West Coast Beauty Abounds

Our West Coast visit in October ran out of time for the Hokitika Gorge, so we prioritised it this time. We were so pleased that we did. The turquoise water was stunning amid the rocky sides of the gorge and surrounding lush native bush. The 2 km loop track says photograph me every few minutes. Ferns, koromiko flowers and dragonflies added to the magic.

The blue in the water comes from glacial water with fine “rock flour” particles suspended in the water from the grinding of schist rock. Quite possibly a new low carb option I hadn’t considered before.

After a magic riding day the previous day, I was expecting a ride that was comparatively boring along the coast going from Hokitika to Ross. However, the variety, beauty and good weather made it yet another fabulous ride. Once again, Matt and I were joined by Greymouth local and friend, Kerri, providing excellent company.

While Hokitika to Ross is 25 km by car, the bike trail was 33 km, taking the interesting route – through shady tunnels of bush (as Kerri put it so well), along boardwalks over wetlands or across bridges over rivers, mostly following an old railway line that had been pulled up long ago. A little riding was on quiet country roads past dairy farms with freshly mown fields with green plastic-covered hay bales.

Many popping sounds triggered nostalgia when I worked out it was from my tyres running over tar bubbles from the heat on the tarsealed roads. Popping hot tar bubbles was very satisfying as a child, and the satisfaction was amplified with three quite wide tyres in three different locations, so plenty of popping. Joy in the little things.

The advantage of three wheels in three different locations for popping tar bubbles becomes a disadvantage when trying to avoid significant bumps. A section of track was harder going on the Motom with jolting as going on and off many little boardwalks over small wet areas, over large, inconveniently placed stones or over large roots. Kerri and Matt got ahead on these sections as I had to slow right down, and even with a slower speed it’s a bit uncomfortable. Luckily most of the track was pretty smooth. Even better, Andrew’s been thinking about suspension for the Motom.

We finished our ride just after the Totara bridge with Kerri’s son, Peter, kindly driving down to collect Matt to return him to our car that fits the Motom. Moving the Motom around takes a bit of extra planning, but as you can see, it is absolutely worth it!

Ride: 32 km, total riding 242 km for the trip.

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  1. It’s wonderful to keep up with your blog, Natalie: great descriptions, great photos and even great sound tracks. The west coast is a marvellous place to be in, but they do turn on a few too many namu on the Hokitika gorge walk. Another spot we enjoyed near H is the treetops walk: it must have taken us an hour to walk about 400m with so many things to admire. H to Ross used to be described as two blackberry patches divided by a railway line but I suppose the blackberries aren’t quite ripe yet!
    Have lots more fun.
    Love, (Rachel and) David

    1. Too early for blackberries indeed. When we did the Otago cycle trail our timing was better and we found some. Lots of insect repellent kept away most namu, thankfully!

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