Unexpectedly stunning day


Turns out one should be careful to whom one listens

As fro several days this morning I woke up expecting imminent end of the world. I’ve been tracking this weather system that is meant to sweep the south island for three days now and I have not yet seen any sight of it other than a brief but ferocious shower last night at midnight.

The lesson learned in that occasion was: only leave the waterproof bags outside the tent, not the solar power battery charger. It was not a problem, as soon as I realised it was just the case of unzipping the netting and extending one arm out to rescue the thing, it was not even that wet.

Round about 7:00 this morning I woke up and started looking at what had happened on the other side of the world. Saturday night was happening and in particular it was taking the shape of a meal out for Andy and Shirley. The venue was Gonzo Bar in Holmfirth, same place we went to in October where I had a pint of Human Cannonball, an extraordinarily strong local brew.

There is more than a Cannonball?


I am only telling you this as Andy sent me and I could not believe the amazing coincidence. The same brewery imports hop from the south island in New Zealand and brewers another IPA which I absolutely must have next time I’m in Holmfirth.

The weather was good, it almost look like the sky was opening in front of me. What happened from the southernly winds and the clouds coming my way I don’t know, but rest assured I was not complaining.

The road out of Punakaiki promised a lot.


Riding was easy. Even if, all said and done, I racked up a good deal of elevation, it was all short burst followed by longish descents, the kind that gives tou the time to recover your breath.

It was a good opportunity to do some thinking. I really enjoyed camping hostel life, if only there were more hostels that also accommodated tents that would be so fab. I must endeavour to research tat and see if I can find more.

Route 2,915,066 – powered by www.bikemap.net


I also was wondering if I am doing the right thing by going anticlockwise when all the good weather appears to be now on the east coast. The thought of going through Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch and then do the south clockwise crossed my mind, but I have now dismissed it as I don’t think it will really make a positive difference to delay the southwest coast.

And it did not let down, but who is that chap obscuring the scenery.


Much better without


As I was proceeding south along the coast I was becoming more and more convinced that the brochure was right, this piece of coast, more specifically between Punakaiki and Runanga, it must be surely among the top 10 costal rides.

Took me a while to get this and the top one as an horde of Japanese descended on the spot and started taking pictures of the bike with and without them in it.



Past Runanga the road takes a turn inland and it becomes less interesting but it is not too far to Greymouth and I had planned lunch and food stocking there.

There something eerily familiar about this place.


Greymouth is the big town in these parts, I believe it even has a train station. It will not come as a surprise to you that it’s not big at all and the stop for food was brief. I went to Contdown where I met 2 more me doing the same thing. I like them left the bike outside only taking the most valuable things with me. I am becoming a bit more relaxed about doing so but the voice at the back does not shut up.

Believe it or not this shot encompasses the whole town.
If you needed more evidence that the land moves a lot here, there you go.


Shopping done and food had it was time to leave town. The route from here to Hokitika was pretty flat and I did extraordinary good time going at approximatively 18 MpH. There was not much to see as the coast becomes very flat and I ended up managing an overall 13MpH for the day, not too bad.

The last thing of interests I saw was this forests of signs which were hearalding a bridge.

A mix of train bike and car signs.


Really like the “be careful with the rail bikers” sign.


Now all is clear, the bikes the cars and the trains share the same bridge.


The structure was metal but the floor of the bridge was made of wood which, outside the rails, had been covered in a thin layer of tarmac probably 20 years ago.

It did not feel safe and to top it all it’s one way alternative direction, so by the time I was on the other side there was a hefty line of cars waiting for me to clear off.

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