Haast Pass

From Omarama to Haast

From Omarama we stopped following the Alps2Ocean trail because we wanted to go straight to Wanaka. Therefore we had to cycle on the Highway, it was busy with holiday traffic. We climbed up Lindis Pass over 900m high, after the summit it went 30 km downhill. We did a 6 km detour on a gravel road to get to a free campsite. It has historic buildings and ruins, a rustic place. We had a bath in the river close by and felt very good after. The last day of 2014 started with rain and didn’t stop till midday. We went on the Highway to Wanaka and had strong headwind. The wind became so strong that we had to push our bikes. It was only 25 km but we had a speed of 5 km/h. I was thinking maybe we will not arrive this year in Wanaka. Yen wished that somebody could give us a lift. Her wish came true, a bus with young fellas stopped and took us to the center of Wanaka. That was our only lift in New Zealand, all the other way we did on our bikes. Wanaka was full of people who came for New Year’s celebration. It started to rain and got very windy so we stayed in the tent and went so sleep, we don’t mind the party.

We met Andy from Italy again he stayed at the same holiday park in Wanaka. In Wanaka we looked for a new tent because the poles of our cheap Kmart tent got broken. We found my dream tent, 2,5 m long, 2 entries, waterproof and 3 kg of weight for only 200 $. From Wanaka we cycled the outlet track along Lake Wanaka. It was a lovely sunny day and people were everywhere along the lake. We went to Albert Town Campground not far away from Wanaka. It’s a big campground at the river for 7 $ per person but without showers. We started the next day on the Hawea River Track. After one kilometer we saw the preparations for a Rodeo. We decided to watch the Rodeo, we haven’t seen one before. It was a nice place for a Rodeo we were sitting on the grass and got entertained all day. After the Rodeo we went back to the same campground in Albert Town.

When we left Albert Town we wanted to reach Makarora in one day, but when we cycled along the Hawea River Track I felt weak and to stop often. So we couldn’t go that far today and made only 16 km to Lake Hawea. Here we had a big ice cream, it was TipTop of course. We camped in a Holiday Park by the lake. From Lake Hawea we came back to Lake Wanaka again by crossing “The Neck” a half kilometer wide spot where is Lake Hawea on the right and Lake Wanaka on the left side. We camped at Boundary Creek a campsite of the Department of Conservation. We liked that place so much that we decided to stay here another day.

From Boundary Creek we went to Pleasant Flat another DOC campsite. In this area around Haast Pass wild camping is forbidden (200 $ fine) therefore you find the cheap and basic campsites provided by the government. Makarora is only a small village with an expensive grocery store but we had to buy some food the next opportunity is in Haast. We visited the Blue Pools, we let our bikes at the road and walked there, it’s a nice walk and we saw a very clear pool, some people went swimming there. The road over Haast Pass is full of discoveries we saw several waterfalls and build our first stone tower (cairn) together. On top of Haas Pass (570 m) we went up to the lookout and had a clear view, usually it’s raining here a lot (5000mm is the average rainfall per year). At the campsite were heaps of sandflies their bites are incredible itchy.

On the way from Pleasent Flat to Haast we stopped at Billy Falls. The riverbed is very wide here and full of stones. I build a tall rock tower. It was 8 pm when we arrived in Haast and we were very tired, we stayed in the holiday park. After a month we watched TV for the first time.