Again this day started in darkness, Breakfast of a banana and a Muesli bar and I was already looking forward to a cooked breakfast in Reefton at Broadwood Café. Back up to the highway and onto Maruia Township, which isn’t much by the way, soon it was over to the other side of the Maruia river and down Maruia West bank road. This was a nice gravel road undulating alongside the Maruia River pretty much all the way to Springs Junction. Once at Springs Junction I went to the shop just to get my water bottles filled and they were very obliging. On my way again and I could smell the breakfast at Reefton and I couldn't wait, the climb up and over the Rahu saddle wasn’t too bad and what goes up must come down all the way to Reefton. My Mum was staying in the Reefton camp ground as she was on a caravan trip around the South Island, so I popped in and told her I was heading for the Broadwood Café for a long awaited breakfast.
sat down and chatted about her trip and mine. She told me she was really enjoying following the TA online and told me about some of the other riders she had met on her travels. The breakfast was amazing and I highly recommend the Broadwood Café if you are ever in or passing through Reefton. It was time to bid Mum farewell and hit Big River. I was looking forward to this ride as I had pictured it in my head to be one of the most actual Mountain Biking sections of the TA along with the Bridge to Nowhere and it
did not disappoint. I loved the ride up Big River climbing up through the forest; it was nice to be in the shade as it was now 11am and pretty warm. I loved the remoteness of where I was and I didn’t see a soul through here, I went up and checked out the Big river hut, a pity I wasn’t here at night as I love staying in Doc huts, next time.
|This is not the DOC hut:-)|
|The Infamous Greymouth Bar|
There was a TA rider inside the pub presumably having a meal and I checked the tracking site as I knew there were a few riders through here somewhere, I set off and was soon back onto the Wilderness trail, this was nice riding and not a track I had ridden on before. Although I had ridden on the Old Christchurch road through to Hokitika before and also Milltown road from Lake Kaniere to the Wainihinihi River out to the Otira Highway so I knew the area a little bit. At about 4 kilometres out from Cowboys Paradise, there were signs up saying road close take the high water route. There was even a locked gate across the road, I was really unsure of what to do here but I decided to stick to the GPS route and slipped around the side of the gate. After the roads/track works that they were doing, the track descended down into the Wainihinihi Gorge and it was really enjoying riding it. It was obviously dark now, maybe around 9pm and I got to Cowboys Paradise, it looked awesome with the cabins old style and there were TA’ers bikes leaned up against the rail where you would expect to see a horse tied up. The restaurant or Saloon was all lit up and I could see the riders, maybe 6 of them sitting down at a big table, probably eating a great meal and thoroughly enjoying themselves. I was seriously jealous and very tempted to go in but my bed was calling so on I went continuing on the track to Milltown Road. I have since spoken to some friends that have been to Cowboys Paradise and it is somewhere I definitely want to visit with my family and hopefully we will this year. From Milltown Road I thought I knew it pretty well but it took a bit longer that I thought to get to Lake Kaniere where I met a rider that was just setting up camp for the night at around 10pm, I carried onto the water race trail which I had ridden and ran several times before. The track had been seriously upgraded to cater for all abilities but it was still very nice riding, I was really enjoying this section and I got a bit carried away and just about had a crash. I couldn’t wait to get to the Riverview cottages, a short road ride and I was there, the woman had told me that she had no other guests as she was meant to be closed and to just choose any room. I went to try one room but the door was locked and then I heard some voices; there was actually someone in there, I wonder what they were thinking? When I checked my phone later the owner had sent me a text to inform me that room 1 and 2 was occupied, ooops. I settled in had a shower and it was straight to sleep, another big day, 1about 17 hours on and off the saddle and about 280 kilometres with a lot of that off road.