West Coast

From Haast to Greymouth

We aren’t early birds on this trip. When we left the holiday park in Haast it was 11 am already. After one kilometer we stopped at the visitor center and met a German couple who are riding on a bike around New Zealand, Stefan and Claudia from Berlin. They started their trip on the North Island it was good to exchange our experience on the route. We pay a quick visit to the exhibition in the visitor center about the environment at Haast Pass. Then we cycled over a long bridge to cross the Haast River and followed the State Hwy 6 along the coastline. We barely saw the sea next to the road is a rain forest. We camped at Lake Paringa (DOC).

On 9th January we came to Bruce Bay one of New Zealand most beautiful beaches. We had a late lunch break at Copland River. We took water from the river for cooking and stayed on the stones of the riverbed. I wanted to stay longer and start building rock towers. Yen agreed and we setup the tent. I builded four rock towers I like this diversion it helps me to find my inner peace, I think so because focus on the rocks and finding out the right position to stack the stones.

From Copland River we cycled to Fox Glacier. After arrival in the holiday park at Fox Glacier we did our laundry and cooking. Yen forced me to visit the glacier tonight. We left the campground at 7 pm and cycled to the glacier, there is a nice cycle path through rain forest that took us to the car park, from there we had to walk half hour to see the glacier. The walk is kind of dangerous because of rocks who may fall down from the mountains and waterfalls everywhere who can rise quickly at rain and flood the path. The sky was overcast but it suited well in the landscape around the glacier. From the glacier we saw only a small part. If you want to walk on it you have to pay for a guided tour. Before we left Fox Town we went to the “Mirror Lake” on the next morning. Unfortunately we couldn’t see the reflections of the mountains but we had a nice walk around the lake. It started to rain and we cycled to Franz Josef Glacier. We had to climb three times on a very steep road. It was rainy and cooled down to 12 C. We were very happy when we reached the Four Square. Since Wanaka we haven’t been in a real supermarket only small shops. We cycled further to Lake Mapourika and camped on a DOC campground. It rained all night but it kept dry in our new tent. From Lake Mapourika we went to Okarito only 16 km. Yen decided to go there. The weather turns better, we had a nice view on a lagoon. We spent the afternoon on the campsite at Okarito, it’s behind the beach.

We planed to leave early from Okarito to go to Pukekura Lodge but we had to do some maintenance on our bikes, we left at 11 am, we always leaving so late (between 10 and 12 am). It was 7 pm when we arrived at Pukekura Lodge, we cycled 81 km. Nobody was there but a sign shows that we can camp for 10 $ per person and use kitchen and shower. I got a sore throat and drank lots of tea. The next morning I didn’t felt good, I think I caught a cold. After lunch break in Ross I felt really bad but I wanted keep going till Hokitaka, a bigger town. On this day we met three other bike traveller and all of them stopped and asked how I am and felt sorry that I got a cold and they stayed away from me. In Hokitaka we went to the library to use computer, last time we used a computer was more then three weeks ago in Geraldine. After shopping in Hokitaka we wanted to go to a campsite close to town, but the river lodge was full and the holiday park next to a big factory and cost to much. We went further to Lake Kaniere where is a DOC campsite, it’s 20 km from Hokitaka. We arrived at 9 pm. I was totally tired, Yen had to setup the tent.

I was sick the next day, I couldn’t do anything, I didn’t want to eat, I just felt pain in my limbs and had headache. I wanted to stop the pain and send Yen to get me paracetamol (we didn’t had any medicine with us). She asked other campers but was not successful. She cycled the 20 km back to Hokitaka and came back with the medicine after one tablet the pain was gone and I felt better. The next day it was raining and we stayed in the tent. I got pain in my back of lying in the tent all day, I sayed to myself tomorrow no matter how bad the weather is I will go on my bike. The weather was good the next day, no rain, perfect for bike riding. We followed the West Coast Wilderness Trail. We had a beautiful ride through a valley then we climbed up Kawhaka Pass (317m). The way went gentle uphill on serpentine, it looks like a maze. I still got sore throat but with the sunshine I felt better. The trail was nice but gravel all the time and we were slow. From Kumara we went on the highway to arrive faster in Greymouth. Yen let me cycle in her wind shadow. It was 8 pm when we arrived at the top10 holiday park in Greymouth.

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