HK-AU-NZ-2018-D31-Mar22

No Breakfast? What the deuce? That’s not like the Alex that you have been seeing as he toured Aust/NZ. I couldn’t agree more. It turned out that Haast was lacking in breakfast options in my vicinity.

I headed north and came upon Knights Point with some great views north and south along the coast.

However, my stomach was calling to me and I met with success. Cafe Neve in Fox Glacier community (about an hour north of the 6) served Eggs Bennie. I am on a Bennie tour so … again!

After a bite, I saw a pointer saying “Mt Hood Viewpoint”. I had sadly failed viewing Mt Hood from the east side. Maybe I would have more luck from the west. It turned out that I did not. To be fair, some Kiwis have been to Hood a dozen times and not seen her (assuming the Mt is female for some reason). What I did get has an amazing view of the Fox Glacier and some impressive peaks around Hood. There was a neat viewing device that, if orientated correctly, would point out the various sites. I thought the detail photo of the location-dial (in lieu of sundial) was pretty cool.

I rejoined the 6 North and came across Bruce’s Bay. I rejoiced … Robert the Bruce in NZ? I’m in. I pulled over … grabbed my portable Dad and headed onto the beach. The beach was expansive and moody/powerful. I shot a selfie and then joined some of Dad’s ashes to shoreline. Then the Sand Flies attacked. They were feisty. I planned on communing with Dad a little but, in the end, I literally ran for the bike trying to fight off the 100’s of ninja-biting flies and slapped my equipment on post-haste and roared out of there. I think Dad would have been amused.

As I headed north on the 6, I encountered the winds that blow off the high peaks to the west coast. Impressive gusts led to profanity at 100kph. I was worried that the cross-wind would tear the visor off of my helmet. The bike was a leaning into the wind like I was taking a corner. Impressive and a little scary.

Hokitika was my destination for a pit-stop. I was almost going to stop at the artsy town for the night as it had a good rep. I parked the beast on the main drag and proceeded to walk towards the beach to see what it had to offer. It turned out that it had much to offer! First, great big waves crashing in tight sets close to the beach. Second, coffee. A nice coffee entrepreneur has a wagon set up in the parking lot. A latte and some wave-watching was in order.

There was some interesting beach art and a neat cement ship/viewing platform up the beach. A walk and photos followed. The Hokitika Regent movie theatre was a cool little repertory theatre with a cafe and bar in the building. We need more of these in Canada.

Then it was time to head to Greymouth, my home for the night. I found the Bella Vista hotel with ease and made a foray to downtown before everything closed for the day. It turns out that the shoulder season in Greymouth is dead’s-Ville.

There was a cool chaotic industrial space that I walked by. Somehow the place screamed to be used as a movie set. So busy and industrial. Perfect place for a drug-deal gone bad or something like that.

The only place with life was Monteith’s Brewery. I organized joining a tour and, while waiting, tucked into a South Island Lamb Backstrap and various Monteith Pale Ale offerings. Delicious.

HK-AU-NZ-2018-D30-Mar21

So, with Milford Sound out of the way, what’s a boy to do?

Head to the west coast. Haast, Ho!!!

Weather forecast called for a break in the rain … no luck. I was due to travel from Te Atau past Queestown (hello again) by Wanaka to Haast on the west coast.

It rained for the first three hours of my journey I went by the Devil’s Staircase (for the third time) and it was unrecognizable.

Finally the weather broke as I got past Lincoln. Oddly it broke as I entered wine country. Lots of fields of vino. Unless I simply passed them in the downpour, it is possible.

My first photo of the day was as I documented some art of my bike seat left after I raise my wet butt from the seated position.

I planned to stop at the only slightly overcast Wanaka for lunch. A Burger bar with a spicy burger and lemonade set me up well.

I took a picture of my fingers from the morning’s ride. What can I say, my fingers looked very aged … like they had been soaking in Palmolive all morning.

The rest of the ride only had a small amount of rain. Most of my gear was dry by the time I arrived at my hotel in Haast. Victory.

The lakes between Wanaka and Haast were as stunning as those I saw on my trip to Twizel. The first lake was Hawea. I grabbed a shot and a selfie before I saw a viewpoint on offer. It was gorgeous as you will see when you look at the photos. The moody clouds did not hurt the view.

The second lake that I passed was the far west side of Lake Wanaka. These lakes are huge. At least the size of Lake Okanagon. I left the east part of Lake Wanaka at lunch. I did not connect with the west side until well over an hour later. Huge … and beautiful.

The Haast Pass area had a couple of picturesque stops. Thunder Falls was large and impressive … however, to put thing in perspective, it was the size of one of the dozens of falls that surround the tunnel into (and out of) Milford Sound.

I checked into my accom and headed out to the nearby Frontier Cafe and Bar. It served up a mean and spicy Goat Curry. Yumbo!!!

I headed back to my room and setup to do laundry. The washer was efficient but the drier was absurdly slow. I was laundry-chatted up by a friendly Auzzie octogenarian who frequently mentioned references to her (or a subject that we strayed upon) being Christian. Needless to say, I am now born again. Not my cup of joe.

I did head back eventually to my pad and plan a bit of my north island excursion.

It was a good day.