It’s our penultimate Sunday in this delightful country and the last in the South Island; we catch the ferry back to Wellington tomorrow. Since leaving Hari Hari we continued up the West Coast through Greymouth, and Westport, to Gentle Annie, an expansive, drift wood strewn beach area just a few miles before the road runs out. Doubling back to Westport along the coast, we were privileged to glimpse a rare Hector’s dolphin from the small village of Hector! The air along this section alternates between ‘eau de cow’ a sweet bovine smell from the many dairy farms and coal from the open cast mines.
Today’s ride headed east from Westport up the Buller Gorge, simply splendid scenery with wooded hills running down to the pebbled river banks. The terrain was easy going and with the forecast rain not materialising, we ate up the 54 miles to rendezvous with Keith; arriving within ten minutes of the suggested time. Kindly meeting us at the junction with the main route from Christchurch spared us having to cycle on a much busier road. Whilst having now pedalled 1,129 miles since our arrival in New Zealand, almost 500 of those since leaving Wanaka nine days ago, it was a treat to sit in the car for the two hour drive to the town of Blenheim. This leaves us an easy twenty minute drive to the ferry port at Picton tomorrow morning.
Highlights since the last post include a visit to the Pancake Rocks, layered limestone stacks in the sea, a very unique geological feature, and the beautiful coast road between Greymouth and Westport, which is reminiscent of the capes and coves of Oregon and Northern California, complete with billowing clumps of pampas grass.
We have been very fortunate with the weather, whilst parts of the North Island have experienced torrential rain and significant flood damage, we have had sunny dry days, with spectacular sunsets over the Tasman sea.
Keith enjoyed a trip to Christchurch and then travelling back over Arthur’s Pass in the Southern Alps, to his son’s farm near Nelson, despite this being a major road, he was held up by a typically New Zealand traffic jam.