Westport to Paroa, Greymouth

Day seven


Awoke to the light rumble of the Tasman Sea breaching Buller Bay just north of Cape Foulwind. It was surprisingly calm, a clear arch of overhead blue with that early morning crackle from a rising sun that meant today was going to be scorching. It was.

We turned east from the cape directly for Buckland Peaks to rejoin the main road south along the coast to Greymouth.

Down the Rabbit hole

Early on route we were bemused at the geographic oddity of a place called ‘Mountain creek flat’, then a ‘give way’ that left us feeling completely baffled. Directly in front would take you towards Charleston and Darkies Terrace, the west would take you on gravel double track to the coast, but east would take any wayward adventure into a wall of wilderness!

And just as we stopping to make sense of it all, another 1080 protestor roared past in a sea of dust and seething, leaving us wondering what rabbit hole we were riding down, but it was pie time and Charleston beckoned. Horse took point and off we rode in pursuit of Dorothy and her mad friend with the hat!

We crossed the Nile along with a flush of good memories and a pie. Then made good on the climb up over to Woodpecker Bay and on to the Sunday Fox river market to listen to a few unplugged classics played for the old regulars and modern barefoot patchouli wearers.

By mid day we were sweating slowly up and around perpendicular point for Punakaiki to a madhouse of tourists, ice creams and Blackball bratwurst sausage.

Placing names

New Zealand has a seemingly historical penchant for naming geographical points of significance with a rather protestant conservatism. We’ve seen many a ‘bridge number 1’ and ‘bridge number 2’, about 14 granite streams and even one stream called ‘square top culvert’, but the ride in to Greymouth from the coast is classic.

Firstly there is 17 mile bluff, followed quickly by 14 mile creek, 14 mile bluff, 13 mile creek… on and on in a never ending up and down of blustery little climbs until you eventually reach seven mile road and the ride into Runanga. What we would have given for an imaginative adjective, instead we settled for instant coffee.

Runanga – United we stand, divided we fall. We paid our respects to the past at the old miners hall of this small coal mining community then rode on to the Grey river, crossing the last bridge to sea and spray whipped up at days end.

Todays top track – Carly Simon, Nobody does it better

Dedicated to the guitarist at the Fox river market.

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