Go West to Westland. Wanaka to Franz Josef Glacier. 

Map of our route. 

 

 
Sunday 29th. Wanaka to Makarora. 74 km. 
After multiple rest days, movies and heavy rain, we finally got back on the road and headed to the coast. The scenery continues to awe. 
 
On the way we met a German cyclist named Buggi and his bike Berta. He knows our friend Heike (Pushbikegirl) who stayed with us in Hong Kong last year. We felt a bit guilty when he told us he was managing to travel on $15 a day. That’s generally what we spend on lunch, or more  
Had a good chat with a South African couple Cas and Lisa from our Milford Track hike 2 weeks ago. They recognized us as they drove by and made a U turn. Small world.  
A small mouse kept us awake much of the night with its scratching and rustling. It would freeze and then bolt in panic every time we turned the lights on. It would have been cute had we been able to get more sleep.  

Met a very funny young French couple Coralline and Cou Cou (sp?) who were wild camping most nights and had spent two nights in a touristy cave during some severe rainstorms on the coast two weeks ago. They had fled a flooding river in the middle of the night, found the cave, set up their tent and started pointing out things to surprised tourists who visited during the next two days. Great travel advice and stories. 
Beautiful Amanita muscaria mushrooms were everywhere around our cabin.   

 

Monday 30th. Makarora to Haas. 80 km 
Long day over the pass into Westland, the Western Coast of the South Island.  Complete climate change from the relatively dry and barren Otago region to the rainforest of the coast. When the clouds would lift you could glimpse glaciers in the distance. 
  
Tuesday 31st. Haast to lake paringa. 64 km
 
Long and mostly flat ride that seemed to go on forever. A cyclist at the campground had hiked the Pacific Crest Trail for five months in 2012.  We had just seen “Wild” and asked what he thought. He said that at the re-supply stops on the trail he keept meeting women who wanted to know what issues he was working through on the hike. He said none, he just loved to hike. Oprah had recently featured the book and author on her show. 
  
Wednesday, April 1st. Lake Paringa to fox glacier. 70 km
  
Woke up to a dewy sunrise on the mirrored lake Paringa. 
  
There were sand flies everywhere.  Biting, blood sucking, tiny little mites. Their breakfast was served the moment we opened the tent fly. In their memory I’ve composed a short piece. 
Ode to The Sandfly
In 3 stanzas

Sand flies in the shower,
Sand flies on my nose,
Sand flies by the hour,
Like to bite my toes.

Sand flies during breakfast,
Sand flies on my chin,
Sand flies having blood fests,
As they eat my shins. 

Sand flies always bite you,
When your skin’s exposed. 
When you’re ’round the sand flies,
You’d best keep on your clothes.  

Mark Thomsen 2015

Thursday, April 2nd. Rest Day at Fox Glacier.  Hiked to glacier and around Lake Matheson. Cycled 22 km. 
  
Lots of clouds so we spent much of the day looking down at the forest floor instead of up.
  
Found a beautiful sky blue Enteloma hochstetteri that is also depicted on the NZ $50 bill. 
   

 

The water and moss on a glacial pond were more photogenic than the cloud shrouded glacier. 
  
Met up for dessert with John Hockridge, a friend from Hong Kong who surprisingly happened to be in town for the night. Thanks to John and Dana for treating us to an excellent chocolate cheesecake and conversation. 
   

 

Friday, April 3rd. Fox Glacier to Franz Josef Glacier. 23 km. 

In the morning we took the short but steep road to Franz Josef Glacier and then spent a couple of hours having a long soak in the hot pools. Perfect for sore legs on a cool and rainy afternoon and the sand fly bites didn’t seem to itch as much afterwards.  Bonus. 
  
Saturday, April 4th. Rain day at Franz Josef Glacier.  Hiked to Glacier. 

After a second breakfast and between rain showers, we had a lazy hike up to the glacier.

 

Clouds obscured the top.   

  Spent the rest of the day eating. WE EAT A LOT and it doesn’t show, despite how King looks in the photo.  

  I have dessert 3 times a day.  You can do that when all you do is cycle :-). Have more, the dessert witch says with her seductions.   

 

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