We’re back in Notown to explore some more of the forestry roads. Our friends Nell and Chris from Australia are visiting and they’ve brought their mountain bikes with them. Chris is into photography the same as Stephen so we’re keen to get out and combine some scenery for photos and a nice pedal. We thought Notown would be a good combination of both. Ha Notown – don’t you just love the name. We have another bike ride we do called “Noname” – ha love it!
Today we’re staying away from the big hill climbs and just heading straight up the valley – to the end of the road. Well junction rather than end of the road actually, where you can then go off in other directions – they all involve climbing but today we’re doing an in and an out – going to come back the same way this time round. We haven’t been right out to the junction before so not really sure how long it is going to take us or how far it is. We do know it is a decent distance – it will give our legs a good workout but the road is a gravel road, reasonably smooth for the most part and we should get some good scenery.
This ride is one of those deceiving rides though – looks like a flat valley road but there is just enough of an incline for you to know you are pushing those pedals every inch of the way.
Our first little break stop is to visit the historic Notown Cemetery. Notown really was a town back in the late 1800s and early 1900s – gold mining territory and the cemetery is always interesting to visit and read the headstones. I love how you can be in the middle of nowhere and you’ll come across a cemetery. Gives you a real feeling for the area. They always seem to be in the most amazing locations too – good views for the dearly departed.
After a quick bite to eat and a few photos we’re back on the road again, heading up through the valley floor. It is predominately plantation forest mixed with the occasional section of native forest. There is a ford to cross and Chris screams through with a big grin on his face. Gorgeous day – not bad for almost the end of winter. We’re all in short sleeves or even singlets. Chris and Nell are most impressed with the temperatures – coming from Sydney they thought it would be freezing here.
Eventually we break out of forest floor to a sea of yellow and the mountains off in the distance. I’m picking the junction must be getting close by now. We pass a turn-off to the right and when we meet back with the others, ask where that goes. Pointing up to the ridgeline we think mmmmm looks like a good place for some photography – Chris – you keen for a little (??) hill climb.
Up we go – reasonably steep and loose but always rewarding to stay on the bike and make it to the top. Not particularly long so we just dig it in.
Definitely worth the climb. Normally rewarded with a good downhill after a climb, this time we are rewarded with the views. We can see right across the valley with the snow-capped Southern Alps in the back ground. At the bottom is a sea of yellow with all the spring growth in the gorse and broom. Weeds of course but at times like this looks quite stunning – you wouldn’t want to fall in them though but they sure are pretty to look at.
We can see Nell back down on the main track – she decided not to trek up the hill but wait for us the bottom. We give her a wave – a little dot amongst the mass of yellow and green.
Time to head back down – with all our photography stops we’ve taken a bit longer than we thought and time is marching on and the cloud is starting to roll in. The sun will disappear soon once we’re back riding through the plantation forest so things will cool down. Good thing is though because it was a slight incline coming in it should be a nice quick ride back out…….
Time for one more photo though – love this one, a photographer capturing another photographer at work – don’t fall in the gorse Chris! Right come on – there is wine to be drunk……. and by the way “welcome to the West Coast guys”.
Jan and Stephen run Breakers Boutique Accommodation on the Great Coast Road north of Greymouth. They enjoy getting out and about and exploring either hiking or biking around the West Coast. Check out their other blog postings or activities page on their website for ideas on things to see and do should you be ready to visit the West Coast of the Southern Alps.