Cromwell 6th February 2013
After a couple of nights stop at my brothers in Cromwell, along with getting my barnet (hair) cut, I set forth towards the West Coast. No amount of people have told me, you’re going to get wet and bitten to hell… we shall see!
Running repairs are made to my Gaerne Vega cycling shoes.
These are over three years old and have continually being used on most days. Worn well.
A strong needle, a strong thumb and shoe thread, does the job.
The days are a lot hotter now, so that spring head of hair has to go!
In no time at all I’m meeting fellow bicycle warriors. More than I’ve met on my whole cycle travels in one day.
I’m always up for stopping a cyclist to chat, even though they might seem reluctant at times. I’m in no rush, but still some cyclists still seem to be in the fast lane of life even on a bicycle.
This young German had his front-rack held on with Jubilee clips (hose-clips). He started out further up the south island, but said he hated this cycle touring thingy and was looking forward to it to being over. I think more the case of struggling with a poor set-up. But, then he’s out there, so that’s what counts.
Never considered what latitude I may be on, so was a pleasant surprise to find the 45th parallel. Thanks to some Japanese tourists for taking the photo. How excited they were to help someone touring on a bicycle?
So that’s Central Otago cycled, and a good part of it covered too.
A brief stop to look at aircraft at Wanaka airfield, as pilots do.
After filling up with water at the airfield, it’s not long on the road until I find a perfect spot for the evening.
I’m getting rather good at this wild camping malarkey!
A sweet spot on the banks of the Cardrona River. Included was a pleasant evening walk down the dry riverbed.
The next day, a short stop-over in Wanaka.
It’s really a smaller version of Queenstown. A lot smaller, and far more pleasant, i.e un-populated!
Nice to see a touch of snow still on the peaks overlooking Lake Wanaka.
Before leaving Wanaka I call into the Department Of Conversation’s visitors centre. Superb information to be had and a place to book those mountain huts.
Lunch stop. Lake Hawea.
Soon I’m meeting more cycle tourists.
Here’s David (English). Travelling very light, on a road bike and a small back-pack as luggage. Not sure about the back-pack, each to their own.
David owns a bike shop in Cumbria, somewhere!
Following the shores of Lake Hawea.
Once more, another intrepid cyclist, Paul (English).
These guys do some high mileage per-day. 100 km’s plus. I don’t get anywhere near that… good!
Sometimes it’s worth just stopping and taking in the vista. As I step down onto the beach, who’s there, but David. Enjoying a crafty smoke!
Not far up the road after my collection of water from the local stores. I find my rest spot for the night. On what looks like a road builders gravel yard. Offers great views over Lake Wanaka though.
The morning soon serves up another couple of cyclists. Forgotten their names, but from the US. Again, travelling light’ish and putting the miles in per-day. Not like me!
Haast Pass has being talked about as a serious climb. Strange how it seemed over before it started. Must be me rolling those mountains into hills!
A stop is made for lunch, with what seems a tougher hike to the summit of Haast Pass’s lookout rather than the ride.
Something about a bridge over a gorge. It feels alive.
On reaching the other side of Haast Pass at Pleasant Flats I truly encounter the only real predator in New Zealand, Sand flies. And, boy, they’re in numbers, with a bite to boot.
I did initially look around the D.O.C campsite at Pleasant Flats, but seems the sand flies have an aversion to human habitation.
So, I soon scarpered off to find my own more peaceful setting further along the Haast River.
My mossie net soon became my best friend, especially in the mornings.
It becomes a true challenge in the mornings to attempt any kind of morning ablutions with sand flies around. I generally don’t win the battle, but I plan on winning the war!
Life is really sweet once back on the bike and away from The Sand Fly.
Downhill all the way following the tributary to the Haast Pass township.
Haast Pass has a well-stocked stores.
It’s here I learn from the guy in the stores on how to protect ones self from sand flies. Three quarter Baby Oil to one quarter Dettol. Soak this on a clean rag, leave in a bag, then apply liberally. Hey, at least if all else falls, I’m going to be soft and smell lush!
I stock up well from the stores and set about making my lunch on the bench outside.
Then, my worst enemy rocks up. A coach full of travelling young’uns! Generally gap-year-back-packers. Most totally ignore me as I’m looked on as some kind of vagrant and not to be approached. It’s either the bike, the hair or I smell like a hospital!
I soon pack up and leave the Kiwi Xperience to their own lifestyle and mine to mine.
The journeyman rides on.
Haast 8th February 2013 – 160 km’s
Wild/stealth camping spots can be viewed when zooming in on each location. Also, click on the icon for a photo and another click will open it up in Flickr
You can click on each photo in this the post for an enhanced Flickr view or the above Flickr slideshow for further photos for this post.