Greymouth - Reefton: Getting away from the grey...

Wednesday November 10, 2010, 79 km (49 miles) - Total so far: 937 km (582 miles)

Time: 5:21 Distance: 79.34 km Average: 15.6 kph Max: 60.0 kph Altitude Gain: 606 m

Today I left the west coast, and on another glorious riding day, headed inland up the Grey Valley on roads that will eventually lead me to Lewis Pass, and back to the east coast.

Robert Harris café near the Greymouth Railway Station made me a great breakfast and the best coffee I can remember having so far this trip. I'll keep them in mind if I make it back over Arthur's Pass next week.

Shortly after leaving the town the Grey Valley narrows to a rocky gorge. It seems an odd place, but here were sited two of the main coal mines in the area. I presume erosion of the the river had exposed the coal seams to prospectors. Soon after the landscape opened to a broad valley, and with the breeze again at my back, I made good progress even though the general trend was upward. My legs were feeling good after a couple of easy days.

At Ahaura I was gripped by an urge to eat ice cream, and stopped briefly at the general store, then had another brief stop at Ikamatua for a lunchtime ham roll. Hearing the buzzing of a helicopter, I idled some time away watching linesmen stringing new cables on a power line. Helicopters are so common in NZ - it's not unusual to ride past a farm and see one parked in a barn.

Edit: A week after I passed through Ikamatua, an explosion at the Pike River Coal mine, only 20 kms away, claimed 29 lives. My condolences to the families and friends of the miners.

Near Totara Flat I passed a field where there were five magnificent stags, with huge antlers still in velvet. It won't be long before they are roaring I think.

Approaching Reefton I met a young Taiwanese guy, and spent a little time comparing notes. He seemed to have a huge load, with a full-sized backpack strapped across his panniers, and even a fishing rod protruding like a mast. He had no bike computer and little idea of the time - by now it was almost mid-afternoon, and when I told him he still had 66 kilometres to Greymouth he decided it was no time for idle chat, and got going.

So, by 4 pm I was comfortable settled in a cabin at the domain camping ground, showered and writing up my journal. Now it's time for a wander around the town and see what's to be had for dinner.

Over there, the Brunner mine...

Over here, the Tyneside mine - since it's on the banks of the Grey, why wasn't it called the Greyside mine?

There are NO rednecks in New Zealand...

Ladies-in-waiting, The next generation of milk producers...

No comments:

Post a Comment