Last night we stayed at a backpackers in Franz Joseph that provided a continental breakfast to its patrons. Although I’m not sure if they still do. Between us we ate 80% of the bread and spreads they put out for toast for the whole of the backpacker complex. Luckily we out of the door before most of the other travellers were out of bed.
We only had to ride 23 km for second breakfast today which would be easy if it wasn’t for the three giant hills. Luckily we have become accustomed to climbing hills but having loaded bikes that weigh around 30 kg still means it is a challenge. Obviously we had Eggs Benedict at Fox Glacier township.
After this breakfast we rode up to the Fox Glacier viewing point for a photo checkpoint and then on towards our stop for the night in Haast.
There are no cycleways south of Ross so all of today’s riding would be on the main West Coast highway, which has a verge just wide enough for a mouse to take its evening walks on. We know this because we didn’t see any mouse roadkill but every other mammalian pest species was accounted for surprisingly regularly. Some looked surprised, others just deflated. You should definitely look both ways before crossing the road down here.
We received quite a few comments about how risky riding this section could be due to the high numbers of camper vans being driven by tourists. In our experience, no camper van or hire car ever made us feel unsafe on this road. The level of courtesy from other visitors out to see the awesome spectacular sights this part of the country delivers was fantastic. If only the same could be said for the super important Mercedes drivers and all the kiwis towing jet boats and caravans that are wider than the vehicle towing them. But we survived so I guess getting passed by a trailer less than 100 mm from your handlebar at 100 km/h or more isn’t that bad for you.
It really is a spectacular part of the country and you should make the effort to see it. I’d just recommend doing it on a motorbike or in a convertible on a nice sunny day.
(find the little arrows at the sides to navigate you through this gallery!)
In Haast we were well looked after at the Wilderness Backpackers and had great meal and karaoke show at the Hard Antler just down the road ..!
Elevation gain: 1507 m
Distance: 149 km
Time spent on bikes: 7 hours 36 minutes
Max speed: 70.2 kph
Calories burnt: 6413