To the West Coast
Wednesday 15th March
Christchurch - Kumara
We were up early as we knew we had to be at Christchurch station 20 minutes before the Transzalpine train to Greymouth was due to depart at 8:15.
We appreciated the myriad of bike paths as our route took us on dedicated cycle paths or cycle lanes. There were heaps of people on bikes commuting to work. Clearly we weren't travelling at commuter speed as we were passed by people on E-Scooters, skateboards and other cyclists.
There was a reasonable queue when we arrived at the station and an obliging cyclist helped us lift our bikes up the stairs, as the queue was fully occupying the ramp.
Check in was seamless, and before long our bikes and panniers had been dispatched to the luggage car and we were comfortably ensconced in our seats with massive windows to fully appreciate the view.
There was a running commentary throughout the trip and we learnt a lot about the passing countryside including the local environment, history, landholders and geology. We could now fully appreciate the many braided rivers that we had seen earlier on our travels. We had a brief stop at Arthur's Pass whilst an additional two locomotives were added to provide additional braking support for the 1 in 33 grade descent.
We were a little late arriving in Greymouth and had to wait a while for our bikes. We headed to Sevenpenny for a late lunch where I tried a whitebait sandwich - one of the local specialties.
After a brief detour to the supermarket to stock up on lunch provisions for tomorrow, we headed off on the Western Wilderness trail. We cycled along the river, past fishing boats before reaching the coast. The beach was very pebbly and not particularly appealing. We crossed a few rivers before picking up the tramway to Kumara.
The Route 73 Motel was empty when we arrived, and we couldn't see where to check in. I rang the Motel and was advised that someone would come shortly. Apparently our booking was listed as cancelled. Fortunately, it was still free and after a quick bit of housekeeping we were able to enter.
We had dinner at the Theatre Royal Hotel - a buzzing place with a nice atmosphere. Our salmon with summer vegetables was excellent.