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Thread: Wanaka II

  1. #1
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    Wanaka II

    7th March 2107

    I went to bed early lasts night, because today is going to be a relatively long day and I want to beat the weather. It's forecast to start raining in Greymouth around 1100 and I want to be well south of there by then. I've had a great couple of days here, and have made some plans. I noticed in the pub last night that they were holding an "End of the Summer' party on the 18th March.

    I need to start moving north before long - I'm planning on sending a couple of weeks on North Island before ditching the bike and flying home on 31st March.

    So - I'm heading south...



    I open the curtains to find - not for the first time - that the forecasters seem to have got its wrong...

    There is a lot of very low cloud - in the small breaks I can see a highish overcast. This is not going to be a dry ride. As I bring the bike around from the garage to the front of the hotel, I can feel the faintest beginnings of misty rain. I pack the bike and kit up in partial wet-weather kit (that is to say, waterproof trousers and jacket liner, but elkskin gloves and I don't put the shower cap on the tank bag.

    I'm on the road for 0810, with Bettie estimating my arrival in Wanaka at 1530 - it's just short of 300 miles.

    I spot this collection of old British iron - any guesses?



    Almost straight afterwards the rain starts - still fairly misty, but I'm having to continually clean my visor and glasses. I join Highway 7 towards Greymouth and just afterwards, the heavens open and it rains hard...



    I am not in a safe place to stop so continue through town, eventually finding a filling station to stop at. I take off my soaking gloves (the backs of my hands are now yellow from the dye ), put my wallet and camera in the tank bag and pull the shower cap over it. I then fight to get cold, wet hands into my waterproof gloves. Eventually I am ready for the road again and set off.

    Visibility is pretty poor - New Zealanders don't seem to switch their lights on in poor daylight visibility (perhaps they don't get much of it?)...

    I ride down the coast, huddled behind the screen and tank panniers, with the heated grips on 'High' - it's not much fun, to be fair.

    Eventually, after two and a half hours and a hundred miles of this, the low cloud begins to clear and I get the occasional glimpse of blue...

    The rain ultimately stops and the roads gradually dry out. I can still see low cloud ahead and am not going to get suckered into stopping and changing early...

    Ultimately, in bright sunshine, I stop in Franz Josef...

    Where I meet Rascal, a dog of dubious parentage, but clearly a local character...



    I warm myself by the brazier...



    ...whilst awaiting my flat white and...



    ...Miner's Breakfast (it had just occurred to me that I'd not eaten since yesterday lunchtime)...

    Suitably re-caloried, I get set to move on. There are plenty of bikes on the road today - mostly heading north. These guys were eyeing the sky to the north with some trepidation, as well they might...



    I stuff everything that's damp into plastic bags and into the top box, then get my spare elkskin gloves out, and am about to transfer the camera back to my belt pouch when...



    It's the end for it I'm afraid. This is Stage Two - Stage One just won't let you switch it on and can be overcome (I have found, by trial and error) by partially opening the battery case and closing it again. This stage means it is useless, as the lens won't retract and it won't work anyway.

    The secondary camera (another S100) is brought into action to take the picture of the error message. I transfer the battery and SD card and set off into some more low cloud...



    ...but it's widely dispersed and, as it turns out, I have seen the last of rain for today. There is a cold southerly wind, though and that keeps the temperature down to about 65°F at best...



    I make good progress...



    Last time I came this way (on 9th February), I had stayed at Greymouth...



    ...and was booked into Haast for the night. This time, I'm using Haast as a fuelling stop (and I will be using a one stop strategy today)...



    ...and then carrying on through to Wanaka.



    I'm booked into the same apartment complex I stayed at there last time (with the remote controlled garage door etc). Can't wait...



    He's got no idea what he's riding into...



    I refuel at Haast after about 220 miles and then set off for the final leg of the journey. I'm looking forward to climbing the Haast Pass, as last time I did so it was in very poor weather. Today's weather is great, if a little chilly...



    The wind is picking up the dust from the gravel river bank and creating little dust-devils...



    I soon begin the long climb...



    Following the Haast River for much of the approach to the pass itself...



    Snow and frozen melt water on the peaks to my left...



    ...and ahead...



    Although it's comfortably warm in the sunshine...



    ...and when sheltered from the southerly wind...



    ...it quickly gets cooler in the shade...



    Eventually I clear the pass and there is Lake Wanaka in all her glory...



    I take a steady (ie not over 100kph) ride down the eastern shore, just soaking in the view...



    There are lots of tourists about - often playing their favourite trick of seeing a view and then stopping in the road to get a picture...



    Pretty soon...



    ...I have to say farewell to Lake Wanaka for today...



    But that's OK...



    ...because I now get to ride the west shore of Lake Hawae...



    ...which is looking stunningly beautiful today...



    I take a steady ride down the west shore...



    ...taking a few snaps as I do...



    The air is incredibly clear...



    ...and the road is great...



    ...although I'm very conscious that it wasn't that far from here I got nicked for speeding, so I take it easy...



    ...only about ten miles to run now...



    ...and I have my sights set on a hot shower and a cold beer - not necessarily in that order...



    This is a beautiful part of the world...



    I arrive at the Distinction Serviced Apartments and, after describing the start of my day, Katy changes keys and gives me the keys to No29...



    ...which is a three bedroomed, two bathroomed apartment with a Jacuzzi - Katy said I'd probably appreciate a Jacuzzi after a wet start to the day...



    The place is huge...



    ...with cable TV, air con (no need for it today, though)...



    ...and, of course, the promised Jacuzzi...



    I put some laundry on and run a bath. Funny how your attitude towards water can change in the course of a day, isn't it?

    I dress, wait for today's pics to upload and step out onto the balcony...



    ...to admire the view...



    Bad day got much better...

    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  2. #2
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    Nice ride Mike... again, that scenery is absolutely stunning... i am sure you never get tired of riding those routes.. enjoy the bubbles! ride safe!

  3. #3
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    And now I have to go to work.

    Did Katy offer to join you in the jacuzzi?

  4. #4
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    Awesome Mike thanks for sharing all these (I think!) they Fairly give a fella itchy feet!
    Oh Great and Wise Deity, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

    Courage to change the things I can! And the wisdom to know the difference!

  5. #5
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    Great roads and fantastic scenery , pics not bad either.....

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike O View Post
    7th March 2107

    Visibility is pretty poor - New Zealanders don't seem to switch their lights on in poor daylight visibility (perhaps they don't get much of it?)...
    I've got a theory on that.

    And the cars are a couple of Austin Devons and Morris Minor Van

    Adrian

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrFarkoff View Post
    Awesome Mike thanks for sharing all these (I think!) they Fairly give a fella itchy feet!
    That is for sure, I would love to ride these roads.

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