Was up early, for me, and fuelled by a lovely breakfast at Teichelmann's B&B. I'd opted for continental; Frances' home-made muesli was awesome.
I put En-Trance (my mountain bike) together and rolled it over to the Cycle Journeys depot, just across the road. They have secure parking, so the next trip was in the Bravo with a bag packed for our overnight stay tonight. We are back at Teichelmann's the following night, then another night away, and I had booked an extra night after the trip finishes. Frances and Brian made that easy by allowing me to leave my luggage in the room, just had to take a small overnight bag for each away night which was transferred by Cycle Journeys. I just rode with a day bag; snacks, wet weather gear and basic tools for on trail repairs.
Met the other two couples on the trip. They were lifelong friends but now live at opposite ends of the country, literally: Northland and Southland, and had met up in Hokitika.
Ross to Treetops Walk
After a briefing in the depot Kym shuttled us, about 30km, to the trail start at Ross. This trail is more about scenery, experiences and history than riding long distances. it would take most of the day to ride back (nearly) to Hokitika.
Thanks to Kym for taking this photo at the West Coast Wilderness Ross start.
You leave Ross with a couple of kilometres on quiet secondary roads.
It was dry, and warm, but there were certainly signs of rain around us.
The first part of the trail proper is rail trail, flat and following the coast but inland of it.
Totara River Bridge gives wonderful views both inland and to the sea.
Then it was on to Papakamai, the small shelter is for respite from foul weather. Not necessary today, yet...
I'd not long taken En-Trance, my MTB, out of a Fiat when encountered mention of another.
Leyland Buses and Fiat Railcars serviced this line until the early 1970s.
It wouldn't be the West Coast without...
The threatening rain arrived but it was just a short, if intense, shower. We sheltered under a tree until it passed. Tick riding in rain off the West Coast Wilderness experience list.
Rain soon passed, after the rail trail there's a short section on quiet secondary roads to the next attraction and lunch stop.
West Coast Treetop Walkway & Café
The West Coast Treetop Walkway & Café is ideally located for a lunch stop on the trail.
Opened in 2012, there's a nice café and gift shop in addition to the treetop walk. I found some cool wooden 'walk' coasters which winged their way to Rach at Walk The Pod in the U.K.
I didn't think to take a photo of it, so here's one from Rach on the other side of the globe!
It arrived late March and was mentioned in this WTP:
Walk the Pod | WtP S25E13 | Powerful or pitiful?
Today, I’m walking the cyclepath thinking about power and pity on the most beautiful day in the world.
Rach never got to see my scrawly printing as the Hokitika Post Office man meticulously re-wrote the customs/shipping form I had filled in... Didn't say anything, just looked at it, took out a new form, and filled it in!
The walk in impressive, there's ~450m of platform about 20m above the ground threading through the rainforest.
It's not often you get this perspective!
Love the unique chance to view the variety of flora & fauna that lives up here. Below, just a tiny section of one tree limb...
For an even better view climb the 40-metre tower.
This cantilever section was a bit, engineered, bouncy at the end, fun!
Back to the bikes for leg two.
Treetops to West Coast Scenic Waterways
Back on the trail, this section follows the historic Mananui Bush Tramline (Mahinapua Walkway) path. Totally different to the coastal path and a lovely flowing ride back towards the coast.
The character changes again as you approach Mahināpua Creek / Tūwharewhare. Bush creek trail becomes wetland boardwalks parallel to the coast heading towards Hokitika.
The rain returned but not enough to bother, we weren't far from the overnight stop, so timing was good.
West Coast Scenic Waterways
A welcoming sign and distinctive sculpture meant it was impossible to miss our accommodation for the night. West Coast Scenic Waterways is just off the trail, about 5km before Hokitika, offering accommodation and hospitality in a rural setting by the waterways.
Owners Cindy & Gavin met us on arrival at the main building. It has some accommodation and a large, and beautifully equipped/decorated, communal space for socialising and dining. If, like me, not staying in this building there's a special treat awaiting nearby.
My Tiny Home
I get to stay in this lovely new tiny home with a view to the wilderness. They've added them as the business has grown from its main building start. It's a sensible strategy and a nice place to stay.
It has a living, sleeping area with full ensuite shower bathroom. All you need and nothing you don't.
This welcoming platter was waiting for me but took it back to the main building to join the others who had a large, shared, version of the same.
Due to COVID separation dinner was pre-prepared but self-service: hot smoked salmon, veges, salads, bread and dessert. All nice and much of it locally sourced. There was a fridge full of drinks, just write on the board what you'd taken, and it was sorted the next day.
Bizarrely we couldn't do the waterway tour as the incredibly low summer rainfall (if not today) meant the water level was too low for the boat. Could have gone kayaking but by now it was raining steadily and quite gloomy so passed on that. Better to relax, relive the day and watch a Weka in occasionally torrential rain; how West Coast can you get!?
A reminder of where to go tomorrow...
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