Tour Aotearoa – Day 2.5

After the horrid ride of yesterday, today was going to be sweet. 60km on the road followed by how ever much we fancied on a cycle trail. Winner.

We got ready early (shock horror!) covered ourselves in bug spray and suncream and set off. It was a bitterly cold morning, we got about 20m (yes, meters) down the road before stopping at the dairy for a pie

Off we went past farms and beautiful countryside, it was nice to be spinning the legs and actually going somewhere, unlike yesterday. The mountains in the distance, hills in front, it was beautiful.

We mooooooved on through the hills past all the fields of cows. At one point there was a herd being let out into the field with a Jersey in front of all the Friesians, who decided she wanted to try and race us. Think Andrew Cotter commentary. It was mildly amusing.

(Not the same field of cows)

We pass the Pike River memorial, which cycling through these parts where there is literally nothing, you can really understand why the Pike mining disaster was such a huge thing for these families and communities.

Up and down we went, eventually making it to Brunner, another old mining area, where there was still a bridge, which of course I forced James to cycle across with me.

Finally we made it to Greymouth, we hunted out the local bike shop as we needed a new bike lock as ours had started to jam, not bad considering we got it when we first came to New Zealand 5 years ago! And stopped off at a cafe.

James really wasn’t feeling the love of cycling, so we decided to call it quits for the day and have a rest day in the sunshine.

We book a nights accommodation a little further down the coast so continue on along the start of the West coast wilderness trail, which passes a memorial for all mining victims in the area. I see all the names on one side and it’s so sad. I move a little further along and there’s another side of the monument full of names too.

We pass the photo point for this section of the tour, but don’t realise we followed the trail rather than turning off to the picture point, so, this was our attempted effort instead…

We make it to the coast, with the waves crashing on the shore, it’s beautiful

We check in, and James tinkers with the bikes as my front tyre keeps going down, apparently “it’s just the valve” but he fixes it anyway and we settle down for a nice chilled afternoon. We’ll ignore the fact I fell asleep and now have a slightly crispy back!

As we’re in civilisation, and as much civilisation as we’re going to get for some time, we decide to treat ourselves with a take away curry for dinner. So off we pop, with the tail fin.

A nice early night was rudely interrupted by the room next door who came in at gone 11pm banging and crashing around. James thumping on the wall soon shut them up and off to sleep we went dreaming about sunshine and tail winds.

The adventure continues…

2 thoughts on “Tour Aotearoa – Day 2.5

  1. Glad to hear you’ve had a better day at last. I’m keen to hear your views on the Wilderness trail. It should be better than the highway that’s for sure.

    IIRC the section out of Reefton often ranks as the most challenging for most TA riders. Not hard to see why unless you’re on a fully or at least have a suspension fork. Your face paints a very telling picture in that photo Vic.

    My top tip for the next most (potentially) “endlessly fun” section (Walter Peak to Centre Hill) is to grab a face mask or bandanna in Queenstown for the dust. Something with military grade Spec filtration…..

    I just went out and back from Te Anau to Mavora and covered some of this part. Three days later and I am still waking up with pale grey gummy eyes half stuck together with the fine dust from 200 vehicles towing boats and caravans going past at 80+ km/h. A scenic ride spoilt by the traffic and dust unfortunately. I also sliced open a tyre in my way out of Mavora too. It needed a boot and a tube. Good excuse for some new tyres!

    This is probably the last thing you want to hear Vic, as your love of gravel has been mentioned once or twice, but you want to psych yourself up for this section. The left hand or centre wheel track is generally okay to sit in but there are some Southland drivers that simply will not show down for you when they pass even on the gravel. I had a few rocks to the back of the leg and one that pinged off the front tyre from an oncoming vehicle the other day. The views are best before you get to Mavora and this section will have the least traffic too thankfully.

    Depending on where you’re planning to stop that night (? Mossburn) there are some primo camping spots before Mavora. It’s grazing land all through here but the land owner is cool with people making a quick basic camp if you’re caught out late in the day. One of these spots is an old hut with water tanks. It’s locked but there’s options to set up a tent easily enough. Sometimes there’s a family staying there for school holidays. They’re not going to turn down a request to fill up with water so check it out. I’ll send you a waypoint later.

    Christ I’ve written an essay….

    Happy pedalling champs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good tips Nigel! Thanks

      I think what pissed me off the most about big river was the amount you had to walk, just was not rideable at all. Grumble grumble. I’m over it now… just…

      We’ve got our face masks with us for the plane, they’re good old snug face ones with ties around the back rather than pulling your ears off so may be good to whip ‘em out!

      Hopefully see you when we’re heading through ‘your neck of the woods’


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