Down, down, down...

At last. All the climbing effort I made over the past few days has been payed back in full, with virtually an all day descent to the tiny lakeside settlement of Moana.

This morning I was in no hurry to get going, lingering over breakfast and having a quick look around Arthurs Pass village. To my surprise this tiny place has its own tiny post office.

There is not much else in the main street, and the mountains press in very close here.

But I discovered that it is a very lively little place, with many visitors coming here for the climbing and tramping. The Wobbly Kea was very popular in the evening for dinner and I could hear the accents of many different countries. The cafe serves the best bangers and mash that I've had for ages.

Eventually I got moving and was immediately faced with a sharp climb on cold and stiff legs. A little walking was required to reach the pass proper, only about 4km away. I stopped for a photo of Arthurs monument, then seeing the cloud streaming over the pass, put on my rain jacket for the descent.

The road plunged steeply down at a 16% grade, and very quickly I arrived at the Deaths Corner lookout over the Otira Viaduct. It was sitting atop of a steep knoll and there was no way I wanted to cycle up it, so I continued across the viaduct and settled for a photo from below.

And looking the other way was this chute and avalanche shed.

The road continued its downward plunge and soon I reach the historic hotel at Otira. I'd only covered around 13 kilometers but decided on a brief stop to warm up with a coffee. As I resumed riding the weather further down the valley was looking quite grim. The road began to level out but was still headed decidedly downhill, and the rain started just as I reached Jacksons so I quickly pulled in for shelter and lunch.

The rain shower was brief and the sun was shining by the time I finished lunch. A short distance from Jacksons I turned off the highway for Moana, enjoying a great ride with a gentle downhill and no wind, cranking the bike up to 30kph for long stretches. What a change from grinding uphill into the wind at 7kph. 

Dodging a few more rain showers I soon arrived and setup in a cabin at the Lake Brunner motor park. Shortly after it started to rain, and it hasn't stopped since.

Click here for a visualisation of the route.

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