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Diary 18

5 Nov.

Never been to a planting party before.
There is a gap in the shrub between the road end and the lake shore that was created when a water pipe was put in and people are using it as a track to the lake. The idea was to plant this gap and point people at the actual track.
We dug holes & planted a bunch of native trees.

Sheena had a concert in Arrowtown so I headed off with her.
She played fiddle with a keyboard player.
One of the following acts was a guy from Invergargill who had placed third in the NZ 'find a pop star' program.
The poor guy was mobbed by kids wanting autographs.

I found somewhere to upload the latest diary then we went wine tasting.
Quite an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.
I even ordered a case to be shipped to Aberdeen.

When we got back for the neighbourhood 'post planting barbecue' we found Nige in pain on the sofa.
He'd managed to get some broom in his eye during the second part of the planting party that Sheen & I had missed.
After seeing Nige off to the hospital we headed for the party.

6 Nov.

Lazy Sunday

Sheena took me for a walk up the hill beside Wye Creek.
I was up for a gentle stroll but as I don't do much in the way of exercise and I smoke my idea of a gentle stroll isn't quite the same as Sheen's. After a few stops to let my heart slow down we got to the steep bit, but I have to say it was worth it. The views from the hill were stunning. I hasten to point out that we weren't at the top of the hill, I'm not sure I'd have survived any more than we did.

The view from here is amazing - and ever changing.
I know a number of people who live in beautiful settings but I'm fairly sure that this one is the best.

I guess I should have a look at a map and decide where I'm going tomorrow.
The weather looks like it will be OK till about Thursday so I'm off up the West coast.

7 Nov.

Much as I love Sheen, it's time to be on the road.

Said my goodbyes at around 7 as Sheena was heading off to work & hit the road at around 8.

It was a little chill at that hour.

Headed over the crown ranges road, the highest tar sealed road in NZ (Not that it's high compared to the stuff in the US) but it was a real fun road to ride with some stunning views.

Am definitely in tourist mode. Stopping at every view point and for every photo opportunity.

Over the Haast pass then up the coast to Jackson bay.

On the Jackson Bay road you cross five big rivers in 20 miles that are heading to the sea.
With the Haast river that's six serious rivers draining the hills in a small number of miles.
If NZ is short of anything it's not water.

What they have too much of is sand flies.
Their bite's come up less that the mosquito bites I got in America but I have more of them and today they were getting irritated by the leathers as some of them are at creases & joins.

The west coast is absolutely stunning - and I've only just arrived.
The way the weather is looking it should hold until Thursday.
It's seriously hot out there at the moment.
And I'm in a rain forest.

8 Nov.

Had a lovely day wandering up the West coast.

Glaciers, gold fields, rain forest and some of the best roads I've ridden in ages.

Unfortunately it was a little cloudy so I didn't see the Southern Alps in all their splendour, just the occasional glimpse.

And bike leathers aren't the best clothing for hiking.

9 Nov.

Blue skies at 8 am.

Out bright and early (well early anyway).

Over Arthurs Pass - cracking road - to Christchurch where I picked up my e-mail then up the coast to Kaikoura for a couple of nights.
I'm booked for a whale watching trip tomorrow afternoon.

10 Nov.

A number of folks told me I should do the whale watching thing, so I figured I should.
Boy was that the right decision.

Really quite stunning.

A number of people on the trip were seasick, but I found myself giggling.

After watching two sperm whales, and taking stupid amounts of photos we headed in, only to find ourselves in the middle of a school of playing dolphins.

Now I'm back to the mundane world of laundry.

11 Nov.

Woke to sunshine & blue skies at 8 this morning.
Beautiful scenery & a beautiful day.

But what to do ?
This is a holiday weekend so loads of people will be on the road & motels will be busy.
I had been planning to go over the Lewis pass back to the other coast but the weather on the west coast looks a bit dodgy for the next couple of days.

About half way there is a little resort called Hanmer Springs. A spa town with thermal baths.
Sounds good.

Got in to a campsite (in a cabin) by 11 am - and got the last cabin.
Lunch time Friday & it's starting to fill up.

Hanmer springs is quite small, but a good cafe, sunshine and a book filled the day quite nicely.

Today definitely felt 'holiday' rather than 'explore'.

I also think I've figured out how they decide which direction has right of way on one lane bridges.
It's the direction with the best view of the bridge on approach.
This stops people coming onto the bridge blind assuming they have right of way. If you don't have a view of the bridge till you are almost on it, you have 'wrong of way' and are forced to stop. It works.

12 Nov.

Another day, another book.

It rained on and off so I spent most of the day on the deck (pronounced deek) of the cabin reading.

I did meet a German couple who have shipped there bike here and after a few months in NZ & Oz plan to ride back to Germany across Asia. Nice folks - and I wish them luck.
I'll add a link to their site when I get online.

Here it is

13 Nov.

Back on the bike.

It's a little chill first thing and on the approach to the Lewis Pass I put the waterproofs on - mostly for the cold but there were storms a brewing.

I came over the Lewis in cloud and it's been damp, if not raining, since.

Took a detour past Blackball and passed two one way bridges that completely knackered my 'right of way' theory.

Had a wonderful lunch in Greymouth (an otherwise forgettable town) and headed north.

Wandered round the Pancake Rocks & Blowhole at Punakaiki. The tide was out so I didn't get to see the 'blow' but it was still quite a sight.

Running up the coast was amazing - on one side the ocean, on the other a rain forest.
Quite spectacular.

In Westport for the night.

14 Nov.

It's pissing down.
Waterproofs on first thing.

Headed up the coast to Karamea - couldn't see much through the rain.
When I got there, all the cafes were closed so turned back south.

Back through Westport in the continuing rain and east towards Nelson.

The gorges looked like they might be quite spectacular - if I could see them properly.

The rain finally eased around Lyell.

Stopped at Murchison for the night.

15 Nov.

Blue skies.

Headed north for Golden Bay.

The road north of Motueka is interesting.
No time for sightseeing as sharp corner after sharp corner take you up and them down some big hills.

Got to Collingwood by 2 pm. and got the last motel room.

Beautiful little village almost completely surrounded by water.

Took a walk on the beach & watched the water for a while.

I also found a place where I can get the laptop on line so I'll post this tomorrow - not the biggest diary as I haven't gone off on a rant recently but there's loads of photos.

An aside -
Why is there less brain dump here.
It's coz I'm not spending hours on straight roads with my head in my helmet.
Here the road holds your concentration, or the scenery does. One or the other - no choice.

Diary 20