Haast 8th February 2013
After stocking up on supplies at the Haast township stores, along with a spot lunch, I head off up the West Coast glistening in the midday sun… Baby oil and Dettol!
Calling into the Haast visitor centre, not for the visitor experience, just the toilet!
Anyhow, I ended up talking to a lady from Brisbane, who was on a coach tour of New Zealand. Not sure about having to wear a name badge though!
She was horrified I was cycling ‘out there’, let alone doing it on my own. She said you’re the bravest person I’ve ever met. Felt like saying, you need to get out more!
The mouth of the Haast River.
I’m soon entering The Glacier Highway.
What great roads. It’s a well-used scenic highway, so no surprise money spent here. Generally the roads are very good.
I pull off down a dirt lane. Tempted by a sign to the Curly Tree Whitebait Company.
Whitebait in an egg omelette on white bread. Well worth a visit.
Good protein hit for the rest of the day. Temperatures are up, along with the humidity. No rain as yet though, so no complain’y from me!
Shipwreck Creek. Sadly, no shipwrecks, only a creek!
Camp set and a ‘wet’ on the go.
Looking all shiny with my layer of Baby oil and Dettol. Let the battle commence!
Dinner prepared, with a good helping of greens, onions along with the normal tuna and pasta ensemble.
After setting up camp, then realising the high-tide might just reach me? With this, instead of uplifting camp, I construct a defence barrage!
Sand flies were not too bad in the evening. I also take in an evening swim.
Come morning time they’re out in abundance. Baby Oil etc… works, just got to keep applying regularly, very regularly!
They’re bloody everywhere. I feel camping on a beach was not the wisest idea I’ve ever had, but then, I can say I’ve done it.
The views along the west coast are very special, but with that comes some very big climbs. An hour of climbing, descend in five minutes, then start all over again…. eecckk.
A pleasant surprise was these two young-guns happy for a chat. Then, David also rocks up with his stripey long socks!
I turn off on a dirt lane leading to the Mahitahi River from the small township of Bruce Bay. River, sand flies, mosquito’s, I expect them to be all to be here. But, also water to be had for washing, drinking and swimming.
Once I’ve checked for a lack of fresh tyre tracks. I’m sure for a quiets nights rest.
The enemy! Would’ve liked to’ve captured a photo of a sand fly, but they were all to busy draining me of blood!
And, yes, true to form, I’m greeted in the morning by the usual rain patter of sand flies trying to gain access and attendance of oxygen doped mosquito’s. I say rain patter, as that’s what it sounds like, ‘it’s raining’.
The bikes loaded up in the morning and I’m off. Woop woop… NO… ? A flat front tyre.
I’m not concerned about the flat, it’s the aggro I’m about to endure from the sand flies as I set about mending the puncture. Hate them!
The west coast is most certainly a wild one. Not the sort of beaches you’d want to spend the days sunning one’s self on.
I cycle from one National Park to another.
In the distance a lonely figure approaches on foot. Even before the gentleman opens his mouth I knew he’s an ex-naval-military man. It’s the tattoos.
It’s Mr.Robin Moore. As you do, a stroll down the West Coast of New Zealand!
I asked him how long he’d been walking, Well he said I started 42,000 km’s ago and I haven’t stopped. Impressed I was. Here’s his website; robin-moore.co.uk
At the time of meeting Robin I think he was walking for Cancer Research. He’s also walked for many other charities; Cornwall Hospice Care, Macmillan Cancer Relief to name a few.
What’s even more interesting is he lives in the same county as me; Cornwall.
We chatted for what felt like thirty minutes or more and parted with greetings of hopefully catching up again somewhere.
A young German making bread…. as you do at a backpackers!
My first rest day was at Fox Glacier. Ivory Towers backpackers being my place of choice. $20 seemed fairly hefty for a pitch, but when the nice Texan girl said the spa and sauna is included, it was a no-brainer.
My long overdue rest-day is spent; cleaning clothes, visiting the Kiwi Post to send bit’s’n’pieces back to the UK and a brief visit to Fox Glazier.
Bit of a damp squib the glacier was and far to many tourists!
The short twenty-five kilometres between the two glaciers was enough for the following day. Some serious climbing to be had.
Just the other side of the bridge lays my stealth camping spot outside Franz Josef.
I called first into the Franz Josef D.O.C office.
As I leave, another cyclist, this time on a recumbent. Adrien Cassiers is from Brussels, Belgium.
Catch his blog here: My World Tour on Streetmachine
Not long after setting off in the morning two more maidens on their Jonny Uprights! Both from Melbourne, Australia.
And there’s more, a young German couple. I tag along with them for most of the day.
I struggle though to keep up with their pace. We all look to be carrying similar weights, so must be their youth!
We all stop for lunch. Enduring the continual attention from sand flies. Give us a break!
The young couple stop for the night at Lake Lanthe. I motor on a bit further though as the sand flies are in force here. Still water lake, will do it!
I find a sweet spot off the main road. The actual camp spot can be viewed with-in my Google map below.
Car number plate house perhaps?
Hokitika becomes quite a long stop for the afternoon as I search out the library for the wifi. Once again, a very good library.
Whitebait is very popular round these parts.
Leaving Hokitika late in the afternoon with my quota of water I’m soon searching for my evening camp spot.
After what seems like a never-ending search, up pops this beauty tucked behind land for sale house plots.
Trying to locate wooded areas using a normal roadmap doesn’t suffice. Now, in hindsight, looking either on Google Maps or similar would make the search easier.
Greymouth is quite a non-distinct town. It’s grey!
The Maori’s had lived in Greymouth for considerable time before European settlement. Greymouth has a steep history of coal and gold mining.
A lot of Cornish (English) tin miners immigrated to this area in the 18th century to chase the coal and gold seams.
I’d been repeatedly told you’re going to get wet on the West Coast. Not one day of rain for me. That must be a record for any cyclist here. Happy Days.
Greymouth 16th February 2013 – 299 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.