After yesterday's efforts I had a lazy morning and leisurely breakfast at the motel. Decided on more of a rest day with a ride out to Moke Lake, just 15km from Queenstown. it's about 8km along the lakeside Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, then 7km into the mountains on Moke Lake Rd, which climbs the 'Seven Mile Creek' valley. Still means ~400m climbing but not much distance, and I had not been there before.
It's a mix of tarmac/gravel road, but with the bonus of a Farm/MTB trail (red on map) back to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road to add variety. That's why I rode En-Trance MTB again.
It was another stunning day, albeit eleven in the morning by the time I set out...
To Moke Lake...
The ride along the lakefront had a few hills to 'warm the legs up'. Felt OK after all the hills yesterday but was still 'adjusting' to the En-Trance seat. Think it's more suited to trail riding than long days on the road but will see how it goes.
Clouds hug the mountains towards Walter Peak Station & Von Valley.
The Moke Lake Road climb begins, tarmac to start with...
Warnings for the road in less welcoming weather as you get to the gravel.
At last, the top!
On my... and downhill too, and that's Lake Kirkpatrick, not Moke Lake
DOC farming this area, and that is Moke Lake
Part of the Lake Loop trail I would not be riding.
This resident came over to see who'd stopped by their the lake.
It looks this good in photos and they don't capture it at all well.
There were a few people, in tents and camper vans, at the DOC Campsite.
It was a weekday, Wednesday, and by mid-February most people are back at work/school. I avoid photographing people I don't know but talked with several retired couples doing the camper or motel drive tour thing here.
Like everyone they were adjusting plans around COVID, one had an army reunion cancelled but came on the trip they'd booked around it anyway. All were curious about my trip, now it was a bit 'off season' most encounters began with 'What are you up too?'.
I also met this little fellow, below, waiting to be found on a lakeside post and enjoying the view.
Moke Lake Loop Track
There are several trail options to get out of Moke Lake. Considered some of the tracks around the back of Ben Lomond (map right) towards Arthurs Point but it looked a bit long and demanding for a 'rest day'.
My TRAILFORKS subscription paid off today. I was seriously considering it until read the trail reports about lots of 'hike-a-bike' and boggy sections, even in summer.
Not for this trip but added to the 'reasons to come back list'. I took the Loop Track around the lake on the right (in photo below), Mt Crichton, side of the lake.
Heading for the gap in the mountains at the end.
It climbs a bit but was good condition mix of single-track and farm trail.
Looking back towards the DOC Camp.
I would be leaving this trail for the descent back to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road.
View across the lake to the Moke Lake 'Glamping' spot.
Moke Lake to Lake Dispute Track
This where I leave the Loop track to join the Moke Lake to Lake Dispute Track. DOC use the reverse name (Dispute to Moke), but I was riding downhill to Lake Dispute, quite a descent judging from the trail reports.
What are the odds would meet the only other cyclist I saw on this trail at the one point, this cattle grid, where passing wasn't an option! It was another escapee from work, enjoying trails he hadn't ridden before but coming in on this trail.
The trail down to Lake Dispute is a farm trail but the loose surface and steep gradient make it challenging.
Photos really don't capture how rapidly this descends.
The loose rocky surface was more a factor than the trail gradient.
Looking over Lake Dispute towards Lake Whakatipu.
The view back up the valley captures the descent better. Was OK but I was glad to have suspension, fat tyres, and disc brakes!
Nicely placed rest stop, snack, and drink time.
While cycling through perfection I was listening to Alan Alda and Jacqueline Novogratz: More Than Money Alone. It was an amazing talk about how 'The opposite of poverty is not wealth, it's dignity' An inspiring journey with life changing outcomes.
"Jacqueline Novogratz has recognized the need among the poor for something more than just money: dignity. Employing a new kind of capitalism, her company, Acumen, has invested $128 million to build more than 128 social enterprises across Africa, Latin America, South Asia, and the United States.
These companies have leveraged an additional $611 million and brought basic, critical services like affordable education, health care, clean water, energy and sanitation to more than 300 million people."
There are a few kilometres of single-track nearer the road.
Lake Whakatipu from the Lake Dispute trail.
T.S.S. Earnslaw heading towards Walter Peak Station dwarfed by the mountains behind. It's in the photo above too!
Wilson Bay, Closeburn
Wilson Bay and the adjacent 'Seven Mile Reserve and Mountain Bike Park' are at the end of the single-track trail. Thought about doing those trails but got distracted later...
A 27.5-inch diameter framed view of Wilson Bay, Closeburn
Idyllic, warm, perfect but a bit crowded...?
This is where the 'rest day' went wrong
Looking at the map it was just a few kilometres to Twelve Mile Delta. I mean, come this far should have a look...
Twelve Mile Delta
Leaving Wilson Bay behind...
Twelve Mile Delta has a big DOC camp and pleasant beach but not as sheltered as Wilsons. Apparently, it was a location for Lord of the Rings' Ithilien Camp, but I haven't seen, not interested in, LOTR.
Bob's Cove Track
Bob's Cove Track is a shared path, bike and walk, from Twelve Mile Delta to (surprise) Bob's Cove. It's a nice wide gravel trail with some hills, and magnificent views over Lake Whakatipu.
I stopped at this unnamed, on maps at least, beach (below) just a few metres off the trail. It was about half-three when I arrived here, met another cyclist and fellow 'Reliver', Reve, who was taking in the views when I arrived.
Stopped for a break, a couple of swims and mostly had the beach to myself. The water was, umm, 'bracing' but OK once in and so warm when out, a nice refresher. A family group came down to the speedboat on the right. They must have lived nearby as tried to go out without their dog; saying "He'll go home when we leave". The dog was having none of it, climbed aboard several times, and in the end went with them.
Bit of a slump on the track, OK for me going this way but glad it was marked with cones. For people coming the other way it was quite a drop-off on an otherwise very tame trail.
Historic Kilns and remnants of a limestone/brick industry now long gone now.
Bob's Cove is just stunning.
The trail winds from the beach back through bush to the Queenstown-Glenorchy Road.
Towards Bennetts Bluff
Cut to the 2022 version shot with a phone. The barriers arrived sometime in the last nineteen years, quite recently judging by their condition. I didn't have a van this time but found it incredible how similar, weather and all, the scene before me was. A bit freaky!
Still snow up top there, even after a long scorching summer.
Bennetts Bluff Viewpoint
There is a now a proper Viewpoint at Bennetts Bluff with carpark, facilities, and a trail up to this platform. I suspect it was built for the coachloads of tourists who once followed this road to Glenorchy, Dart River, Paradise, and the Routeburn Track Great Walk beyond. it was a privilege to have it to myself, a solitary car arrived just as I was leaving.
First time I came here I didn't have a digital camera and only a basic mobile phone. Today (although reception was a bit patchy) I was able to join the Auckland Revit Software User Group web-meeting for a while, listening to a presenter in Charlotte, NC, USA, until my battery got a bit low. How technology has changed, the best 'Zoom meeting background' ever!
With a wilting phone, Zoom on 5G in the mountains sucks battery, and evening approaching it was time to head back.
There's only one road, so back to Queenstown it was.
In normal times there would be a bit of traffic on this road, but not this evening.
It was about seven; a bit cool in the shade but still warm in the sun.
Some were still swimming at Wilson Bay; I'd done my dash of that for the day and pressed on.
Racing Mrs Ferg
It was about quarter-past seven when I remembered 'Mrs Ferg Gelateria' closed at 8pm. Don't give me time, give me a deadline!
Evening shadows to chase home.
Lake Whakatipu evening, racing the setting sun and a gelato deadline.
Got there just in time; 'Mrs Ferg' only had a few flavours left as it was just minutes before they closed. A two-scoop tub of 'Dark Chocolate' & 'Cookies & Cream' Gelato, slightly melting and half consumed by the time I got down to the lakefront. The perfect pick-up before heading 'home' to clean up and come back to find dinner.
End of a 'rest day', so I thought, after ~80km riding, ~1600m climbing and nine-hour ride.
Hunting for dinner
By the time I got cleaned up and headed out looking for dinner it was well after ten. With so few tourists in town nearly everything, even fast-food chains, was closed. After a lap of the town, I gave up and headed back. 'Dinner' was a mix of stuff I already had back at the motel, then I crashed! Time for a rest.