Not much of a challenge in terms of timing today, just had to relocate to Punakaiki (~80km away) and had until after 2pm (check-in time) to do it.
Because I was alone at the B&B the day started with breakfast at Kitchen Hokitika, next door. It was a lovely morning so I grabbed an outdoor table, was already warm in the morning sun. Their French Toast, and a coffee, was a great start to the day.
Across the road, and a long way from his home, the Carnegie Library was one of 2,500 around the world funded by US Steel Magnate Andrew Carnegie (yes that Carnegie) & Dr Teichelmann helped secure the funds. It is currently being restored and earthquake strengthened, now a museum.
The lovely weather meant outdoor, but not cycling, activities were on the agenda.
With time to spare I drove back to Ross, where we started the West Coast Wilderness Cycle, to do a walk we didn’t have time for. The Ross Water Race Walk is only about 5km, an hour, but includes 150m climb so not just a stroll in the bush. It is well graded gravel and very scenic.
In addition to the views there are historic mining structures, mostly for rerouting water to extract gold.
Weird overhang formed by matted tree roots.
Nor sure if this was genuine or a recreation of a miner's bush accommodation. After a long day chasing gold, they came back to a spartan lifestyle.
Seems the best views are for those who don't see them!
Looking Northwest, the mist was just humidity, not fog.
Looking down the Ross main street and highway North.
Hokitika History and what's up?
Saw a couple of unusual aircraft as I drove back towards Hokitika, low wing monoplanes but larger than most private aircraft. Looked like they landed at Hokitika Airport so I detoured for a look.
They were RNZAF T-6C Texan II trainers which explained the unusual approach. They were refuelling by the time I caught up with them, didn’t see them depart.
Visiting the Teichelmanns
Having read about him and stayed in his home, it only seemed fitting to visit Doctor Teichelmann before leaving town. It helped that the Hokitika Cemetery is on the hill at Seaview, near to the Airport.
I didn’t know where the grave was, but an online photo showed a distinctive iron surround and gave enough context to find it reasonably easily in the large cemetery. Brian had helped restore it and still visits regularly to maintain it.
Drive to Punakaiki
The drive North followed the road I’d ridden yesterday, there are no others, and took me back to Greymouth. I was going to be at Punakaiki for five nights and there is no food other than hotel restaurant, pub and café there.
Even then, with the reduced tourist activity it wasn’t wise to expect much to be open. New World Greymouth was the solution to that, and I stocked up with food to get me through should nothing else be available. Wasn't sure about the kitchen so got a bunch of easy to prepare or reheat type meals and veges/salad, and some kilojoule dense 'treats'.
The advantage of all this biking is I can eat what I want knowing it will be burnt off! The only thing I really missed on the coast was good fresh fruit. Unlike other parts of NZ there is little grown locally, so it is all chilled shipped in supermarket sourced.
The last time I filled the Bravo in Christchurch (a week ago) the 95 Octane it needs was $3.16/l. Topping it up today in Greymouth, with a temporary govt cost of living tax reduction now in play, it was 'only' $2.97/l. That said I spent more at New World 'filling up the bike engine' than I did at Z topping up the car!
I’ve ridden this road several times and would be again. It's such a scenic route, a greater ocean road than the Aussie one…
The sobering Strongman Mine Disaster Memorial and a happier traffic sign.
The highway winding through bush, and view of a surfer. Wetsuit essential year-round I reckon!
While riding yesterday I saw an awesome converted classic rural school bus, now a mobile home. It was in the traditional Department of Education colours but subtly rebranded “Department of Recreation”. I met it again at a lookout, was great to get a photo.
Ten Mile Creek near Punakaiki
My new home, for the week
My home at Punakaiki was a stand-alone cottage that is part of a small Paparoa Park Motel complex. They had four motel style units, a couple of cottages and a house as options. I had the “Blowhole Cottage” which had stunning views North towards the Pancake Rocks area.
Last of a family group I watched crossing the driveway soon after arriving, was too slow to catch the rest.
It was very private, a nice open living area opening on to a deck.
The kitchen had hotplates, a combo convection/microwave oven and large (for a motel) fridge which was good for all my food and cold drinks.
The stunning view with the Pancake Rocks Park in the distance.
The Quiet Rocks
Previous visits to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks had been with cycle tours, and among flocks of coach and independent travellers. The area is well set up for volume, so it felt strange to be all but alone. It was late afternoon (the cafés on short hours were already closed) but to see just a couple of mobile homes in parking sized for dozens was odd. The eerie quiet reinforced how much things have changed.
The Pancake Rocks and Blowholes walk is about one kilometre. I saw one other couple the whole forty minutes I was there. It was unusually calm seas so there wasn’t much blowhole action, took some nice photos before retreating to my cottage for dinner with the amazing view as entertainment.
The layering which gives the Pancake Rocks their name.
The view inland is spectacular too, a hint of what I'd be exploring later in the week.
I wanted to ride the Paparoa Trail, ideally a two-day ride with overnight at Moonlight Tops Hut midway. That was foiled by the hut being totally booked out despite sleeping twenty. Camping is not an option, both not allowed, and I didn’t have the gear, so the other option was a day ride. Would need to pick the right day and do a test ride on the mountain bike after re-assembly so tentatively planned it for the day after tomorrow.
For now, there's just this view, a sunset, and calm moonlit evening to enjoy.