Westport - Wanaka (573kms)

Trip Start Aug 23, 2012
Trip End Aug 20, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Westport – Punakaiki – Hokitika – Hari-Hari – Franz Joseph = 280kms (4 days + 1 rest day)
Franz Joseph – Bruce Bay – Haast – Makarora – Wanaka = 293kms ( 4 days + 1 rest day)
Total: 940kms (14 days of cycling, 4 rest days)

From Westport, we set off down the west coast of the south island, through the rainforest, then back over the mountain range via the Haast Pass on our way to Queenstown where we are hoping for a few days of rest. It's kind of hard to write an interesting blog now as pretty much all we do is bike, eat, and sleep so I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking.

For those interested, this is how a cycling day normally pans out:

7:00AM: Alarm goes off. Mexican stand-off ensues to see who will be the first to move.
7:15AM: eat 2.5 portions of porridge each. Talk about how much we don’t like porridge.  Compare soreness. Drink a lot of coffee & tea. Eat 1/5th of a jar of peanut butter straight out of the tub (Jana)
8:15AM: pack our stuff. Mornings are not my strong point; Daryn has described my attempts at helping him pack up the tent as 'bordering on useless’.
9:00AM: start biking. As daryn is a morning person, he talks non-stop. NON-STOP! Despite eating so much porridge, I am normally hungry (and therefore angry) by 9:30AM. Bike bike bike…
10:45(ish)AM: break. Eat what we call granola bars but are actually more like chocolate bars with a few oat flakes. If we happen to be in a town and there is a café, we have cake - that’s the rule. If we’re doing over 60kms we’ll eat candy too.
11:00AM: bike bike bike.
1:00PM: Lunch. Eat like mad. We normally eat along the road where people can’t see us, our table manners are quite poor at the moment so it’s best to eat hidden away.
1:30PM: bike bike bike
3:00PM: if we’re going more than 60kms, we’ll have a break; this is also the time we like start complaining about what hurts the most, usually our butts. Jana is now awake and happy, Daryn starts to get grumpy.
4:00PM / 5:00PM: stop biking. Set up tent. Shower. Apply layer upon layer of diaper rash cream.
6:00PM: eat about 5 portions of food between the 2 of us in about 4 minutes.
7:00PM: head to the tent to ‘rest’
7:05PM: sleeping.

And occasionally, there is this:

2:00AM: Jana hears something in the bushes, is convinced it’s a person coming to kill us both and wakes Daryn to tell him this.
2:15AM: person turns out to be a small friendly possum.
2:16PM: sleeping.
7:00AM: alarm goes off…

With a schedule like this, you might think we get a bit delirious from time to time; we do. Below is a general breakdown of our topics of conversation, thoughts, and things we do while biking:

Predictions of wind / temperature / speed / distance (Daryn)
Arguing that all predictions are wrong (Jana)
Talking to livestock (it’s funny, sheep don’t take note of cars but the two of us on bikes are apparently quite terrifying).
Complaining about what hurts the most
Plotting against Mother Nature (Jana)
Talking to each other in bad Irish accents*
Repeatedly checking if the trailer tire is flat (Daryn)
Pressing all the up and down gear changers on both sides at the same time to see what happens (Jana).

*we’ve been watching an Irish TV series so spend at least an hour everyday repeating funny stuff from the show to each other in very bad Irish accents; I’m Fran and Daryn is ‘Niggy’. We also spend another full hour talking about what is going to happen next.

As you can see from the pictures, the scenery here is amazing, and so are the people; on the day we were due to cross the Haast Pass (an 84km day which started off with 50kms of ‘gentle uphill’, followed by a 14km climb to cross the pass at the top of the mountains, followed by a few more hills – just for good measure) we met two couples who offered to take all of our trailer and pannier bags (about 35kgs worth of gear) to our next campsite for us. We quickly handed over everything (clothing, food, netbook, passports) to them and set off – by that point we were beyond caring if they stole everything. 4 hours later we arrived at the campsite to cheers from our new friends; they saved us about 2 hours of biking and probably an aneurism each.

We are having an amazing time, though we’ve seen some pretty amazing things in our travels, never before have we been anywhere that has been as consistently beautiful as New Zealand has. If you haven’t already picked up on this – the biking is hard, but it is one of the most rewarding things we’ve ever done.

Right, that’s enough for now; time to eat a burger the size of my head… 

P.S. if you are following our progress on the map on this site - it's wrong.

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evelyn on

Nice to hear from you guys, now all that biking would certainly be enough for me . Jana tell daryn to get a car or a motor bike, it would be so much more enjoyable for you guys, plus nothing would hurt. those are long km, you are putting on each day, time for a rest, hope you guys are having fun .

Theo on

That's an insane amount of biking. Well done the pair of you.

mom on

What a difference in scenery from London to New Zealand. Stay safe and keep on bikin" xxoo

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