Wet and Grey All the Way to Wetlands Greymouth

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , South Island,
Thursday, May 26, 2011

Once again it was ridiculously windy and rainy in the night, but on grass instead of gravel the tent held up a bit better and we managed to get back to sleep. We woke up to a blue sky and had a sunny breakfast outside the tent. For the first time in NZ this campsite doesn't have a fully fitted kitchen. Last night, too used to luxury, we decided not to cook in the dark surrounded by sandflies and instead headed inside to the pub. My roast pork had 3 enormous slabs of meat as well as all the trimmings and Mikey’s burger came with enough chips for at least 5 people but we still managed to finish every bite – scrumptious.

The route was not completely flat as we’d been promised, but we still made good progress and reached Pukipuri at 15 miles in good time. Pukipuri, permanent population 2, had a café mentioned in the guide book as a hilarious stop. They were right, the dark and dingy place was stuffed with dead animal furs, mostly possums and served up lovely delicacies like road-kill pizza. It smelled pretty bad so we stuck to coffee (straight filter, there was a big sign saying lattes and cappuccinos were for gay French men!) The friendly but fairly insane locals told us it was going to chuck it down very soon and they were completely right. The entire sky had clouded over and what was at first a fine drizzle quickly became heavier.

We raced through another 15 miles to Ross, home of the largest gold nugget ever to be found in NZ. The shop keeper who sold us fortifying crisps and cokes thought we were nuts to be on the bikes and as the rain just then got seriously heavy, we kind of agreed. It was a cold and extremely wet next 15 mile leg to Hokitika, and the only point of interest was when we met another cyclist. He turned out to live in Harihari, where we’d been this morning and had got a part-time job in Hokitika. He was therefore undertaking a 44 mile one-way commute to work!! He said sometimes he stays the night, but not always! That really is hardcore. We left him to it, as he seemed pretty tired (and west coast weird) and kept racing on.

On arrival we found that Hokitika was actually the largest town we’ve seen since Wanaka. Soaked to the skin we headed straight into a café to have a hot sandwich before the last 25 miles to Greymouth as making a picnic in a bus stop seemed like an extremely bad idea. The people in the café thought it very funny when Mikey took off his jacket and nearly a bucket of water tipped out of his hood and soaked the carpet. The whitebait fritter sandwich Mikey ordered which is supposed to be the local speciality was not very exciting unfortunately – a slightly fishy omelette in white bread. We’ll have to see if we can find a better version elsewhere.

By the time we finished lunch, the sun had reappeared due to a strong wind blowing the clouds away. Unfortunately this wind was also then blowing in our faces making for a tough and grumpy next 12 miles. After some of Pam’s shortbread (not sure who Pam is but all her products are cheap and tasty) we hit the road for the final 13 miles. The wind had changed direction a bit meaning we made it by 5pm, only 6 ˝ hrs to do 69 miles, not too bad considering lots of stops.

The Top 10 Campsite is right on the beach, has fantastic facilities and we’ve found a very sheltered spot for the tent, so hopefully will be ok for tonight. The serious down point of this campsite is that shortly after our shower we found they had a school party staying. Aaaagggghh! The place is overrun with over-excited, noisy teenagers who cannot stop talking drivel to each other. Mikey seems to manage to remain calm in their presence but I find them unbearable. Luckily their poor teachers have just taken them off somewhere, hopefully for a long time!

Miles cycled: 69 soaking wet and windy miles
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triciagick on

Am tracking you all the way - excellent progress. Off to bridge shortly and hope to catch Dan for a quick hug before he has an EXTREMELY early start at the airport. Life's one long holiday for him - he's off to throw himself out of the skies again - this time in Turkey. He's doing the SIV course he missed in Pokhara - a really lovely but very nerve wracking son for a mother to have! Very cold and windy here, I can't believe it was so hot and sunny in France just yesterday. You do seem to be meeting some really weird as well as really nice people - non so queer as folk....... Keep on llooking after yourselves and having fun xxxxxxxxxx

cke on

Hi guys,
New Zealand is now definitely on my 'to do' list after reading your blog!!
Things are all good here. The wind has meant that Giles has managed to get out windsurfing which is great but has been too windy for me :-( George's birthday is this weekend and a bank holiday too so looking forward to it.
Really enjoying the new job - although can't say I understand everything which is going on all the time...... Getting out and about much more inthe County so will have found some beauty spots to visit by the time you return home.
Take care and keep warm.
Lots of love Cxxxx

debbie on

hey - yes ditto, I always said I didn't want to go to new zealand as I knew I'd want to stay and live there forever but it is too far away so I don't actually want to do that - so it seems a lose lose situation. however, looking at your pics and write ups I think I am going to have to go anyway and may never come back ;o)

Not so much exciting news here, well Alex has been very ill and I won't go into graphic detail but he seems to be getting better. I have started a new job at wiley which is a mixture of being good (more money) and quite scary (what is expected of me). We went to see alex's best school friend on saturday and met their new adopted ethiopian baby!!!!!!!!! how mad is that. she is very cute but then she is a baby.

OK will stop rambling now, hopefully skype you soon lots of love debbie x

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