Many years ago the general consensus was that the world was flat. It appears that news has yet to reach these parts of the globe and despite being a discredited theory in New Zealand many people still think of the landscape in this way. “We’re on a flat road again” I shout to John as we lower the gears and rapidly see the speedo start to decline. Oh well, here goes.
We often ask the locals what the terrain ahead is like, what we may pass on the way and, of course, whether there is a cafe. In general the response will be that once the key climb is out of the way the road is flat, there’s not much to see and we’ll find a cafe at the end of the ride. To date I can recall just passing the climb from Maruia Springs to a flat road into Hamner and the flat from Harihari, once you are over Mt Hercules. Yeah, really?
New Zealand already has a small population for surface area compared to the UK but with most folk living on the North island the South island is much quieter by comparison. Many of the vehicles that have passed us here tend to be camper vans or cars on hire. The West coast is stunning but the gaps between places to stay play a big part of our route plan. Using the DoC (Department of Conservation) sites as well as the larger private ones does offer more choice but you have to put up with many more sandflies and I’m afraid that after hundreds of times bitten I am now more than twice shy. In fact, right now I’m even taking cabins rather than use my tent and never fail not only to wear sandals and socks but to tuck my trousers in too. Sandflies are definitely something the locals had warned us about! There is no mistruth in the sandfly chat.
There are however some tales we are happy not to be true and in this case I refer to the West coast weather. Despite drizzle in the past two days the rest of our 11 day tour from Greymouth has, so far, has been blessed with glorious sunshine and we were even needing to remove layers for our glacier walk the other day. Just fabulous…and the rain keeps the pesky cobblers at bay.
So, of the lies perported thus far I’m happy to report the additional sunshine and even ok that the “flat” roads are certainly still undulating. I would be overjoyed to find the reports of major sandfly outbreaks at Milford Sound to be the biggest lie of all the statements we have heard though sadly I suspect this is the one thing I can certainly trust the locals to be more than certain of.
Time for even more repellent.