We have only a 54 km ride back to Wanaka home of the Twomotokiwi, but we will make it into 165 km with a ride unto the Lindis Pass summit. This is another very windy day. Despite having the last 3 weeks with temperatures over 30 it has been in the low teens this week and it is 10 this morning.We started by riding up the other side of the lake.
The ride up the pass is pretty boring and there is not much of a view from the “summit”.
We rode back to Wanaka and parked on the sidewalk and walked over to Vodaphone to get more data. We have used our 8 G because the wifi is so bad here we have used the phone to tether and uploading photos has burned thru it.
Then we went over to Relish recommended by our friend foodie Mark from Hong Kong. After I set up the phone I got a message from Ellen of Twomotokiwi “I see you are in town where are you?” Apparently she had seen us ride by and was running down the road after us. She found the bikes parked, but could not find us. Great reunion.
We had been communicating with Andi and Ellen on line since 2010. They left NZ and started in Alaska. We passed each other on a rainy cold day near the end of the first week of the trip at the end of June 2012. They leaving and us going to Dawson City. Both of us decided not to turn and chase the others down as we would certainly see each other again soon. Flash forward to October 2013. They are in Colombia and need parts for their KTM. We have been home working since May and happen to have a KTM parts dealer nearby. We are shipping our bikes from Panama where we left them in April to Bogota. This is where we finally met. We also traveled together after the Moto GP in Rio Hondo Argentina in April 2014. We arrived chez Dellis and had a great evening talking about our trips, what reentry is like, and future plans. Much wine and great food was enjoyed.
Today we are headed back over the Crowne Range road (5 degrees at the summit) and back thru Queenstown and down the 6 past Garston again and 171 km to the village of Mossburn. It was 8-10 degrees and windy most of the day and we had to stop on the lake to add layers before we could eat our picnic lunch.
We arrived to the literally one horse town with a unmanned self pay gas pump, 2 coffee shops, a take away, and a hotel. We booked in here even thought it is 170 km from Milford, because it is only 10 dollars more a night than camping is in Te Anau the closest town to the sound and 53 km from here. This way we can unload the gear and not worry about it as well. The Railway hotel is old school with single beds and shared bathrooms, but it is clean warm and comfy. We had dinner in the hotel bar and ran into a couple from Oregon that we had talked to on the Skippers road last week. They like almost everyone , but us is headed to the Burt Monroe Rally in Invercargill this weekend. They had also just today gone up the Mavora Lakes road that we plan to do the day after tomorrow and they said it was great!
This morning we are up and out at 8 as we have a long way to go and lots of stops to make in the National Park before our 1310 Milford boat cruise. It rains 8 meters a year in Milford and over 200 days a year. That is why we came here now and will have to back track since the forecast is for sun the next 3 days.
It was 4 yes 4 degrees when we started and rode the 53 km to the Anau.
Here we got gas and supplies for lunch. It did warm up to 8, but it was not in double digits until well after 10. It is an almost cloudless sky. The first part of the ride is over rolling hill and farmland.
When you are about 60 km from Milford the park gets more fjord like with tall snow capped mountains and impressive vistas.
About 30 km from the end of the road we did a 34 km in/out dirt road to the lower Hollyford and walked 10 min in to see the falls.
About 10 km later you are stopped at a light for the one way alternating tunnel. This is a bit creepy and it is one lane, dark, and dripping from the ceiling in this bored out passage.
It lets you out at the top of some switch backs about 15 km from the dock. We had to do some fancy passing to get to the parking, get our gear and walk 500 m to the dock with 5 min to spare before the catamaran sailed. It was a 2 hour cruise up and down the ford and just out into the Tasmin sea.
We made it back to the bikes by 330 and then headed south. We stopped and did the short hike up to the chasms, that is a narrow gorge which a raging river has carved out. There was much less traffic on the ride back and it had warmed up to 22.
We stayed in Te Anau to get some dinner and then had what seems a very long 53 km ride back to Mossburn. Bagged we hit the hay before 10.
The weather is holding out and the plan today is to ride up to the Mavora lakes and then continue on the Mt Nicholas road, which ends at the Mt Nicholas Station.
There is a ferry dock here for the Catamaran and we had booked passage for the bikes and us back across the lake to Queenstown on the last sailing at 4.
The road is a very good gravel road 41 km to the Mavora lakes turn off.
Here the road continues at times thru dense forest and along the lakes.
We started down the Mavora hiking trail , but it got very wet muddy and 4WD.
After turning back we back tracked to the Mt Nicholas road and had 50 km to go at after 130.
We made it in plenty of time and even rode to the TSS Ernslaw steamship dock another 12 km farther on in Walter Peak. We could not get a guarantee earlier this week from them for a booking as using the ramp to load the boat is dependent on the lake level and it has been too low. Despite that they did say it would have been high enough today, but the entry is much more challenging and the boat much more crowded than the catamaran.
We had our picnic lunch and then road back to Mt Nicholas by 315 to wait for the boat.
You have to take the panniers off to navigate the loading ramp, but the staff were super helpful and carried them aboard.
The sailing is 45 minutes and smooth as silk. The disembarkation in more straightforward as it a straight shot onto the dock.
We then had just a 10 minute drive ups the hill to the home of Diana and Dick who are friends of Janet and Charlies and who have kindly offered to host us here in Queenstown. We had a very nice dinner prepared by Diana and we all got to swap stories. They had traveled extensively 2 up in the Americas, Europe, and Africa. We also had the spectacular view from their house.