Yes, we have finally conquered the West Coast with all its beauties, and in response to the previous blog: no, we didn’t get lucky concerning the weather. The West Coast on the Southern Island runs from Westport in the north to Haast in the south. We received a representation of all the classics known to mankind of this rocking adventurous road: rough sea, rugged coastline, wild landscapes, and defying weather. Our idea of the West Coast turned out to be pretty accurate: (1) Untamed sea and coastline. After already three days of cycling along the coast we were fascinated by the perfect and powerful waves breaking on the shore and quickly wondered why there were no surfers. The answer was given by different locals who clearly explained that the sea is just too tough. (2) Big skies in big nature. Don’t touch it, just let it be ! Ocean with beaches, mountains with glaciers, and impenetrable rainforest. All of it on a background of dark clouds with rain intermingled with sunbeams and rainbows. (3) Mighty weather. Sunny, wet, hot, cold, windy, we’ve had it all. We did expect the rain, the wind, and the sun, but we hadn’t thought it would have been that cold. It was a long time ago that we felt we didn’t even have energy left to warm up again.
All the hardships were made worthwhile by the beauties the West Coast offered, but also, as a cherry on top of the cake, by the meeting of Stephen. We met him in the middle of nowhere, called Harihari, and to sum up our conversation we could say that this great funny and intelligent guy will save New Zealand from going further down in a Mediterranean-like economic crisis. He doesn’t read blogs so he’ll probably not read this: Dear friend, it was a relief to have met you !
We left the West Coast by crossing the Alps taking the Haast pass not really knowing what to expect on the other side. Well, no disappointment is felt as we definitely get inspired by those huge valleys circled by lovely magnificent yellow brown mountain ranges. On top of these bold creatures some powdered snow is nicely layered. Looks like a harsh and cold place to spend a night. We cycled along Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea, and then Lake Wanaka again. Pretty confusing if you don’t have a map. The surroundings were so beautiful that it was hard to keep an eye on the road. And thanks to two Belgium cycling couples (movingaround.be and celienjeroen.shareyourstory.nl), we did a bit off-road before entering Wanaka ! It’s now time to rest and recover in great sunny days, S&M