Tour Aotearoa – Day 2.6

After being in civilisation we had popped to the shop and were able to get some eggs and an avo for breakfast, so rather than the usual porridge sachet with hot water, we went all out. James had a breakfast burrito with eggs, ham, cheese, and avo and I had avo and cheese on leftover garlic naan from the Indian takeaway.

In a sad twist of events, after rescuing Steggy a few days ago, I realise this morning whilst attaching him to the front of my bike that his tail has broken! Not overly sure where the end is either…

We pack up and set off. Not before a lady from the room next to us (not the noisy ones, the other side) comes running after me as I’d left my gloves on the fence. DOH! I then drop the apple that is shoved into my food bag on the floor… DOH! Followed by the sun cream and bug spray, DOH! It wasn’t a good start to the day that’s for sure.

We were riding the West Coast Wilderness Trail, which was following the coast south, but doing that annoying thing that path planners like to do, instead of making it a nice straight line, they put bends and weaves in it so you nearly crash into people going around the corner as they’re taking the most straight route possible.

Eventually we leave the coast and head slightly in land, the path heads through dense forest which is beautiful, not only because it’s green and lush, but because it’s in the shade!!!

The path takes us past a few lakes which are beautiful with the mountains in the distance. We cycle past a friend from homes’ doppelgänger (Jim, it was 100% Greg, had the green bike like his old Commencal, bum bag, black helmet, it was Greg!)

The path stayed wide for a bit where we met some oncoming cyclists. Most were friendly and said hi and smiled. James and I joked that people need to get their kids into cycling from a young age, or they will look as grumpy as some of the kids being dragged along did! One group of about 15 riders just didn’t care and were cycling along both side of the track, they’d seen us as it was a wide open stretch, and still decided to ride where they were and not move over 😑 needless to say a few choice words were used.

The water beside us was so clear, we’d never seen anything like it. This section was 1.5-2m deep and just looked like a puddle. It blew our tiny little brains.

Eventually we made it to the small town of Kumara where we stopped for a coffee and a pie. It’s always a sign of how remote you are with the cost of a pie, $6.90 in Kumara! Jeepers! We sat at a table outside and joined a couple who were sat there. Turns out they’re from Christchurch, late 50/ early 60’s, don’t do any road cycling but love cycle trails on their ebikes. (Who’d have thought that if you build a safe place for people to ride their bikes they’d come – SARCASM!)

Off we went, to continue on the next leg. We see in the distance a swarm of something flying, I don’t know why or even if NZ has locusts but that’s what I thought it was. No no, turns out it was a swarm of bees! We zip past them with no stings (which is lucky as James has quite the dramatic reaction to stings!)

The next part of the trail is real fun and flowy, but down to about single track width, you really wouldn’t want to meet anyone coming fast in the opposite direction! Thankfully we didn’t and just had a really good time riding through.

Most of the trail is much of the same. A bit of climbing, a bit of bush, a bit of open 4WD track but it was all pretty enjoyable. Eventually we make it to ‘the switchbacks’ that I was told about as they were ‘pretty fun’. Can confirm, they are.

We make it to Cowboy Paradise, which is pretty much in the arse end of nowhere, some wooden accommodation blocks with a restaurant too. We get there and there’s another group of riders who are just about to set off. They let us know that they were waiting for service for around 20 minutes and in the end just left. We hang around for 5 minutes waiting to see if they staff member wondering around is going to come over as he’s tinkering with the accommodation blocks, nothing so we set off again.

We start to descend to the river below, the scenery is beautiful, with the hills, river and just so much green. There’s a bench so we stop and make a sandwich. certainly going to miss these cheese, spinach and chippie sandwiches when this is all over.

The path wiggles around and descends further. James being James decides to race me and takes the straight line.

We get to the river and filter some water as we’ve run out. It’s freezing cold! But nice and refreshing.

Off we go, up and down a 4WD track and eventually pop out beside a lake which we weren’t expecting. It was beautiful. Until we were bitten by sandflies!

The last part of the track into Hokitika was boring and on the road, but they were mostly quiet, so can’t complain. We make it to the photo point then decide if we should continue on to Ross, as planned, or quit here. James still is lacking motivation, so we decide to call it a night here.

We google some places for dinner and settle on pizza. Cycle to the pizza place only to find out it’s closed. THANKS GOOGLE! We look at some other places but nothing really takes our fancy, so we go to the chippie. I order 2 fish and half a scoop of chips, as usually half a scoop of chips is enough to feed us both for a week! Not this time… it’s about 6 chips. We head to the beach and eat it there whilst being eaten by mossi’s.

Back to the room, via the supermarket to pick up some uncle Bens rice and microwave fresh veg, and a delightful meal is served….

I wash our clothes in the sink, note, this turns out to be a rookie error as the next morning they’re still soaking wet and we’re sat here at 9.30 waiting for them to be tumble dried…

The adventure continues…

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