Our host Mandi used to live in Christchurch, but she is now a West Coaster through and through. They built their home here on the outskirts of Kumara 14 years ago, and the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail runs past their property. So they have renovated some of the buildings and made room for the strangers who cycle past – appropriately named “The Cyclists Rest”
It is a perfect place to stay – surrounded by bush and birds – wood pigeons, tuis, bellbirds, and wekas are everywhere. Warning! there is rarely silence – the sound of birds is continuous, and I love it. There are walks to the river, and only a short ride home from the village after that delicious cold beer at the end of your ride.
Warm west coast hospitality – Marni has thought of everything. There is a small hamper of goodies in the fridge ‘None of the shops in town open before 9am.’ There are eggs from the hens in the garden, some home made marmalade, bread and butter and a couple of sausages. “Help yourself to what is growing in the greenhouse” – we are in heaven.
The property is ‘off the grid’, our hotwater in the studio has been heated by the fire before we arrive, and Mandi offers to light it in the morning, but we think we are up to that. There is a bath outside overlooking the bush which looks tempting – we have to hunt out a hose to fill it from the hot tap – maybe tomorrow.
We are just back from a 16km round trip cycle to the Kapitea Reservoir and Dam and of course the cold beer at the newly renovated Theatre Royal on the way home.
The cycle trail follows some back streets in the village, past some excellent story boards telling some of the local history. Then we are off road on a previous walking trail, that now links up with some back roads, then a series of fantastic switchbacks up towards the dam – they are fun and quite doable by a novice such as me. Then we are out on the beautiful dam – and ride for another km on the dam walls around the lake.
The ride back was exhilarating – some great downhill rides. I was definately ready for a cold beer when we arrived back in town. The Pub advertises a quarter pounder white bait fritter, so that is on tomorrow night for dinner.
- Good signposts for direction
- Good regular signposts giving distance
- Great riding surface
- Variable terrain gives interest
- The dam was lovely, but you are not out in any real wilderness on this bit of the track.
Okarito is just north of Franz Josef on the West Coast of New Zealand. These days it is a sleepy seaside village with just 35 permanent inhabitants. It has known former life as a key area for Maori food gathering, and in 1866 it had 1500 residents during the height of the gold rush.It is […]More...
Okarito is on the West Coast of the South Island, south of Hokitika and just north of Franz Josef. It is the home of the beautiful Kotuku – white heron, and we are off there for a few days to see the have a break, see the herons and have a kayak. Want to know […]More...
The West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island is a wonderful untamed wilderness area that offers something special to travelers. In the north-west corner of the coast you will find a new walking/cycling track called The Old Ghost Road. Nearby a perfect place to stay is New Creek Ferals. This Cosy bach is only 3 km from the […]More...
North of Punakaiki you drive into the small settlement of Charleston and you can not miss a huge four story concrete building. First question – what is it? As we drive closer we see an open cafe sign, so seems a good excuse to stop. We have found Underworld Adventures and Cafe. A business that […]More...
I have lived in NZ 40 years and have never been here, so it is a real treat – there are not many corners of New Zealand I have not explored. We have some Pancake Rock formations at Waipu in Northland which are pretty special and one of my favourite places. But they do not […]More...