Day 12: Mossburn to Te Anau - From Ship Cove to Milford Sound: the length of the South Island the hard way - CycleBlaze

March 10, 2023

Day 12: Mossburn to Te Anau

Doing the right thing

Both of us were on course for Te Anau this morning. While Robyn boarded a comfortable InterCity bus from Queenstown, Bruce was contemplating his options.

 "It was a not so early start from Mossburn, after waiting for the weather to improve. I got away about 8am,  heading into the wind. The first sign on the road said 'Te Anau 48 km'. This was very tempting,  knowing my circuitous route was  nearly twice that long at 90 km." But his conscience is clear.

"Doing the right thing, it was a battle against the wind on a winding path that followed the stream down the valley. The good cycle trail surface ran out and once again it was gravel road with too many corrugations. The scenery was predominantly farmland surrounded by large hills. 

Accommodation from the days of the train: Mossburn's Railway Hotel
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Northern Southland. Heading towards Mavora Lakes
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"The struggle ended when I turned 120 degrees and now had a tailwind and slight downhill gradient.Though it was still farmland and large hills and less the smooth gravel road. 

"Then, I hit asphalt and state highway 94 and a welcome surprise - a coffee caravan in the middle of nowhere! I ordered the most delicious cinnamon brioche with my long black and sheltered a while  from passing rain." Sounds idyllic...

Meantime, Robyn had arrived in Te Anau after a soporific coach trip from Queenstown, a two and a bit hour trundle south then west into Fiordland. I counted myself fortunate to escape though; most passengers were on a day excursion to Milford Sound from Queenstown, spending around 11 hours in total on the bus and taking a brief cruise on Milford Sound in the middle. I can't imagine a less enjoyable way to travel. But back to Bruce. He's clearly got the bit between his teeth. Recaffeinated, he was on a mission to reach Te Anau.

"Then a fast 25 km on asphalt with tailwind. A bit more cross-country on undulating gravel roads before the pleasure of the Lake to Lake trail. [Ed: a new walking and cycle trail that connects Manapouri and Te Anau. More on this tomorrow.]

"Now I was riding through stands of mountain beech next to the Waiau River. Eventually, I got the view across the lake to Te Anau. It was a leisurely ride around the lake and into town to find a bike shop to have brakes checked.

"Then the most important part of the day: meeting Robyn after 12 days of riding."

Awww. Happy to see you, too!

Nice track approaching Te Anau
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Te Anau on a grey day
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Today's ride: 91 km (57 miles)
Total: 1,364 km (847 miles)

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