After collecting AHBART in Christchurch late in the evening I drove out to Akaroa. There were three motivating factors for this;
- I’ve never been to Akaroa
- A former colleague has retired there and it was a chance to catch up.
- I had been told it was a great drive!
I didn’t arrive until well after dark and had a bit of a sleep in, till about eight, so my ‘Akaroa Waterfront Motels’ accommodation was a bit wasted. Nice place though.
The harbour looked stunning, calm and sunny weather helps!
After brunch with Rich I was back on the road, destination Westport. The choice between Arthurs or Lewis Pass could wait for later but, having seen nothing in the dark going out there, I opted for the high, Okains Bay/Summit, road out of Akaroa.
The Banks Peninsular roads were fun in the Abarth. Tight & twisty suit this little go-kart.
On the road back towards Christchurch the view in the distance made the route decision for me. It was a stunning fine clear day and the Southern Alps on the horizon beckoned. Arthurs Pass it was!
I have cycled this road several times, both directions, and it was fun pedalling the Abarth up there. At full throttle BART uses 25L/100km and at times, on some of the climbs, the ‘Fuel Range’ distance plummeted from ~500 to ~150! It only has a 35 litre tank and was glad I had filled up at Springfield, at the base of the Alps!
I was surprised how many large trucks (H rated) were grinding up the Alps but there was little other traffic and plenty of opportunities to pass. Just after the Craigieburn Valley Ski Field road there is a steep descent and sharp turn. I was well aware of it, from the cycling and it is well signposted, but arrived to find a tourist couple in a motorhome had gone off the road.
I was the second car to arrive so stopped to see if they were ok. They were, already out of the van, and the first car had already contacted the emergency/recovery services for them. It was good nobody was hurt but their vehicle would need a tow truck to get out of where it ended up.
Knowing it would be late in the evening before I got to Westport I’d grabbed some food at Springfield & stopped by the river for an afternoon snack. I had an iced coffee, Moro bar and nice home baked choc chip cookie from the Brown Bag Lunch made by Waitaki Braids back in Kurow! I had forgotten it was still in my bag until getting ready this morning!
Some big rigs ply these hills!
As is often the case crossing over Arthurs Pass meant a change of weather. The cloud I had seen up on the peaks was descending by the time I stopped to see the kea at the Otira Viaduct lookout. I didn’t stop for long as they have a taste for car trim!
On the Lake Brunner road the rain arrived and BART clicked over 158,000km. The phone in the photo reminds me I was listening to Adam Buxton ramble chatting to Ruby Wax (Episode 90). It includes her recalling interviews she did with Donald Trump, Carrie Fisher, O.J. Simpson and others, a great podcast.
When I saw this empty parking spot in a line up of little cars I had to slot mine in for a photo. Have seen this display, at an old garage at Dobson, featured in quite a few NZ publications.
I was hoping for lovely sunset views on the coast road, from Greymouth to Westport, but drizzle and low cloud/sea fog meant that didn’t happen! Have ridden this road several times, in rain and sun, but it is wonderful in any weather. It was dark by the time I got to Westport. The persistent drizzle and cold weren’t encouraging for tomorrow, I have another cycle ride planned!