Headwinds, punctures and sandflies (and some pretty spectacular scenery).

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Buller Gorge river

Buller Gorge river

Great hostel in the middle of nowhere.

Great hostel in the middle of nowhere.

A crazy bit of road in the Buller Gorge

A crazy bit of road in the Buller Gorge

The past couple of days have been tough due to headwinds. If you add that to uphill loose dirt roads on a fully loaded bike, it can be quite a challenge. Shortly after getting my third puncture of the trip (3 in 5000km isn’t bad huh?), I stopped at “Huha bikepackers” which is a good play on words – pretty much a backpacker hostel with a cycle tourist name. Though there wasn’t much cycle tourist related, it did have a bath, which I jumped at the opportunity to use. Huha bikepackers also had a FANTASTIC record collection from the 60s through to the late 70s. I certainly wasn’t expecting to be listening to ‘War of the world’ or a scratchy copy of Simon & Garfunkel live at New York that day.

The next day I head east to Merchiston, stopped for fuel (my fuel that is – pasta, pie, carrot cake, coffee, and a stock of muesli bars) and continued down the river, which involved far more pedalling than I would have liked, due to the wind… An evening fighting back sandflies was had at Lyell DOC site, cooking dinner while covering every single bit of exposed skin to deter the little rascals. There is a lot of history of major earthquakes in this region from almost 100 years ago. I have been told than given I’m here for another 6 weeks, there’s a good chance I’ll experience one – fingers crossed I’m in my tent in the middle of an open field at the time!

Today was a comparatively easy day taking me down to Westport on the coast, following the winding Buller Gorge which has some pretty spectacular scenery. The expected rain didn’t show thankfully – it’s now due tomorrow. I may take it as a rest day.

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