On our own again, we left Queenstown and headed north. We climbed the Crown Range Summit (1075m) again, from the steeper but much more interesting side. Steep hairpins at the bottom, and a very steep final drag. But again, lunch at the top with a view was well worth it.
The long descent was easy and boring, but our campsite at Alfredtown was lovely, and we enjoyed an evening swim in the river.
From here we skirted Lake Hawea on a very rolling road, climbed over The Neck (402m), and skirted Lake Wanaka again. Surrounded by snowy mountains, the lakes were beautifully scenic. We had another long, shallow climb up to Haast Pass (546m), followed by an amazing descent down a gorge with loads of waterfalls, and another good campsite and river wash at Pleasant Flats. Although now we are on the west coast we are getting eaten by sandflies!
Staying on the 6, we reached the coast, and rode through rainforest on the quiet rolling road. We had some great climbs along the coast, and got to Fox Glacier just as the rain really set in. We took a day off in Fox and cycled and hiked up to the glacier. It was a lovely ride through the rainforest and rocky hike, with amazing views of mountains, waterfalls and the glacier.
We cycled to Franz Josef Glacier in the rain, a short but hilly ride over three saddles, surrounded by beautiful mountains. We spent a lazy afternoon hiding from the downpour, by the fire in a hostel, and got warm in the sauna!
The rain had disappeared the next morning, so we got off early and cycled around the mountains on the 6. Nice and easy road, rolling through farmland and rainforest, with the great mountain views without much climbing. Avoiding the rain till the evening, where we camped at a tiny hamlet called Pukekura.
More rain to come unfortunatly, but that’s the west coast – wet, uninhabited and scenic (when there’s no cloud!).
Jim’s words – Summit, Waterfalls, Rainforest, Bites, Glacier, Downpour and Escaped.