New Zealand, 2008
Pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | | 19 | 20
Jump to Part 2
The West Coast, Haast to Franz Josef
Early on Tuesday, February 19, we left Haast to ride
up New Zealand's West Coast. This region is noted for heavy rainfall and
strong winds, but so far the weather has been fair with light breezes.
Also, the notorious sand flies (like our black flies) haven't bothered
us at all. Of course, we're only about a third of the way up the coast
when we write this, so we should be knocking on wood.
Bridge over Haast River, early morning
Looking up Haast River from the bridge
The first 15 or 20 kilometres north of Haast
were nearly flat. We crossed New Zealand's longest single lane
bridge over the Haast River (above).We enjoyed the bush
along the road (right), some of which was clearly shaped
by strong, prevailing winds (below left) that we fortunately
missed on this day. Barbara spotted a Puka (below right.)
The road touched the coast at Ship Creek (below), where there
was a long, gravel beach. There were high clouds and it was cool for swimming,
but we checked the water and were amazed that it was reasonably warm
or at least not terribly cold.
There was some tough climbing up and down a set of three
hills, with grand views from the last of them, Knight's Point. After zooming
back down to near sea-level, we rode along the shore of Lake Moeraki,
an exceptionally beautiful part of the route.
Tough hills around Knight's Point
View from the top
A bit farther along, we stopped at the Lake Paringa DoC campsite
to fix lunch and met the young Swiss cyclists, Martin and Francesca.
There were also three exceedingly friendly Korean men at the campsite,
the eldest of whom was a Presbyterian minister, who wanted to trade
photos and addresses. We will have a place to stay if we ever go
At lake Paringa, instant friends
Church at Jacob's River
|After 87 kilometres of riding, we ended our first
day on the West Coast Jacob's River. We camped at the Pine Grove Motel,
the only business around. It was a small but clean and well-run place,
with a cheery, friendly hostess who gave us free milk. The same cycling
gang was there again the Swiss couple, and the tandem riders
from England, Dave and Jo. There was also a very nice Swedish couple
who had sailed to New Zealand in fact they'd been sailing for
nine years and were touring the South Island by car for a while.
Martin and Francziska, from Switzerland
Jo and Dave, from England, traveling on a
On Wednesday, February 20, we rode from
Jacob's River to Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. It was only 67 kilometres
altogether, but if you flattened it out, it might be much longer!
Heading toward Fox Glacier
After perhaps 40 kilometres of mostly easy cycling,
we had our first glimpses of the snow-capped mountains around Fox Glacier.
We noticed a little dirt lane with a sign saying Glacier View, so we decided
to try it. The surface was fairly smooth and well packed, but at times
it was steep. After three or four kilometres of climbing, we reached a
parking area. There were fine views of Fox Glacier, and also a walking
path through the native trees and ferns that we love.
First glimpse of Fox Glacier from the highway
On the Glacier View Road
Right is a view of Fox Glacier from the Glacier View Road.
The village of Fox Glacier consisted of businesses designed to
empty tourists' wallets: guided glacier walks, van outings, scenic
flights, helicopter hikes (where you're dropped by copter at the
top of a trail and hike back) and no doubt much more. We decided
to carry on to Franz Josef, a slightly bigger town of the same sort,
also with an impressive glacier and many expensive outdoor activities.
Between Fox and Franz Josef, there were a series of three hills,
one after another, and each of the first two hills required steep
ascents and descents of 200 metres. At the bottom of one of the
hills, we met a Polish cyclist on his own, and while we were chatting,
three young Dutch cyclists arrived on the lowest recumbents we've
seen yet. They are on a long tour through Australia and New Zealand,
and they have a website: www.10000km.com.
Hilly terrain between Fox and Franz Josef
above, in a valley...
... and here, looking down at the road from
one of the hills
Right, chatting with Polish and Dutch
cyclists the Dutch on recumbents
With the side trips and chatting, it was after 5 pm when we arrived
in Franz Josef. All indoor accommodation was filled, and the tenting
site we'd have preferred was taken as well, so we ended up in a
Top 10 Holiday Park. These places are reliable, but they command
higher prices than the competition typically over $30 just
for a tent site for two only because of marketing, not because
of superior facilities. Anyway, it was a perfectly fine place to
spend the night.
Barbara got up early enough to take this shot, from our campground, of
the mountain peaks around Franz Josef
<< Previous page
Next page >>