Cycle Touring Catlins Jan 2014

Day 1 – 13/1: We drove most of the day arriving mid afternoon in Papatowai. It was cold and rainy so we put off cycling and went for a wander around the lagoon instead.

Katie give Bruce a kiss (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)Gina gives Bruce a kiss (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above left: Gina, Katie, and I headed down to the Catlins to do some cycle touring. On the way down we found the delectable Bruce – King of Woollens and Katie was quite taken by him. Above right: So was Gina. To be honest, so was I…


Nice beach at Papatowai (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)Beach at Papatowai (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above left: The weather was being a bit mysterious. One minute it was sunny the next rainy and it was very cold when we arrived. We stayed the night in Papatowai. Above right: The Catlins has some pretty beaches and some nice bush although a lot of it is just rolling farm land. I wonder how it would have looked before it was logged.


Katie and Gina smiling (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)Dinner time (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above left: Despite the weather there were smiles. Above right: And a curry thing.

Katie and Gina with a crab (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above: There were bits and pieces to find on the beaches but unfortunately no seals, or penguins (oh my) as we had hoped for.

Day 2 – 14/1: The day started with more of the same weather but we were determined to make something of it and set off anyway. We cruised up the Tahakopa river and did a loop back out to the coast. The weather improved along the way but it was still very cold.

We trundled through a mix of green farmland, pine/gum forest, and native bush. Along the way we had to do some emergency sheep flipping after discovering a large woolly beast stuck on its back flailing its hooves in the air. The huge ball of wet wool couldn’t get back on its legs as it was far too top heavy. I jumped the fence and grabbed two big handfuls of wool and heaved. As soon as it was upright it made a hasty get away slipping in the mud and landing back upside down again. Mad flailing and it managed to right itself and was off again, skidding on the slippery grass. And that is why we eat them.

We rode back along the Chaslands Highway which was very nice. Lots of native bush on either side of the road. We stopped along the way at the whistling frog for coffee, and at various other little attractions. It wasn’t until 9 pm-ish that we got back to our campsite. We packed up and drove to Cario Bay and stayed the night there.


Riding along (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)Riding on gravel (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)Riding on the Chaslands Highway.

Above left: The following day we set off in the rain for a 80 km loop on our bikes. As it was a loop we left tents and whatnot behind. The weather improved and we rolled through rolling farm land for most of the day with some delicious native NZ bush in the evening as we rode back along the Chaslands Highway. Above middle: The road was gravel inland and then sealed again once we reached the main road back out at the coast. Somewhere around here I had to do some urgent sheep flipping after discovering a woolly beast that could no longer get off its back. Above right: That Chaslands Highway was quite nice.

At the Whistling Frog (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)Riding along the beach (Cycle Touring Catlins)Windswept beach (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above left: We stopped for coffee at the Whistling Frog Cafe. Above middle: We discovered a nice flat beach to ride along in the evening on our return to our campsite in Papatowai. Above right: And took photos of the sand being blown along in the strong wind.

View of beach (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)More beach view (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above left: Flat beach, great for riding. Above right: A lot of the coast looks like this. Barren, wind swept fields.

Cooking dinner (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above left: We set up camp at Curio Bay in the evening.

Day 3 – 15/1: Not much cycle touring (in fact none) but some wandering around the coast. And amazingly the sun came out… And amazingly it was even warm. Very warm. We had to construct a shade device between our tents for our lunch eating comfort, and our post lunch lazing. We drove off to the Catlins River in the evening and camped there.


Big waves (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above: We spent a day faffing around at Curio Bay where the waves were big and the spray bigger.

Day 4 – 16/1: More rain. We went and hung out at the Curios Coffee Bus in Papatowai and amused ourselves there for a while. Then it was goodbye to Katie as she hadn’t quite had her Catlins fill yet and Gina and I drove back to Christchurch. Well Gina drove. I blogged.

Chilling (Cycle touring Catlins Jan 2014)

Above: The cycling/lazing team enjoying coffee and hot chocolate at the Curios Coffee Bus.

Climbing at Transmitter Crag

I ran up Worsley’s and met Simon, Anita, and her friend Sarah at the Flying Nun MTB track. We wandered over to Transmitter Crag and Simon and I did some climbing there. The ladies talked lady-talk, looked after Elayna, and fed us delicious lunch goodies.

Cris at the top of a climb (Transmitter crag)Simon abseiling (Transmitter Crag)

Above left: Simon and I found some nice climbs to lead and got to it. Above right: Some abseiling from the anchor bolt was involved.

Simon looks down from the top (Transmitter Crag)Simon at the top of a climb (Transmitter Crag)

Above left: Belaying was also involved. Myesss. Above right: I convinced Simon to take the camera and take happy snaps at the top of one of the climbs. Didn’t he do well?

Mueller Hut Jan 2014

We are cruising back to Christchurch after a night at Mueller Hut. It went a bit like this:

We had a good view in the morning of Mt Cook from our camp site across Lake Pukaki, which meant it wasn’t doing the rain thing around the Main Divide. We headed into Mt Cook Village and after a brief stop at DoC decided we’d risk it and head up to Mueller Hut.

The track start from the camp site near Mt Cook Village and heads up to the Sealy Tarns. There are several bazillion steps and it’s steep enough to make you work hard. Once we had conquered the steps it was on to the poled route to the ridge. This was also nice and steep. Once we reached the ridge we were exposed to the strong wind blasting across the tops. The walk along the ridge takes about 15 minutes and once we had plodded through the snow we sheltered in the hut.

We spent the rest of the day trying to decide whether to stay the night or walk back down again to avoid the bad weather that was predicted. William and I went for a quick prance up to Mt Ollivier where we could see down to Mt Cook Village and out to Lake Pukaki.

Mueller Hut sleeps 28 people and is a large red iron clad creation. It is well anchored with many iron pilings and doesn’t look like it could be blown away as was the case with one of the old alpine huts (whose name I can’t remember). That’s a good thing. Hut tickets can be purchased from DoC and were $36 in 2014. The hut has a volunteer warden and a guitar named Charlotte. Unfortunately there wasn’t a chance to play with Charlotte but William did instigate table traverses in the evening. We had left it long enough that the decision to stay had been made for us.

This was good as after it stormed in the night the weather wasn’t too shabby when we got up in the morning and started walking out. It snowed just a little bit on the ridge. And rained only a little further down. We escaped back to Christchurch where we cooked Anita a Birthday dinner.

View Larger Topographic Map
Above: A nice wee map of our walk to Mueller Hut (that’s if still lives).

Simon and William beside lake Pukaki (Mueller Hut Jan 2014)View across Lake Pukaki to Mt Cook (Mueller Hut Jan 2014)

Above left: Simon, William, and I camped the night at Lake Pukaki after I met them in Twizel after Gina’s tramping trip with her Wellingtonians. We found nice spot on a hilly bit and pitched our tent out of the wind. It wasn’t too far away from where Leonie and I had camped a year ago. Above right: The weather was finally looking ok and I raced down to the water in the morning to get this quick snap of Mt Cook.

Mt Cook (Mueller Hut Jan 2014)Simon takes a break to grin (Mueller Hut Jan 2014)

Above left: Mt Cook didn’t look too bad through the super zoom on my DSLR either… Above right: We headed into Mt Cook Village, checked what the story was with DoC, and despite the predictions of high winds and bad weather on Sunday we decided to go for it. We began the climb of many steps.

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