Today we will ride out from Queenstown for the day.
The first part is to ride up along the lake to the town of Glenorchy with panoramic views. We took the first off road past the town and this is the Reece Valley road.
After about 10 km there is a small power station and then there are some signs saying the road is closed, we went past these as we had been advised and continued on we did meet one car coming out. After several gates that we opened and closed a final gate had a lot more road closed signage and we decided to turn back. Probably a good thing as there are no signs for the Bungee outfit that was located up here either.
We made it back to the Glenorchy-Paradise road and continued west.
This turns to gravel with a fair bit of wash board after 3 km.
There is also a lot of traffic even after the settlement of Paradise in 10 km where the sign says “back country road vehicle damage possible, not suitable for campers”.
About 2 km further along there was a number of cars parked and the occupants were out scouting a ford in the river. Dan rolled up and rode right thru and as I followed I heard one woman say “ well if they can go so can we”. There are 5-6 more fords, but only one was wide and none were as deep as the first. The end of the road is another 10 km past Paradise and is at the river where a number of day and multi-day hikes start.
We back tracked to Glenorchy for a snack and coffee and then back to base.
Diana was kind enough to let us use the front loading machine to wash the riding suits and they were dry after hanging in the breeze for just a few hours. We took the 800 into town for a night out with dinner and a walk about the bustling tourist town. There were lots of people, a number of bands, and several street performers.
Today we will re-ride the same 150 km to the Aneu and then 20 new to Manapouri to camp on the lake. But first we just went 7 km away to Shotover Jet board for a thrilling jet boat ride on the Shotover River.
It was pretty boring to do the top of this road for the third time and we booked it as we wanted to make it to Miles better Pies in Te Anau before it closed at 3. There was a group of Ducati riders there too and they said they had seen us and all our stickers yesterday in Glenorchy! Then we continued south another 20 km to Manapouri.
The camp ground is described as quirky and that it is. We set up camp in the Forrest area, walk to the “beach” 200 m down the path across the road, and then watched 2 episodes of Fargo we had been saving.
Weather forecasting here is a nightmare as we have had to check it 3 times today and it was for no rain in the am, bit at last check at 9 pm it will rain from 8-12 tomorrow and it did. Waking to rain in a tent is such a drag. We sat tight and had some more Fargo time until the rain did stop at 1230. We packed up made some brunch and set of under mostly blue skies.
We headed south again towards Clifden as about 1 km from here there is a limestone cave system in which you can see glow worms. We parked and walked/crouched into the cave until it got to where you would need to crawl. We turned off the headlamps to see the glowing dots. This cave is very long and you can explore for several hours, but not in riding gear and not on an earthquake prone island for us!
From here we rode into Tuatapere for a late lunch/dinner at the cafe after 3 and to fuel up. We then rode into the end of the Lillburn road to the trail head for the Lake Hauroko (deepest lake in NZ) bush walk. Only the last 20 km are unsealed. We then rode back 10 km to the Lilliburn Campground, which is a free grass site with a long drop and a non portable water supply.
The sun was still beating down when we arrived about 5 and we set up the tent to dry it out from the wet pack up. On the other side of the field Charlie from the UK was set up with his BMW 650 Single. We were pretty tired and hit the hay about 9! what a peaceful quiet night we had and we woke to another beautiful sunny day.
We packed up and rode back into Tuatapere to access the internet and check in and then we rode south towards Invercargill.
The Burt Monroe rally ended yesterday and so for the last 2 days there have been streams of bikers riding towards us. We did a side trip to Cosy Nook Bay! and then a few more dirt cross roads to finally get back to the main road and hit the 6 for the city.
We decided on a cabin for tonight so we can have access to power and charge up all the gear. This is not much more than camping (which is very expensive) and so is actually a “good” deal. The Amble On park has cabins with linens and even a TV. The bath is shared with the campers as is the kitchen. Time to power up all the devices and get some work done. The weather is so changeable here if you don’t like it wait 30 minutes. The cloud cover moves at an astonishing rate. It did sprinkle for 5 minutes just after 4, but was other wise nice.
We had a cozy night in the little cabin and cooked up our breakfast in the well stocked kitchen. Today we do not really had a final destination as we are not sure how long all our wanderings will take today.
It is cloudy, but not forecast for rain and we can see better weather in the direction we are headed. The first destination is to head 25 KM south to the “end of the road” at Bluff.
This is not actually the southern most point, but like John O’Groats better marketed. It is pretty windy, but at least for the most part today we will be riding with it at our backs. We arrived to bluff and rode up to the Bluff hill look out for a 365 degree view of the harbor and even Stewart Island. From here we continues to said end of the road at Stirling Point.
We back tracked to the first cross road and then rode to Fortrose for some lunch and fuel. From here we made for the real southern tip of the island at Slope Point. There is a bit of construction going on and annoying when they dump chunks of rock on the road.
At Curio bay the pavement starts again and we did a detour up to the view point. There are no Yellow Penguins out at 3 in the afternoon. They are out fishing and will not be back until dusk.
The riding from here is very scenic and thru the Catlins region. By 3 we had only made it as far as Owaka and got on line to see what is up. We did a side trip to see what the camping was like on the sea side=bad and headed back to town. We found a lodge nearby with shared baths and a very well stocked kitchen. So we walked into town to the 4 Square and got the fixings for some butter chicken.