Dudley and Gina head west from the Marlborough area, riding all day along two wonderful valleys. First the Wairu and then after a short section of mountain twisties on to the Buller River Valley, which we ride all the way to the sea at Westport. It is a fabulous days riding in warm summer weather with scattered clouds and frequent enough sweepers to keep us busy on the bike while still enjoying majestic views. At Westport we check into the somewhat dubious “Art Hotel,” seemingly a resting place for lost souls and a few tourists looking for cheap accommodation. It is an old hotel, no longer with a liquor license, so just offering accommodation in original old rooms with shared bathrooms and toilets. There is enough quirk here to keep two novelists employed full time!
Ambience a plenty in our cabin at Gentle Annie
Weka, regular companions
From here it is a short hop up the coast to the most fabulous campsite ever at “Gentle Annie”. Wekas potter about the campground, seemingly at ease with all the happy campers, and happy and content they are. Everyone has a happy sigh on their face, you can’t be here and not relax in this perfectly restrained and rustic campground with gorgeous hosts and spades of edge of civilisation ambience right on the river mouth and beach.
We take a day off the bikes and hire a car on account of the best sights being on gravel roads not suitable for our road bikes. We see some wonderful forests and giant trees, and limestone arches carved out by rivers around the Karamea area. In the morning we part ways with John at Westport as he decides a new engine noise in his Laverda needs to be looked at in Christchurch.
Never happier than with rocks or soils
We continue our journey down the west coast to Hokitika, riding the Great Coast Road which is easily a match for Australia’s Great Ocean Road, and what’s more the natural wonders are all free.
Our roadside lunches are always a pleasure
The next morning we head for the Glacier Highway and get our first glimpses of the Southern Alps, they are breathtakingly beautiful.
Ok KurveyGirl, let's round this lot up and see what's ahead