Day 31: Haast Township to Lake Paringa

Journal for 2014-11-19 | Published on 2014-11-20 20:40:44

When we checked into our lodgings last night, a couple of girls were also checking in and were going to be right next to us, they were giggling like schoolgirls and causing a lot of noise. We knew they were going to be noisy neighbors, so before we went to sleep we preemptively put in earplugs. Success! We had a restful night’s sleep, with the exception of a stranger trying to come into our room, still not sure what he thought he was doing, or who was more shocked…

Since we needed to wait until the only grocery in town opened at 9, we took our time eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. It had rained quite hard last night, and it rained off and on throughout the morning, as well. We chatted with a British kid at breakfast, he’s hitching throughout the south island, and he was concerned about us being out there in the rain, that we would get washed away. We assured him we would be fine.

We packed up, hit the grocery, and headed down the road 2 km to the Department of Conservation Visitor’s Center, which had some really informative displays. We made our way through, watching it rain hard a couple more times, and decided we had procrastinated long enough. We’re on the West Coast, riding through a rain forest, we can’t be scared of the rain. We prepared to go, and as we were leaving a bus of tourists pulled in. We were the main attraction, and most of them took our picture or pointed us out to everyone. I guess they thought we were at least a little crazy.

We crossed over the Haast River Bridge, the longest one-way bridge in New Zealand. It was all clear as we started across, but about 2/3 of the way over, a car came our way, so we pulled into one of the passing bays and let them go around us. Then we were on our way, across a very flat section, until we reached Ship’s Creek, which had a restroom and a couple walks. It was time for a snack, so we learned a little about where the creek got its name (from a shipwreck off the coast of Australia that pieces of washed ashore here) and watched the crashing waves of the Tasman Sea. It definitely showed the awesome power of nature!

The next 18 km consisted of three steep climbs and some downhills, until we reached Knight’s Point for lunch. The climbs were a little tougher than we were expecting, and it took us longer to get there, and we were starving, cranky, and grating on each other’s nerves like sandpaper. But, the wonders of a little food and a little sunshine to put it into a better perspective. We had great views of the Tasman from up there, and we chatted with a nice Kiwi couple, they hoped we were enjoying our holiday, and were glad to see we had the wet-weather gear for it.

Finally, we started making our way inland, toward Paringa Lake. It was just undulating hills, up and down and around, with rain off and on, and sun off and on. Every once in a while we would just stop and listen to a waterfall, or the birds singing. Cars were infrequent, and a lot of times the only sounds were the sounds of nature. Very cool!

We arrived at Paringa Lake around 4 pm, and we had been debating trying for another 30 km to the next place, but we decided we’re tired and it is a pretty lake, so we set up camp. There’s no showers, and you have to boil the water, but the setting is nice, and our tent is under some trees so should be sheltered a bit. There’s a few others in their campervans here, but it’s not too terribly crowded. We wandered around a bit, exploring and looking at the plants and the lake, and then we cooked dinner, tried to not get bit by sandflies, and now we’re going to rest for tomorrow. We have a 70 km ride, should be pretty, and we’ll be up by the Fox Glacier.

We’ll take a much needed rest day, rest these weary legs, and see what the glacier is all about. We’ll also get some laundry done, since riding all day and then putting on your clothes without out a shower makes the clothes kind of gross, at least in Pam’s eyes. At least the tent dried out, that’s a plus! Once again, we’re getting to see a part of New Zealand that is just amazing, and in some ways I feel like we’re the only ones here. Like it’s ours alone. It’s a pretty special place, and I’m glad we get to experience it.


Distance: 52.18 km

Time: 3:24

Average Speed: 15.34 kmh

Max Speed: 54.13 kmh

Climb: 566 m

Haast DOC Vistor Center, very neat stop

Rain drops in the pools

Longest one lane bridge in NZ, it has two passing bays.

Pretty typical view for the day, forest on one side, flat ground with hints of the ocean on the other

Pingao grass, it only grows in the dunes and is prized for its gold color in weaving

The Tasman sea turns beautiful colors with all the rock flour washed out by the rivers and glacial melt


Small roadside falls, everywhere today.


View from Knights Point of the Tasman Sea



Mi Mi Creek

Our campsite nestled among rain forest trees, a creek behind us, and the lake in front of us.

Ancient trees

Ferns everywhere!


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