Half way to Wanaka

We made it over Mt Hercules without stopping, except at the beginning, where I had to change my pants (no, not from fright, I just got too hot). I was looking a bit smug by the time we descended, but Ray couldn't see as he is always in the lead. He has figured that the cars will hit me first. After the Herculean effort, it was a pretty easy ride for the rest of the day to Franz Josef. 

We missed a shortcut on an unmarked road which had a no through road sign on it (in NZ they are referred to as "no exit"). I wasn't prepared to venture down it, but it proved to be the right road, after we passed the other end of it a couple of kms further on. Luckily we didn't take it because we would have missed a toilet stop. Rule of the cyclist - always use a toilet if you see one. You never know when there will be another. 

Stopping at a lake, so Ray could change his gloves (his hands got too sweaty with all the ups and downs) we managed to get covered in sand flies. We attained a land speed record for exiting. It only took 5 hours to get to Franz Josef, so we treated ourselves to drinks and wedges, sitting in the sun and listening to the helicopters taking off for the glacier. We had two hours to spare before we caught a bus to Fox. Ray was being considerate and knew that he would not fare well if I had to ride over three mountains and an extra 25 km in addition to the 60 km ride. I loved that bus!

We have just arrived back at our digs after dinner and a night stroll through the ancient rainforest to see the glow worms. It was only a two minute walk up the road, but I thought we might have to spend the night walking around in a perpetual loop. Fortunately we managed to find the exit. Luckily we are riding bikes so we can see everything properly, except the glaciers. Even though we have stopped at two towns just minutes away from them, we have no time to see them. Saw a picture on a wall instead.

it hasn't rained yet, but the forecast isn't looking good for Sunday. In some ways I will be sorry if I don't get to use my $150 Katmandu rain pants, but mostly I would be very happy not to. Tomorrow should be a very easy downhill ride for 70 kms. Let's hope so.


After riding over Mt Hercules, we eventually came to a little town called Whataroa. Brenda reckons that the "Wh" is pronounced as an "F" but I am not so sure. As it turns out, our Google maps directions had us bypassing this place, but we ended up taking a slightly longer route through the town. That wasn't so bad as the road was really smooth (as oppose on going on a dirt road on the alt route) and we got to sit down on something that was not a bicycle seat. That can only be a good good thing as 15 hours sitting on a bike seat in three days to that point, especially since we have not been doing any long rides recently, is a real pain in the arse. But I digress. In this part of the country, there is a lot of nothing in between other bits of abandoned settlements or other various dreams gone up in smoke (or washed away as the case may be). So to come across a little town like Whataroa is a little treat. Even more so when you spot a sign like this which was placed on two tables at the local picnic area, but not on the other two. They were all placed side by side. We all know that the anti smoking thing has reached fever pitch(I'm ok with that) but i did not know the anti coffee (or more accurately anti-beverage) lobby was a "thing". In Whataroa it apparently is.


This is a pretty common sight on our journey, going around a bend in order to avoid a bloody huge snow capped mountain. And by the way, just to clarify Brenda's comments about me leading, above.

Let me just say that I do not choose to lead all the time.


Another freezing cold lake, although this one was a little different in that it had a horde of giant sandflies in wait of those foolish enough to stop and take a photo.


We have seen a lot of ferns and moss. Here is a massive fern covered rock wall.


Just coming into Franz Josef. The mist you see at the top left covering some of the snow capped mountains is where the glacier is. Unfortunately, we will have to visit another day and be satisfied with the iced water we had at the bar as being the only thing frozen we saw here.


Speaking of the bar and the carafe of iced water. Here it is.


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