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NZ Tour 2004

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NZ Tour

Woke up fairly early, biked into Arthurs Pass village and had a look around. Left shortly after checking to weather and having a hot chocolate, I've been there before so there's no real excitement. Except the downhill, and the "new" viaduct (I haven't seen it before). That was fun, and the big thrill going upwind through the pass like I did is that you get to descent 500-odd metres in a very short bit of road. Yippee! Then on and down to Greymouth where I expected the West Coast to live up to its reputation (rainy) and stayed in a backpackers. It rained :)


Rainbow in Arthur's PassRainbow in Arthur's Pass
Otira Slide - normally I'd expect a mini-glacier in that valley but it's gone now. Thanks Australia!Otira Slide - normally I'd expect a mini-glacier in that valley but it's gone now. Thanks Australia!
The pillar marking the pass. Note the scrubby vegetation - high rainfall but alpine and windy.The pillar marking the pass. Note the scrubby vegetation - high rainfall but alpine and windy.
Kea - alpine parrot. very smart birds, very inquisitive. If people feed them they learn to associate people's gear with food.Kea - alpine parrot. very smart birds, very inquisitive. If people feed them they learn to associate people's gear with food.
So they get in the habit of checking it out. The thing to remember is that when a smart bird with big sharp claws and a powerful beak wants to look insied your bag, it  can do that.So they get in the habit of checking it out. The thing to remember is that when a smart bird with big sharp claws and a powerful beak wants to look inspired your bag, it can do that.
Well, nearly :)  Kea's are somewhat notorious for ripping open packs and tents, and pulling rubber trim off cars. which sounds vaguely annoying, but when you wake up to the sun shining through a new hole in your tent and a feathery head pooking through, "annoying" doesn't seem adequate.Well, nearly :) Kea's are somewhat notorious for ripping open packs and tents, and pulling rubber trim off cars. which sounds vaguely annoying, but when you wake up to the sun shining through a new hole in your tent and a feathery head poking through, "annoying" doesn't seem adequate.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the viaduct. (big image)Everything you ever wanted to know about the viaduct. (big image)
The old road goes up and right, the new viaduct to the left. Note that it's fairly steep going up. Going down the other side used to be worse.The old road goes up and right, the new viaduct to the left. Note that it's fairly steep going up. Going down the other side used to be worse.
Old road down there on the right. Well, the scree slope where they old road used to get rebuilt several times a year... which is why they finally got the tech and money to built the viaduct. Used to be a very steep road with very tight corners up from the scree to this point.Old road down there on the right. Well, the scree slope where they old road used to get rebuilt several times a year... which is why they finally got the tech and money to built the viaduct. Used to be a very steep road with very tight corners up from the scree to this point.
The roof is so scree flows over the top of the road. I had to stop down there while my brakes cooled off.The roof is so scree flows over the top of the road. I had to stop down there while my brakes cooled off.
30 minutes later, 500m lower... The town of Otira, most famous (to me) because most of it was for sale at one stage. The whole town. Conditional, of course, on the buyer keeping it going... it's still here, so I assume that worked.30 minutes later, 500m lower... The town of Otira, most famous (to me) because most of it was for sale at one stage. The whole town. Conditional, of course, on the buyer keeping it going... it's still here, so I assume that worked.
Lunch at Lake Poerua, on the way to Lake Brunner. A small pond with dairy cattle nearby and a very nice place to stop.Lunch at Lake Poerua, on the way to Lake Brunner. A small pond with dairy cattle nearby and a very nice place to stop.
Inland West Coast - lots of dairy, some cattle farming. Anything that can survive the weather, basically.Inland West Coast - lots of dairy, some cattle farming. Anything that can survive the weather, basically.
Typical remnant vegetation on the side of the road - some punga (tree ferns), various other natives. Plus introduced grass.Typical remnant vegetation on the side of the road - some punga (tree ferns), various other natives. Plus introduced grass.
Railway line right next to the road on the way out the Greymouth. I suspect that is a train just coming round the corner - lots of coal trains up and down, coal is mined all over the coast and trucked (or rarely railed) to a depot, then on the train through Arthur's Pass to Christchurch. So the roads can be a bit busy, although I didn't have any problems. In my experience it's not the truckies that I have to worry about, it's the morons who forget that they're driving a campervan or towing a caravan... so their vehicle is 30cm wider each side than usual.Railway line right next to the road on the way out the Greymouth. I suspect that is a train just coming round the corner - lots of coal trains up and down, coal is mined all over the coast and trucked (or rarely railed) to a depot, then on the train through Arthur's Pass to Christchurch. So the roads can be a bit busy, although I didn't have any problems. In my experience it's not the truckies that I have to worry about, it's the morons who forget that they're driving a campervan or towing a caravan... so their vehicle is 30cm wider each side than usual.
Another lunch (the same day). Found this neat shed at the end of someones driveway and stopped for a break. Was feeling the length of the day after yesterdays effort through the pass, but didn't really want to camp around here.Another lunch (the same day). Found this neat shed at the end of someone's driveway and stopped for a break. Was feeling the length of the day after yesterdays effort through the pass, but didn't really want to camp around here.