Racing the rain
There was a heavy rain warning for the Westland district, scheduled for 29 hours from 4pm on Thursday. A real incentive to ensure that we were in our accommodation before the rain started.
So we were up early and on the road by 7:30. There wasn't much to Kumara and we saw just the occasional dog walker as we left the town. We headed past the Kapitea and Kumara reservoirs which were tranquil and still in the morning light.
We met a group of four women on eBikes at the reststop at the Kawhake Intake. They were from Australia and doing a combination of four cycle trails - putting us to shame as we were only managing to do three. We enjoyed our coffee and slice for morning tea with views of the river below.
It was uphill to the Kawhaka Pass at 317metres. At the top, Simon tried taking a photo but the camera fell off the sign post. Fortunately, another cyclist arrived and was happy to help us out. He was part of a group of six on a mix of eBikes and pushbikes.
The trail then wound its way down and we passed a few signs to Cowboys Paradise - a place we had heard a lot about, apparently owned by a big Trump fan. There used to be accommodation and food available there, as well as pole dancing and hunting, but it looked very run down as we cycled past.
The four Australians had stopped there for a snack as it was deserted but then the owner returned and made it very clear that they were to stay on the main route and not wander off. Apparently the other group of cyclists got quite a telling off when we ran into them at our lunch stop.
We continued down more switchbacks to the Arahura River where we stopped for lunch at a newly made shelter with views to the mountains and along the river. There was a mist descending on the mountains, which encouraged us to move on fairly quickly.
We picked up the Milltown Road and encountered a steep climb up Pyramid Hill. Fortunately, the gravel was compact and riding was manageable. We enjoyed the downhill soon reaching Lake Kaniere. It was drizzling and the lake was shrouded in mist. We were sure that the rain had started early.
Past the lake, the trail left the road to follow the Lake Kaniere water race through the forest. The rain stopped and it looked like the sun might even come out, so we were able to shed our rain gear. As I turned onto the road to Hokitika, there was an old man outside his property who warned me to stop as there was a big truck coming. Wise advice as it trundled past me on the narrow road.
On arrival in Hokitika we cycled down to the river mouth and the sea with views of the beach covered in driftwood. The weather was still fine though we were losing the view of the mountains as the cloud descended. We picked up dinner supplies and headed to our accommodation, My Place, which we agreed was our nicest accommodation yet.
With heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, it's good to know that we will have a car for the next few days.