camp site was very picturesk, and the camp ground was by the lake. Funny thing was there was a sign past our camp area away from the lake, saying that during periods of heavy rain the lake can flood to this point, so that would mean our tent would be under 2m of water!!! I hope its not so waterproof we don’t know about It until 2m under!! It was raining prety hard, cooked in the tent and as it was still pouring down, snuggled into our next book, ‘catch me if you can’. And mixing chocolate with our custard powder and bananas uuu,mmmmmm
Wednesday 28th Lake Paringa to Haast township 50km
What a fantastic ride, scenery changes every 5km, from windswept beachs to thick jungle, to telephone line poles made out of whole trees, they were all sorts of wonky ones, it was brill
Headed off to Hast township and had the worst fish and chips in the world, they live by the sea we had frozen fish and French fries!! Ahhhhhhhh we were so looking forward to it. Oh well got into our camp site and cooked again as that food was little more than a starter. Chilled in the eveing.
Thursday 29th Haast to Pleasant Flat 47km
What a day!!! An apsolute stunner, in scenery and weather. We followed a glaciel river up the velley again through jungle and admitiring snow capped mountains
Friday 30th Pleasant Flat to Boundary Creek doc camp site 46k via Haast Pass
Woke up to another fantastic serving of yep you gussed it porridge!
Sat 31st Boundary Creek to Wanaka town 48km
The hardest most arduas ride yet for many reasons- many ups and less downs while feeing down and tired
but now im here ive worked it out all i want is a blithering BATH hot water in a plasic bin for me to wind away my riding sores!!!!!!!!! dam i miss you all so much !! wish you were all here to sort me a bath!!! jokes aside by the 11th hill on the last day I really needed you all thanks for being you and being there when im there and even when im not......Dan
A great personal test for us both one day our world journy will be a triumph when we look back on the things we saw a great time was had.... hope you enjoy our story so far....