Sarah and I have made our way down the coast to Greymouth, along the Grey river, center of the Grey district. Not surprisingly, this area is known for its torrential rains. Luckily the two days we have spent in this area have been grey in the morning but sunny in the afternoon with only a couple of light sprinkles!
The ride from Westport to Greymouth was beautiful. The stretch of SH6 between the two town runs right along the coast with beautiful views everywhere.
We have upped our mileage to about 80km per day and Sarah is feeling tired again. One morning she wanted to sleep on the bike instead of ride!
However, once we saw the ocean she was perked up and ready to cycle.
We also hit 1000km on this stretch of highway. Not bad for our first month of cycling!
Sarah was also delighted to see that we have entered penguin country! No sightings yet though!
Ah, the salty sea air!
Sarah cycles through what the locals would call some “glorious native bush.” The ferns and palms along the coast reminded us of the television show “Lost.” Once we realized the new season was about to start, Sarah seriously suggested that we plan our nights so that we could watch it.
The Nikau Palm is the southernmost naturally growing palm in the world.
Perpendicular Point is aptly named! If you look closely, you can see the road we cycled up.
We hiked the Truman Track down to the ocean. Voted the best short walk in New Zealand! It was only 15 minutes long.
Punakaiki is one of the main tourist attractions along this route. This area of the coast is a Karst region. It is an ancient limestone seabed that has been raised up and is now being worn away by the sea and wind. Punakaiki has pancake rocks which are made of layered limestone. Scientists are still trying to figure out why they are layered.
The waves of the ocean have worn tunnels into the rock forming blowholes. This one is called “The Chimney Pot.”
In Westport, we ran into a German couple who are also cycling through New Zealand. These two are the most musclebound couple we have ever seen. When we heard the guy speaking German, we wondered if he was an Austrian descendent of Arnold Schwarzenegger. They both looked like they were about to bust out of their cycling spandex and he has a tattoo on his ankle that simply says “Bodybuilding.” We were too intimidated to talk to them at first, but then we ran into them again in Greymouth so we struck up a conversation. It turns out they are following the same route as us, but they left Greymouth today so we will probably never catch them. Sarah joked that they most likely did crunches together every night and then a little bit later we saw them doing exactly that in the TV lounge! We noticed they are both carrying protein and other dietary supplements. We took a picture of our nutritional snack of beer and chips next to theirs.
We are resting today in Greymouth and are going to stock up on groceries and other provisions because we are about to enter the wildest and least populated area of New Zealand. The next supermarket is 465kms down the road! We are going to head down the coast to Haast and then go over Haast Pass towards Queenstown.
Stats from 4th Week (01.22.2007 – 01.28.2007)
Motueka -> Greymouth
5 days cycling, 2 days resting
336.95km (67.39km / cycling day)
20 hours, 43 minutes, 22 seconds in the saddle