Westport to Motueka

New Zealand

Not much of note happened the past four days since the last post. From Westport we left under a darkening sky on DAY 72 to follow the Buller River upstream to Lyell the campground, which used to be Lyell the town, which disappeared after New Zealand’s gold rush boom went bust around the turn of last century. The only thing left of the town is a gravel road and a small cemetery, oh and swarms of sandflies.

The only way to avoid being bitten by the little vampires is to just hunker down in the tent until it gets dark, so that’s what we did. The sandflies hurled themselves at our tent trying to find an entrance. Every now and then I’d ask Carrie if it had started raining, but it was just the sandfly storm.

From Lyell we had a brief spin up to Murchison on DAY 73. My knee was still acting up so we thought a few short rides might help the pain subside. Murchison is home to very little but it has an interesting history. In 1929 a huge 7.0 earthquake ravaged the area. A museum in town run by little old ladies was lined with newspaper clippings of the aftermath. The museum also displayed the Murchison phone operator’s switchboard, which was in operation until 1987, when the town was finally connected to the modern telephone system!

We had another short day on DAY 74 from Murchison to Glenhope. The great thing about that day was we got to see the sun again. The clouds had been dense and menacing since Westport. When the sun appeared Carrie and my knee celebrated. The warm weather brings out the best in my knee.

Glenhope is home to a few farms and a nice hostel catering to cycle tourists called Hu Ha Bikepackers. Carrie and I spent the remainder of the day reading on the cushy cushions of the couches. The owner Sam lit a fire in the stove to keep the place cozy. It was a good day of rest.

From Glenhope it was mainly downhill for 90km to Motueka on DAY 75. The friendly sun kept my knee happy as we cycled by the picturesque Motueka River and past fruit farms. Apples, pears and kiwi fruit lined the roadside to produce that syrupy smell of ripe and rotting fruit. It was a pleasant ride. We were also pleased to be back in the area known for New Zealand’s finest weather. The forecast for the region showed smiley suns for the next few days.

Since we’ve booked a flight from the nearby town of Nelson back to Auckland on May 5, Carrie and I have about nine days remaining in our trip. It’s all coming to an end so quickly. We’re planning on renting kayaks to explore some of the country’s best beaches in Abel Tasman National Park. Then we have to decide what else we’d like to do before leaving this wonderful country. The only thing we know for sure is that we’d like to come back again.