Ups and downs on the way to Westport.

Today started out with more of the stunning coastal scenery I rode through yesterday. The road climbed almost immediately from Punakaiki, crossing a headland high above the ocean. The views were stupendous. Then it continued to undulate steeply over a series of headlands, at times down to the level of the beach, then high above once again.

The mountains descended right down to the sea and nikau palms, giant tree ferns and flax plants crowded to the very edge of the road.

Much to my surprise, around a corner past the headland I found of all things, a coffee cart. Never one to miss a coffee opportunity I stopped for a snack and a chat with the barista. He had operated the coffee cart in Christchurch but has recently moved here to develop a B&B, and is making some money selling coffee and food at this scenic spot on the road side.

The weather stayed fine and the sun was shining, weakly at first, but soon making hot work of the climbing. After the fith or sixth headland my legs were starting to tire, but now the mountains began to pull back from the sea. Just in time I arrived at a cafe and stopped for a lingering lunch. 

With the last of the big headlands behind me I expected an easier ride after lunch, but there was still plenty of climbing to do as the road undulated towards the coastal plain, with many a demoralising false flat.

Finally clear of the up and downs I enjoyed the last 10 kilometers bowling along easily with a tailwind to push me all the way into Westport.

Tomorrow I'm heading up the Buller Gorge to Murchison. It's going to be a long day, but not too hilly I hope.

Click here for a Doarama visualisation of the route.

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