After saying ‘au voir’ to Gayle and our WarmShowers hosts Scott & Marie we left the small town of Wakefield and headed out on, the much hyped, 88 Valley Road.
As promised the road was empty of all traffic and the smooth surface made for a lovely ride.
The rain was doing its best to hold off with the result of a damp mist, which actually made for a pleasant change to the heat of the last month!
The route was predominantly up hill and at the top of the first saddle we met a group of old time roadies with very modern bikes coming the other way. They seemed surprised to see us and despite offering were not keen on switching rides.
A hill or two later we set up a picnic on the side of the road, no services for 60km today, and had some more roadies try and tell us it was ‘all up hill from here’ as they whizzed down passed us.
As it turned out they were almost right as the final climb was the longest of the day. Although the view from the top made it all worthwhile.
The landscape has definitely changed now and is becoming more ‘epic’ compared to that of the North Island. It’s getting more like the NZ we had seen in pictures back home!
As we rolled down into St Arnaud we were faced with the best view of the day (picture below doesn’t do it justice).
The DOC campsite is right on the lake and has a backdrop of
criss-crossing mountains. There was even a jetty where some other visitor had nailed a ramp to and where jumping their bikes off. We thought about joining them, but with all our weight I didn’t fancy our chances of recovering them from the depths.
The campsite had attracted plenty of other visitors in the form of the a few ducks and millions of the dreaded sandflies, in fact some have dubbed it the sandfly capital of NZ, and after wrapping ourselves up and testing out our new bug spray we hastily made camp and hibernated for the evening.
Only venturing out to whip up a lemony, green bean and zucchini rice dish in the camp kitchen.
Just in time, as luck would have it, as the heavens have now opened and our tent is on the verge of being marooned in the center of an ever increasing puddle!