Wanaka - Makarora: The wind has its way...

Tuesday November 2, 2010, 66 km (41 miles) - Total so far: 532 km (331 miles)

Time: 5:57 Distance: 66.49 km Average: 11.1 kph Max: 52.9 kph Altitude Gain: 806 m

Well, what was expected to be quite an easy day distance wise turned out to be anything but. Last night, just after I returned from dinner in Wanaka, a quite strong wind sprung up out of the west. I immediately suspected that this would not be good for me, and that is how it turned out to be.

I took my time getting started this morning, expecting a relatively easy day, especially after some R&R, even thought the route was expected to have quite a bit of up and down. So it was 9:30 am before I finished breakfast on Wanaka's trendy lakeside restaurant strip and left. The undulations started immediately, and so did the winds, although they were manageable at first.

I felt good and made excellent progress along the western shore of Lake Hawea, and by midday reached the days halfway point, a high lookout not far from The Neck, the narrow strip of land that separates Lake Hawea from Lake Wanaka.

This seemed a good spot for lunch, and shortly after I arrived a young Swiss couple rode up from the other direction, and we spent an hour chewing the fat about our tours and impressions of New Zealand. I have had only a few brief encounters with other cycle tourists so far and it was good to spend some time chatting.

By the time I departed my lunch spot the wind had really started to pick up, and once I crossed The Neck the route clung to the steep slopes of Lake Wanaka's eastern shore, which was very exposed. Here I chatted briefly with another tourist, a Kiwi, travelling light on a road bike with only a seat post mounted carrier and minimal luggage.

From here what was an incredibly scenic outlook over the lake was hardly noticed, let alone admired. I struggled to keep balance and avoid wobbling out into the road. For the rest of the way to Makarora it was a real slog against the wind. And arriving at the settlement wasn't the end of the day, the camping ground I was headed for was still another 10 kilometers further up the road.

I'm hoping the winds will ease tomorrow for my leg down to Haast on the west coast, but the forecast is not good - it will likely be wind or rain, or probably both. If conditions are not good I may even be forced to stay here, but that is something I'd prefer to avoid.

On a bright note, this morning I received email from Heather in Nepal. Her trekking group has reached Namche Bazaar, the last place along the Everest trail where there is internet. All members are well and they will head on tomorrow into the high Himalaya leading up to base camp. It was very good to hear from her.

Wanaka is a very trendy place...

Beautiful Lake Hawea...

And just across the Neck, the equally beautiful Lake Wanaka, 45.5 km long, 311m deep, and 277m above sea level, so the bottom is actually below sea level. Note the white caps on its surface...

No comments:

Post a Comment