The Nevis Valley is in central Otago, I took the main road to Bannockburn. From there it took only few minutes to get to the main gate into the valley. Then the road ascents for 1370 M to the Nevis Pass therefore the highest public road in New Zealand. There are many photo stops on Carrick Range, to take a look back to Lake Dunstan and Cromwell. It is much better to travel on dry road than the wet one as it could get very slippery. After Nevis Crossing, there are sections with bigger rocks on the road while other sections are very loose with dust. After heavy rainfall the fords rise very fast and results the crossing difficult or impossible from fast current.
On the day I did the Nevis road it was not for a week and very dry, which is perfect to travel on this road. A few fords were still half wheel deep, up to 60m wide. The splashing water was very refreshing, in the intense heat. I loved each crossing! There are a few gates close to Ben Nevis Station which are usually closed but not locked up therefore easy to open and pass with the bike. The valley is divided by steep rocky gorge, the lower and upper Nevis whereby the upper Nevis is very isolated but with breathtaking beauty of the valley. There are numerous remainders of history are on both sides of the road which is worth to take a look at the old cemeteries, or old Nevis Village. They are the remaining foundations and former settlement. As usual it will be very hot during summer time while winter months are very harsh with thick snow in the valley.
Around 40km before Garston, the road is very rocky and very difficult to ride with a full loaded Adventure Bike of mine. However, it is a very good work out. It is worth to have enough time on this trip as there are numerous camp spots beside the road which are welcomed to pitch up the tent and to stay with the most beautiful scenery of Otago.
I recommend traveling in a group on this trip just in case there is something goes wrong and there is always a support behind. Otherwise, it will be difficult as there is no mobile phone coverage in the whole valley.
The Nevis Valley section from Cromwell to Garston is around 90km long of journey. It took me around 7h to travel included the photo stops and lunch break. If you get on the Sh 6 by Garston, there is a Pub which offers welcoming refreshments. Of course, I will do it again for 2 to 3 days on my next day off. There is too much of the gold mining history to explore!
Today, it takes me a while to consider whether or not to continue the tour from Oamaru to Alexandra via Danseys Pass. Both of my tires are nearly worn out and the road I chose is mainly gravel. I thought the remaining depth of my profile is not enough and not safe for this trip. There was a heavy rain shower the day before, I thought the dirt road may be slippery and the gravel would use up my last bits of the profile. I hesitated until early morning to observe the weather. Fortunately the sun came out, the sky cleared up, then I decided to continue my adventure ride over Danseys Pass Road despite the worn out tires.
Danseys Pass is located in the Kakanui Mountains between Central Otago and North Otago. The road was very important in the gold mining times in 1880 to supply the miners with food and liquor from Naseby or Ranfurly. After the gold fields were exhausted then the settlement went into a ghost town, but Danseys Pass Road kept well maintained until today. It is a public road but is not recommended for camper van and heavy vehicles.
I camped at Duntroon at the sport field which is located on the right hand side if you travel from Oamaru behind the bridge. Camping is permitted however with a little fee. Next morning I went to Livingstone Street which is not far away from the camp ground, by the turn off point is a sign post of Danseys Pass. For the first 14 km the road is tarmac and easy rolling. The scenery is awesome with so many greenery fields alongside of the road. I came across Pukeraro on the way. The campsite at Pukeraro is an idyllic site but fully equipped with all comfort for the travelers. If I would have known this camp earlier then I would have stayed there for my first night.
It was a hot roasting day as there was no rain and that explains to the dry and dusty road. The further I traveled the narrower the road got. The road follows the river flow sometimes the mountain got straight up beside the road; the vegetation is all the time green with many different flowers and bushes. I loved the scenery all the time because it changes many times that helps for my eyes and keeps me awake.
As I arrived at Kyeburn Diggings, I stopped by a historic Hotel which was built in 1880 and is opened for public. Danseys Pass Coach Inn is very isolated whereby the only place that I get to meet up some people in my tour so far. When I entered the lobby I realized very quickly that it is a place with a special harmony in between the gold rush history and the modern life style today. Sorry, please don’t get too much excited yet as there is no mobile reception. Otherwise it is a hidden treasure, where you can find good food, all local drinks and even fresh baked cakes are available too. Next time I will do the tour again. I will stop by and stay overnight for sure. But I have had not enough time to stay longer so I continued my tour to Alexandra.
As I have used to travel on SH85, I remember there is a signpost to Blue Lake and St. Bathans which is an old gold town with only a few well maintained houses to accommodate visitors. I drove down to the blue lake located in between white sandstone with a few lonely standing green trees. This time I cooked some food and had a warm coffee. I enjoyed my meal next to the lake under a big tree which provides me a good shade in the blazing hot afternoon. Then I continued my journey to Alexandra and fitted my new tire of Michelin Anakee 2. I have been very lucky to be in time to Alexandra as the gravel has already taken up all my tire profile. Big thanks to the staff in the workshop at Davidson Honda, for helping me to change to new tire. I deeply need a rescue at the last moment.