Sunny southern scenery

Who would have thought that the sun would shine in NZ today? We set off without a hitch, catching the train on time and even got seats on the sunny side. It was a relaxing ride with amazing scenery. As we travelled through Arthur's Pass, the clouds rolled in and the rain came down. The commentator took great delight in reminding us that the west coast gets 5 metres of rain per year. Fortunately for us, by the time we arrived in Greymouth, the sun was shining again. It was a very easy 29 km ride into Kumara along the west coast wilderness trail. The track is built on old train and tram lines. The kiwis insist on chucking gravel on the trail, making it a bit bumpy, but it is infinitely better than the Alps to Ocean trail. 

We are staying in a cottage across the road from the pub, It's rather freezing, so after dinner in the warm pub, we came back and lit the fire. It is now raging. Ray hasn't managed to remove his beanie yet so it must be cold. We are currently amusing ourselves watching Maori television, where they are catching possums for their fur. Great viewing. Must get ready for a 70 km ride tomorrow. Apparently it will be sunny again. Who would have thought?


I won't harp on it, but how often do you reckon Brenda could manage to get a pole of some description in the shot whilst travelling along by train? Without boring you with the probablility calculations, i estimate the chances are, say,1 in 30. How often does it happen? Say, 1 in 3. It can't be luck or lack of it. There has to be a skill to it. Any way, we are on the Tranzalpine (see what they did there? clever) and on our way on what is apparently one of the great train journeys of the world no less.


It is very rugged and spectacular country. That could be some bee hives down there.


Plenty of wild rivers with waters of melting snow and ice. Brenda would be right at home swimming, but alas no opportunity. The grey stuff you see either side of the water here and what you will see in a number of the following pics, is shingle, a word that puts fear into the heart of any cyclist on a NZ trail.


SNow capped mountains in the background and shingle in the foreground. On our short 30 klm journey yesterday we passed at least three rudimentary shingle processing plants where they grade the stuff in piles where the biggest piles have rocks the size of your head down to coarse sand size.



Arthurs pass named after one of the Dobson brothers, who originally surveyed the Alps for a pass between east and west. Not sure what the building would have looked like if they decided on building the crossing on the pass that the other brothers, George or Edward, discovered.


I think the residents of an old peoples' home were on the train. It was packed with old fogeys (a bit like us). Mind you we were the only ones with bikes on the train


Not a great shot, but I had to show you these cloned cows. The only other explanation for their identical white stripes around their torso was that the farmer insisted on all his staff wearing the same uniform.


We are ready to rumble. At least this shingle path was pretty solid. A minimal amount of fine loose shingle on the surface.


Greymouth used to be a bustling town with many pubs and institutions. This is just a small sample.


A quick check of the map before we proceed.


The west coast is WILD. More shingle.


Bridge across the Kumara Gorge which is about 100m deep



Another wild river below.


Brenda making the crossing safely. Just about made it to Kumara - about 4 k's to go


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