We set our alarm clock early but at 6 in the morning a terrible thundestorm raged outside our hotel in Haast. So we slept one hour again and packed our things together quite slowly waiting at least for the thunderstorm to end. Finally, we could start in nice typical New Zealand West Coast weather – meaning rain 😉. We were worried if we could get over Haast Pass with this weather conditions. At least the clouds in front of the mountains and the river Haast were nice photo motives.
Haast pass as the gate to the sun
The Highway 6 up to Haast pass started with some construction work and traffic lights to regulate the traffic. But what if you are on a fully loaded bike and need 3-4 phases to pass the construction side? Really exhausting! After that the road was once in a while so steep that we had to pause every few minutes. At least now some of the former crazy drivers motivated us by cheering us up out of their windows.
When we arrived the top of the pass (564 meter) we also switched from Westland district to Otago. A huge plate up there was telling this. We had a nice pause and looked at some “cultural” information signs (am man with a bulldozer?!). But it was getting late and the crazy down-hill was waiting for us! As we started we recognized that the weather was much nicer on the other side of the pass.
Wonderland lodge in Makarora – finally summer
After a really long descent ride we cycled along the nice Makarora river and some bathing spots with lots of tourists searching for parking places. It was really warm now and remembered us finally of summer – which acutally it should have been at that time 😉. In the little village Makarora we saw a sign for a campsite and stopped by the Wonderland Lodge, where we got a nice place in the sun.
After building up the tent, having a shower and drinking a cold beer in the campsite own restaurant, we had a guest for dinner. Lexi, the dog from our neighbours joined us for our pasta party – but actually came out empty. The campsite was located below the majestic mountains. It had nice green grass places, a swimming pool, and good facilities. And the best: no sandflies! So we could sleep very well to be prepared for the next day.
Max elevation: 595 m
Min elevation: 9 m
Total climbing: 2305 m
Total descent: -1990 m
Average speed: 19.45 km/h
Total time: 06:54:08