We were awaken by the sound of driving rain against the window this morning. It looked pretty bleak and foreboding as we loaded up the van. The wind was howling and the forecast looked very menacing. We had a big day of site seeing planned. We were to do a big hike down to see some Cathedral Caves which back up against the ocean. The rain had increased considerably and the wind was blowing very hard.
When we got to the caverns we were told that the ocean had scoured out a section where you cross at low tide to get into the caverns and we would have to wade in. The one section was up to 6 feet deep and the other section was knee deep. Jos decided that wading through knee deep water in the dark was not a great idea so in the in the interest of safety we headed off to coffee. When we got to coffee the wind had knocked out the power so no coffee. However a generator was hooked up and coffee was brewed.
After coffee we headed down to Niagara Falls New Zealand which is billed as the smallest water fall in the world. It is about 3 inches high. From there we went down to Curio Bay to see the Petrified Forest and penguins. The penguins were out fishing but we did see the petrified trees which have been exposed on the shore line. The rain has stopped and we now have a very blue sky. The wind has increased in intensity to probably close to 50 mph and gusting to 80 mph. It is so strong rocks are rolling down the road.
We then headed to the southernmost tip of New Zealand which is called Slope Point. Jos had planned on cycling from here down to Bluff but as it turned out the road was not paved and cycling into the wind would have been impossible. When we got to the point it was a one mile walk from the parking lot down to the cliff. The wind would almost lift you off your feet it was so strong. Jos said that the wind was easily over 130 km/hr (80 mph). I have never been in such a storm.
We had a late lunch in Invarcargill which is looking a little worse for the wear. Closed down shops and a lot of pretty poor looking streets. Unbelievably in this junky mall is Burt Munro’s Bonneville salt flat record breaking Indian motorcycle. No write or anything else just a Plexiglas case with the motorcycle in it. Wow what a piece of history. I nearly walked past it.
It was 30 kms down to Bluff were we are staying in what was at one time probably the nicest hotel in town. However that was 50 years ago and now it is a boutique place. Actually it probably still is one of the nicest places. Jos drove us up to the Bluff over look which is easily 500 feet above the town. It was the site of a WW2 radar installation. The wind was still screaming but now the temperature has dropped to around 8 C so it was very cold. We went down to the end of town where the road ends and took some pictures.
Tomorrow is the first ride day and is slated for 132 kms with a 407 m climb. Here is a link to the google route: https://goo.gl/maps/frjX99NybHs