There are not many country roads left on the South Island which I didn’t ride on, on my Adventure bike. It took some time and a lot of research to find the right initarary to combining all back roads I want to do into one round trip which start in Milford Sound and end in Milford Sound.
As I can remember I left after work, weather was not good at all rain in Milford Sound, road restrictions are issued around the Homer Tunnel, road was going to close at 5.00 pm due to heavy snow fall over night, which is not common at this time of the year. Despite the driving restrictions I took off, to make my way to Te Anau my first stop to buy food for next few days, after I did all shopping and refilled my bike, I drove to South-arm of Lake Te Anau. I toke the state highway to Manaporie and from there I followed the Scenic signage to Tuatapere, at Blackrock Station is a turn off to Borland Lodge, there I take a right turn and follow the road, first 9 km are tarmac the remaining km is very good gravel to ride on; around 60 km one way. At the south arm is a DOC camp ground in the middle of the forest, I juice to camp in an open area beside the Lake with a magnificent view to the mountain and surroundings of the lake, I have been very lucky that night to spot a deer, which disappeared very soon into the thick dark forest.
I woke up early in the morning to make my breakfast and get ready for my next destination Invercargill. As soon the air warmed up the sandfly got more and more, I broke all records to pack up my gear on the bike, it has been insane to experience that many Sand-fly that early in the morning.
In Invercargill I booked a BBH Hostel, Southern Comfort it is very tidy and quiet accommodation. Shopping centre are very close too.
My day 3 of travelling started with loads of fun: I meet two Malaysia girls, Tan and Yunee as soon they found out that I am a chef we did a spontaneous cook off, in the kitchen of the Hostel; it was the best start into the day, after we finished our breakfast we took or own journey to different destination. Some how I felt sad to leave so early; but I need to get to my next destination Purakaunui Bay Road, at the end of the road is a DOC Camp, which I would say is one of the nicest I have been so far. In Fortrose I turned right to avoid the main road in direction Otara, the road is very narrow and unpaved, there are so many look out spots which have not been mentioned in any travel guide which are breath taking, with a magnificent view to the rugged coast line. My next morning started early, I broke off already by sun rise already to drive up to Waikouaiti were I took the Ram Rock road to Middlemarch. As soon I turn onto the Ram Rock Road the gravel started, I meet some farmer beside the field which was a good opportunity for a small talk about the area, kettle and sheep farming is the most income of the farmer in the are. The winter month I could be very harsh due to very cold temperatures and gale force winds which could be very destructive to the native fauna and flora. The road was very easy to ride on, not a big issue. My original plan was exploring Lake Onslow Road, the weather turned, to be very bad, wind picked up to make a save bike ride nearly impossible, to all my surprise it started snowing, it was already early summer, I reached Clarks Junction, where I stopped and had a hot drink to observe the black clouds rolling over the area I wanted to go, once more I need to make a decision if I want continue my original plan or turn around and look for a alternative route. Even the barkeeper suggested to avoid the Lake Onslow Road, ant look for an alternative, If I would continue my original plan I need to take Serpenine Road that road is in a very different condition, not maintaineced for many years with very deep mud pools, rain water which is filling up mud pools could be wheel deep. At the end I decided not going ahead with my original plan, and turned around and drove back to Middlemarch than Hyde, Ranfurly to St Bathans. Where I camped beside Blue Lake. Once more it was freezing at night not as cold as many nights before top low was only -2C, now I realised it must be very close to summer. ^_^. As soon I opened the tent I got blown away clear blue sky!!! But a bit chilly. Only one hour later the temperature reached 15C. It will be a good day for adventure riding. One of my friends Klaus told me a long time ago there is a pass from St Bathans to Oramara, which is not easy to ride on a fully loaded adventure bike, I still remember his words, but took off onto Hawkdun Runs Rd from there I followed Broken Hut Road, I loved the ride in the early morning hours, at one stage there is a Y junction left road is going to Omarama Saddle with more than 30 river crossings exposed 4 wheel tracks and very deep river even by low water. I took the right turn there are 6 river crossings only, one of my most difficult crossings at all, are river 3 and 4, big stones and an uneven surface make the crossing very challenging. On river 4 I need to got off the bike and pushed the bike through the rocky river bead I the water was more than knee peep. From there on the road is plain adventure, nothing, I could tell was missing, all my bike skills are needed on the next part up to the saddle. Potholes, deep wash outs, from flash floods running down the road and big rocks are only a few to mention, I loved the whole day riding, it is not more than 35 km’s from my night camp to Omarama but it took me 5.5 hours.
On my way to the Y junction I meet Peter and Lesley from Leviathan Hotel in Dunedin, which took the same road, with out them and there help I probably would still stuck in one of the Rivers today.
After such a big day in one of the most sophisticated areas we went into Omarama for a refreshment. I went back to Wanaka my last camping location before heading back to Milford Sound next day. ^_^