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! 🚽 I end up talking to a lady from Brisbane 🇦🇺, who is on a coach tour of New Zealand. Not sure about having to wear a name badge! 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”. I felt like saying, you need to get out more!
What great roads. It’s a well-used scenic highway, so no surprise money spent here. Predominantly the roads are very good. Only negative on the bike, the tar is a bit course at times 😵
I pull off down a dirt lane. Tempted by a sign to the Curly Tree Whitebait Company. Whitebait 🐟 in an egg 🥚 omelette, on sliced 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. So no complain’y from me!
I stop for the night at Shipwreck Creek. No shipwrecks, only a creek! Sand flies 🦟 looking all shiny with my layer of Baby oil and Dettol. Let the battle commence!
Dinner prepared, with a generous helping of greens, onions along with the typical tuna and pasta ensemble.
After setting up camp, then realising the high-tide 🌊 might just reach me? With this, instead of uplifting camp (lazy!), 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 cleverest idea I’ve ever had, but then, I can say I’ve done it in New Zealand.
The views along the western coast are particularly special, but with that, comes some very big climbs ⛰️ An hour of climbing, descend in five minutes, then start all over again!
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 all to be hither. But also water to be had for washing, drinking and swimming. Once I’ve checked for a lack of fresh tyre tracks or any sign of humans 🤡 frequenting, I’m sure for a quiets nights rest.
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 mosquitos 🦟 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. Woof woof … 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. Detest them! Puncture repair performed, with the help from my folding bucket. New tube fitted to tyre, punctured tube mended and fitted under the saddle.
The western coast is definitely a wild one. Not the sort of beaches you’d want to spend the days sunning one’s self on.
In the distance a solitary 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. On a stroll down the West Coast of New Zealand! I inquired how long he’d been walking? Well, he said, “I started 42,000 km’s ago and I haven’t stopped”. Impressed I was.
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 ages or more and parted with greetings of hopefully catching up again somewhere.
My first rest day (after Cromwell) was at Fox Glacier. Ivory Towers backpackers being my haunt of choice. $20 seemed fairly hefty for a pitch, but when the pleasant Texan girl said the spa and sauna was 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 and far to many tourists!
The short twenty-five kilometres between the two glaciers was enough the following day. Some serious climbing was had ⛰️ Just the other side of the bridge lays my stealth camping spot outside Franz Josef.
In the morning, 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 🇧🇪 What an impressive machine and very well kitted out.
Not long after setting off in the morning, two maidens on their Johnny Uprights! Both from Melbourne 🇦🇺 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 bearing similar weights, hence, 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 at the lake. I locate a sweet spot off the main road. The actual camp spot can be viewed within my Google map below.
Hokitika town becomes quite a long stop for the afternoon as I search out the library for wifi. Once again, a immensely good library.
Leaving Hokitika late in the afternoon with my quota of water I’m soon searching for my evening camp spot. After what seems like an eternal search, up pops this beauty tucked behind land ‘for sale’ plots.
Trying to discover 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 a 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 your going to get wet on the West Coast. Not one day of rain for me. That must be a record for any cyclist here!
Photos shot with a Samsung EX1 24-72mm f/1.8.
The map is interactive. Click on the route or icons for detail.