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Thursday 9th March – Greymouth -> Ross (86 miles)

All packed up and ready to go, however, before I set off I had one very important task to do.  Skype Sarah and wish her a happy birthday.  Sarah is not a birthday person and would rather forget them, but I still had to wish my loving and understanding wife a happy birthday.

First port of call for the day’s ride was to the Greymouth Bar Lookout for photo control point number 20.  The list of ships that had met their fate on the bar was evidence enough as to what this place must be like when the southerly ocean and wind are angry.

Just visible on this photo, but you can see the snowy peak of Mount Cook in the distance.

The riding today was great and virtually the whole day was spent cycling either gravel trails or riding sweet single track.  With a long section riding alongside streams and lakes.

I stopped at a local cafe in Kumara for a coffee and got talking to the English owner who had been in NZ for 7 years.  Somehow the topic of conversation became about Brexit!  He was very pro EU and I couldn’t get away.  Thankfully, another customer came in and I was able to shoot outside and enjoy my by now lukewarm coffee.

The next section of the ride skirted around a reservoir before turning into some nice trail riding en route to a small made up town named ‘Cowboy Paradise’ it was a mock up of a western town.  Aside from a cafe there wasn’t much there, so I had a chat with some fellow cyclists and then pushed on to Hokitika.

The downhill section after leaving Cowboy Paradise involved lots of switch backs, but it eventually followed the river for a bit.

I reached Hokitika just after 1700hrs and decided to look for a campsite.  This turned out to be uneventful, so I made the decision to grab some supplies and push onto Ross.  I also had another photo control point of the Hokitika clock tower.

The ride to Ross took longer than anticipated and it was getting dark as I arrived.  Still, the setting sun as always made for some wonderful colours.  I was very fortunate to reach the beach at 2000hrs and watch the sunset over the Southern Ocean.  A real highlight for me.

I switched on my lights and headed for the The Empire Hotel.  It was in the guide and recommended by TA riders.  This is the outside (picture taken next day) Ross is an old gold mining prospect town and you can still pan for gold there today.

I walked into the bar and it was like walking into a saloon bar.  I grabbed a beer and proceeded to ask about camping.  When I found out I could have a cabin for $20, camping was not on the agenda!  Cabins are great and they are only a fraction more than camping, but you get a proper bed for the night and it means you can get off quicker in the morning too.  I cooked up some food in the communal kitchen and then called it a day.

Next : Day 20 – Ross -> Fox Glacier