We woke in Naseby to a sprinkle and packed up ASAP in a lull. We set out at 930 with a very cloudy sky and a number of very black clouds. The plan today is to ride both the Dansey’s and Hakataramea Pass roads and end up in Twizel after 317 km.
We rode out of town and onto the Dansey’s pass road. This is a good gravel road and we managed to beat the very black clouds. We did have a few showers just after we left town and we did have the rain gear on briefly.
This road is very narrow in spots and we luckily only met one vehicle and it was when we had pulled onto the verge already to take some photos. There are a number of sections where I would not want to meet a car.
And suddenly near Duntroon you meet tar seal for the next 23 km on the Hwy 83 to the Hakataramea Valley Road.
Here at Duntroon we turned west and stopped for a coffee at the kiosk at the junction. This is where all the cyclists are congregated. We then rode the 23 Km father to Kurow where they had fuel, a 4 Square, and the sun was shining. From here we are headed off road again on the Hakataramea Valley road. It should be 90 km to Twizle. The big black rain clouds are now descending on us and it has started to rain a bit. The first 35 km of the road is paved to cattle Creek and we tried to really book it to stay ahead of the storm.
We are eventually going to get out of the rains path, but not until about half way. The gravel on this road is the slightly deeper sharp and annoying to ride on kind at least until after the pass where there is more traffic and a good track to ride in. There are a number of fords before the summit and dozens of cattle stops.
It is again a pretty windy day. We got to a fork in the road and the GPS said go left 44 km to Twizel, but the road sign says No Exit! So we went right and this is 12 km to the main road Hwy 8 and is paved. This then put us 70 km from Twizel on the Highway 8 and the wind was very strong and gusting.
We stopped in Lake Tekapo to call the campground in Twizel to see if they had a cabin for tonight as we could use a night with power. They did and it was only 15 dollars more than camping for 2.
We stopped at Lake Pukaki for a rare we are told cloudless view of New Zealand’s highest peak Mt. Cook and then rode the last 25 km to the campground.
The wind was Patagonia strong! The cabin is tiny, but comfortable and warm and there are plenty of outlets to charge everything we have at once. We cooked up a nice pasta alfredo and tucked in to get a few episodes of Fargo viewed. It is actually freezing outside and we are glad to have our minus 15 sleeping bags and we even turned the heater on in the morning once we had to get out of said warm cocoons.
We woke to another sunny day and the plan is to ride up to Mount Cook village and then on to Geraldine.
There are great views of the mountain range almost all the way, but we were fighting very strong winds.
We had lunch in the village and by 1230 it was getting very clouded over.
On the way back to the Highway 8 we had the wind at our backs, but on the way to lake Tekapo it was blowing us all over the road. It was lucky for Dan the last 5 km where downhill and with the wind as he had “zero km to empty”.
We planned to head another 89 km to Geraldine and camp for the night. This is the last good weather for the rest of the week as another cyclone is scheduled to hit the north of the island in the next 2 days. The Top 10 in Geraldine is quite nice and in the center of the town. The tent sites are huge and have nice thick grass. We got some groceries and set up camp.