Saturday, 7 May 2011

Cycling Days Nineteen to Twenty Three

Well a lot to catch up on really. We left Wanaka on a sunny autumn day on 12th April and I think that was the last time we saw the sun for any real period of time until Franz Josef! The first days cycling was lovely along Lakes Hawea and Wanaka to a place called Makarora in the middle of nowhere and somehow totally populated by Brits. We decided to conserve precious food resources by eating out at the bar, Gary's pasta meal seemed to mostly involve roast veg floating in a double cream lake, not the best pasta dish we've ever had, mine was nice! The possums were lively that night and the stars amazing as there is no artificial light at all out there.

The next day was the climb over Haast Pass which wasn't too bad, though the descent down the other side was quite hairy. We had an entertaining couple of minutes watching a camper van try to overtake a double length sheep wagon on a corner on what was probably a 1:5 drop. Excellent fun. The waterfalls were great coming off the cliffs at either side and the views of the bush covered mountains amazing, after 83km you do start to tire of them though. We camped that night at Haast, a small settlement near the sea and not near anything else, in the night the heavens opened and the rain didn't stop for about 24 hours. We stayed an extra day huddled by the wood burner in the camp kitchen.

The next day dawned overcast but sort of promising so we set off towards Fox Glacier with a couple of camping options. We made good time crossing the three hills at Knights Point and decided to skip Lake Paringa and it's sandfly infested camp site. The road was through bush most of the way and was really beautiful. We actually saw the coast at Bruce Bay, a fab place, really wild with masses and masses of driftwood. We arrived at a motel at Jacobs River mid afternoon and decided to stay there rather than tackle the last 36km to Fax Glacier. This was another really dark night in the middle of nowhere with a couple of miserable Germans for company. It started raining in the night...

We couldn't face another day in the wilds so set off for Fox the following morning in the rain. It never stopped, 36km of flat road have never seemed so long. We upgraded ourselves to a cabin when we arrived at Fox Glacier township in the hopes of drying out. This was a grand, centrally heated plan! The rain actually stopped in the afternoon

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