January 11: Franz Josef to Lake Moeraki

The day's plan was to ride from Franz Josef over the three sisters to Fox Glacier and then on to Lake Moeraki. However, weather, traffic and road construction put a twist to the plans. The road over the mountains from Franz Josef to Fox included three severely steep climbs and decent, the last of which called Cook's Saddle rose to 411 m. All advise given by the locals was to shuttle over and start the ride from the other side. The semis liked to take the entire turn in a switchback leaving little to no room for a lonely little bike! So over the group went in the minibus happy not to have to "take the road" when a semi was headed down hill!

The route from Cook River to Lake Moeraki covers approximately 75 km of roadway with a gentle downhill. An occasional uphill reminded the rider that pedaling was needed, but for the most part it was a simple, beautiful ride through lust rain forests of rimu and kahikatea trees, flax blossoming on the side of the road, and the ever present greenery of the hill sides. Farmland seem to dot the area periodically with the sheep and cattle playing in the fields. The weather was mild with only an occasional mist, so riding was delightful.

The area covered is part of the Westland National Park which covers about 117,550 hectares of high mountains, snowfields, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and rivers - A true paradise! Home tonight is at a Lodge owned by a conservationist (currently the Director of the Royal Forest and Bird Society) and is a paradise in itself. Great pains have been taken to preserve the area and not make a huge footprint in the park with a resort. While elegant in its appearance, it is environmentally protective.

Mary Jo



Down the Road We Go!



Maori Cemetery

Mary & Lauri



Another View of the Coast

Lunch at the Salmon Farm (Cindy, Pamela, Lauri)

Baby Fern Tree

Jackie Crossing the Swinging Bridge

Jackie: "Stop Swinging the Bridge!"