The weather today is still “cloud and some sun”, but still cold at 14 degrees as we set out from Owaka and continued on the southern scenic route to the Nugget Point road.
This is a narrow, winding, and sometimes one lane route that hangs on the cliff. The challenge is the 2 way traffic especially the tourists in rental cars. We parked and walked the 900 m to the Light house view point where you can see the “nuggets” as well as a number of fur seals on the rocks below.
We then made for Balclutha for fuel and a stock up at New World Market. We had finally heard from the Swede and he was in Dunedin and is now 20 km away in Milton on the Hwy 1. He came to us and we found a park to share our picnic and to compare our past and future routes. He will continue south to Invercargill and we will go north.
Treats sent from Sweden for us!
The plan for us today is from here to get on the gravel roads along the coast until Dunedin and then take the #1 to Oamaru.
The first half of the route was on good gravel with a well used track and with nice views along the coast road, but turning onto the Coastal road they had recently top dressed it with very chunky sharp rocks. Thought this was not deep it was slippery and annoying to ride over. We finally caught up to the trucks spilling it onto the road about 2 km before the pavement.
Then we continued on the seal until we met up with the main road. About 84 km later we stopped and did the 1 km walk down the beach at Moeraki to see the boulders. These are super cool and look like dinosaur eggs. We then did a brief stop at the Yellow Penguin colony, but no birds in sights.
We had booked into a home stay with Rose and she welcomed us warmly. We had super hot showers and then headed downtown to Fat Sally’s for a quick Valentines dinner. Quick because it is now nearing dusk at 830 and we want to be down at the harbor to see the Little Blue Penguins “cross the road”. This is a job that needs patience as they swim in then must climb between the rocks and then peak over the grass to see whats up. They can spend 20 min standing there before they get up the guts to dash the 10 m to the nesting area, which is either under the local derelict buildings or they must go 10 m farther cross the main road and to the base of the cliff. We did see a dozen or so as we were too late for the rush hour crossings.
We had a late start at 11 as we had hung out the wash at 730 and were waiting for it to dry. The sky today is “cloud and sun”, but when the sun is out it is hot. We are going back down to the Otago Peninsula, but over the Middlemarch road this time.
We also had to back track down the #1 50 km to Palmerston, but did a side route on the Horse Range Road for a change of pace.
Here we turned west on Highway 85 to Kyeburn and then south on the Highway 87. It is very windy today and was mostly 14 degrees. When we passed Middlemarch it was even worse and we had to put on more layers.
We managed to avoid the rain we had been following all day as it was blown south of us and we arrived to the Otago Peninsula about 4.
We set up camp and then did some riding about to several of the beaches to see the fur seals lounging on the sand.
Just before we had left the camp site this guy was cooking up a huge steak on the Bbq and so our pasta Alfredo was not now as appetizing. I suggested we stop in the shop to see what they have. Dan said “well it’s not as if they are going to have a Porterhouse in there”. The small shop here in Portobello has an amazing amout of nice things…. including an organic Porterhouse, which we did not buy as it was too big for us and it was 16$. We settled on a smaller steak, onion, and salad fixings. Our day has turned out pretty well.
The night was very quiet and we were some of the first up and that was after 8. It is still mostly cloudy, but there are some blue sky patches. The plan today is to ride the old Dunstan road to Naseby.
We did ride up to the end of the road to Harrington Point where there are massive sea cliffs.
From here we backtracked on the coast road to Dunedin with a stop at Pack N Save for supplies sand then downtown to Vodaphone for data. Not sure what is up with NZ cellular but we are eating thru data even when we are riding and so now we must be in airplane mode all the time. Parked here we drew quite a crowd. Now we are finally on our way at noon and we backtracked on the 87 to the Old Dunstan Road cut off at Clark’s Junction.
Coming back over the hill was a much more pleasant 17 degrees today and though still windy it was much less so. We stopped at the Clark’s Junction “hotel” for a coffee and a chat with the locals.
The “Old” road is paved until the first settlement of farm houses after 3 km.
The sign here warns caution that this is a un-maintained road. It is in fact a very good gravel road with good tracks and very little loose gravel.
The first part slowly rises and is wind swept and so we found a rock out crop with a wind shadow to hide behind to enjoy our picnic lunch.
There is only one short steep and narrow switch back section. It is mostly over open range and the fords are mostly “bridged”. We saw only 2 other station trucks all afternoon.
The road descends from the mesa over a few switch backs to join the Styx-Paerau road. It returns to pavement 19 km before you hit the Hwy 85 again at Ranfurly and then turn onto the Naseby road.
Naseby is an historic village that has a nice small campground that was full of kiwi’s for the weekend, but no other tourists.
We walked into the village to the Ancient Briton for a pint and some pretty good ribs. We also managed to catch a bit of Olympic coverage. The weather is so hard to predict here it has now changed to say showers in the am and then “will turn fine”.