West Coast In November

Postby osprey877 on Tue 2/Oct/12 6:31pm

my wife and i are planning to cycle the west coast in november. the prevailing winds seem to be from the west. is the preferred route therefore from south to north, or is the wind direction not really an issue? thanks.
osprey877
Member for: 5 years 2 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby RHR_Rob on Wed 3/Oct/12 1:54pm

Wind is the least of your concern, but i guess it does factor if you will be riding in to or away from torrential rain, rain may be prefered as its an extra obsticle for the sandflies.
Wind doesnt effec them they can still catch a cyclist in 100mph winds.
RHR_Rob
Member for: 13 years 11 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby blitzer maloney on Wed 3/Oct/12 2:22pm

SW is the predominant wind I'd say, esp at that time of year, I'd go south to north if I had the choice. Hopefully get a cross tail wind.

I spent two weeks down there in April, which generally isn't near as windy as Nov, but was amazed at how little wind there was.

The day we left there was no wind on the coast, yet when we got over to canty it was blowing like a bastard.
blitzer maloney
Member for: 6 years 7 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby Sickman on Wed 3/Oct/12 8:59pm

Go South to North.
The West Coast has less rainy days than Auckland but when it rains it pours. But it does get a fair share of rain in Spring
Sickman
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Member for: 9 years 0 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby osprey877 on Thu 4/Oct/12 4:53pm

Thanks everyone for the advice. Looks like South to North is the winner. We have about 10 days for cycling. Where would you recommend starting: Youngstown and vicinity to say Greymouth, or Greymouth north to Nelson? Also, we plan to rent a mini-camper for the following 10 days. I am a bit leery about being allowed to put a bike rack on the rental vehicle and/or any damage it may incur, so am considering renting bikes rather than bringing our own. This would likely require a loop route so we end up in Christchurch where the bike and van rental would start/end. Any suggestions re route and/or use of bike racks on rental vans? Thanks again.
osprey877
Member for: 5 years 2 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby blitzer maloney on Thu 4/Oct/12 7:26pm

Greymouth up the coast to Westport would be one of the nicer parts of NZ to ride. I was in the grey valley and it's nice but pretty dull compared to the coast road. Then you could ride 'up' the buller gorge from Westport to Murchison which is also a super nice ride. Dunno what it's like from there through to Nelson but imagine equally as nice.

Amazing how little traffic there is down there.
blitzer maloney
Member for: 6 years 7 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby Sickman on Thu 4/Oct/12 9:06pm

:withstupid:

Just put the bikes inside the camper?
Sickman
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Member for: 9 years 0 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby hdb on Thu 4/Oct/12 9:31pm

Following up on Blitzer Maloney's post:
The section along the coast from Greymouth to Westport is a beautiful ride with sea stacks, huge views, some good climbs/descents across rivers and only moderate traffic - it could be done over 2 days; total distance is a bit over 100km, town to town, and you could stop around Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks. From Westport, I would ride up to Murchison (90km roughly) and then up to St. Arnaud along SH 63 (70km), rather than following SH 6 to Nelson directly - SH6 gets lots of traffic and is not as nice of a ride as taking the quieter road, plus you can visit Lake Rotoiti. From St. Arnaud you can take back roads to Nelson over Kerrs Hill and 88 Valley Road.

That would eat 4-5 days of your riding time; if you wanted to spend more time cycling on the coast, I would skip the section from Greymouth to Hokitika along SH6 since it is flat, a ways inland for much of the way without sea views and (relatively) busy. There are some quieter roads east of the State Highway around Lake Kaniere and Lake Brunner and you might be able to make a nice loop via the Old Christchurch Road between SH 6 and SH 73 and the road from Jacksons to Stillwater but I can't promise that the Old Christchurch Road is sealed the entire way (I haven't driven it).

South of Hokitika you don't have any option beyond SH6 but the traffic is pretty light. Much of it is flat/gently rolling but the section over Mt Hercules and between Fox and Franz Joseph Glaciers can be tough.

A good source of touring stories for NZ is http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/loca ... pe=journal - if you look through the journals there, you'll find a number of accounts from people who have ridden that segment and elsewhere.

I don't have any info on putting bike racks on rental vans, but as Sickman sez - what about packing cheap/old towels around your bikes in the boxes for transit and planning on keeping the bikes in the van w/you, padded with the towels? It might be tight at times, but the bikes would be safer. If you pull the wheels off, you could keep the space used down.
hdb
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Member for: 9 years 4 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby blitzer maloney on Fri 5/Oct/12 9:06am

Another thing I hadn't thought of would be to ride from Westport up to Karamea, that was one I wanted to tick off but didn't get to do.

Also, some of the side roads on the coast have some of the best riding, they're most likely dead ends but the traffic is virtually nil and even when the tar seal runs out the condition of the road is nigh on perfect as they're mostly under the beech forest. I rode several 'gravel' roads on my roady, they have the odd pothole but are all hardpack and smooth.

I rode up to Pike River while I was there, it's gated off and you have to climb around one gate on a bridge but it was one of the nicest rides I did - http://app.strava.com/rides/7145050 Amazing old growth forest.

Couple of other nice rides I did were up to Mt Alexander - http://app.strava.com/rides/7330866 (prob the nicest ride I did), Waiuta is an old mining settlement which was quite cool - http://app.strava.com/rides/6886421. Lake Haupri (you could cut back through to Brunner/Moana on this one - http://app.strava.com/rides/6818103 I stopped at the lake on this one but the road goes on for probably another 20km? Really nice country up past where we stopped, open farm land but you're right up near the southern alps and in the thick of the ranges that run off them.

If you go up the coast and stop at Punakaiki I'd def go for a tiki tour up the road that goes to Cave Creek (Bullock creek rd), it follows the river with limestone cliffs all the way. Super nice.

Explore the side roads a bit would be my advice, they probably won't get you closer to your destination as such, but the chances are they'll be the nicest rides you do. You'll easily fill ten days.
blitzer maloney
Member for: 6 years 7 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby Kevin Hague on Fri 5/Oct/12 10:34pm

So Osprey, are you looking for 10 days riding starting and ending in Christchurch and incorporating the West Coast, or have I misunderstood you?

I'm based near Greymouth and have toured extensively so can probably give you some detailed advice if you want. The main variables are your start and finish points, what cyce fitness and touring experience you have, and what sort of experience youre looking for.
Kevin Hague
Member for: 8 years 9 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby fraew on Fri 12/Oct/12 11:24am

Adding my 2c - any reason why your not planning south of Greymouth? My experiences are that it's wetter further south, and the Sandflies at their worst around Haast (though anywhere near a West Coast river or lake is pretty much unbearable), however they don't tend to bother you while your cycling, only when you stop!

I recently did a Coast to Coast ride from Christchurch to Kumara then followed the coast north through the Punakiki region - absolutely superb, beautiful part of the country, up there with the Caitlins Coast south of Dunedin (which is saying something).
fraew
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Member for: 9 years 6 months

Re: West Coast In November

Postby fraew on Fri 12/Oct/12 11:30am

From Christchurch my preferred West Coast fortnight (might be a bit long distance/fast for some folk) is an early 1st day sprint to Hinds, inland to Geraldine / Fairlie / Bourkes Pass / Tekapo / Twizel / Omarama, over the Lindis pass through Wanaka, then the Haas Pass and north up the coast all the way to Greymouth, swing inland via the Buller George (magnificent riding, though can be wet!), stop for a night in Glenhope (bike hostel no. 1), then head via St Arnaud down the terrific SH63 to Blenheim, and back home, making sure to stop in Ward (bike hostel no. 2).
fraew
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Member for: 9 years 6 months

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