Sunday, 24 February 2013

To Eglington Valley and Manapouri

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The Climb out from Milford Sound

After an early breakfast onboard and a short cruise from our mooring in the sound we arrived back at the quay at about 8am. Becasue the bus returning the boat people was Te Anau I took the opportunity to hitch another ride. This meant I avoided the notoriously steep climb from the coast up to the tunnel. I begged the coash driver for a lift and he dropped me off on the far side of the tunnel which saved me a lot of bother. From here it was about a fifty mil ride down to Te Anau. Mostly downhill.

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By mid-afternoon, I'd decided that it would be nicer to camp somewhere along the road rather than go back to town, and eventually I found a Dept. of Conservation site beside a river. These generally have a chemical toilet, a picnic table and a fire-ring. Good enough! Later another cyclist turned up. Rick, a Dutchman. I spent the afternoon cleaning and oiling my bike and sunbathing. In the evening we lit a fire and chatted, mostly about music and favourite bass players.

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On to Manapouri and the Morris Minors

In the morning we packed in a furious hurry as we were being eaten alive by tiny blackflies aboiut the size of thinderbugs (Noseeums!). Good job they didn't find us the night before! Wew didn't ride together as Rick didn't seem to want to, and I rode alone to Te Anau. I remember startling a rabbit on the grass verge and chasing it down the road for a bit before it disappeared. In Te Anau I spent an hour or so at the National Park HQ looking at the displays. I bought some stuff to send to the kids back home, rode into toen to find the Post Office, only to discover they were closed. I had to carry the stuff until Monday!

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Whilst riding around tiown one of my panniers fell off! I got quite a shock, but it was only gpoing to happen one more time; ages later in the USA! I also bumped into Rick again, but he was staying in Te Anau and I was keen to stay somewhere else and subsequently rode down the lake-side to Manapouri, a tiny village, besides the lake of the same name.

Here I found a cafe on the shore and spent a while throwing sticks for a stray dog to retrieve. It was pretty hot, but I didn't fancy a swim. The campground was fine, although the american lady who ran it was very keen to sell me some tourist trips. For example, a visit to the underground hydro power station! Scattered around the site were half a dozen Morris Minors in various states of dis-repair. her son was a collector. The best was painted in camouflage, with a toiy gun bolted to the bonnet!

In the evening I visited the local pub for a pint and watched the sun go down. Didn't really chat to anyone though.