Monday, 29 August 2016

Tour Aotearoa Day 22
Epilogue & Shit List

Day 22: Completion
Mossburn to Bluff 137km

I was grateful to have spent the night indoors as it had rained quite heavily in the night. I backtracked the 3km to Mossburn where I met some fellow TA riders who had stayed at the hotel in Mossburn among them some I hadn't seen since the North Island including Seth, Steve, Grant, Mark and others whose names escape me now, they were just rolling out as I arrived in town. I took a dose of voltaren with my breakfast as my knee was still quite swollen but thankfully not as sore as the day before.

The conditions for the ride to the next stop in Winton were the worst of the TA for me. The cold, the rain and a strong headwind made the gravel roads a tough slog. This was the only time I had any trouble with my hands, experiencing some tingling in my palms. I was passed by two more riders along this section. 
I caught up with those that had left Mossburn before me at a cafe in Winton, again arriving just as they were leaving. Thankfully the rain stopped stopped for the final 64km to Bluff. The ride into Invercargill was all flat and on the road, and was largely uneventful. I enjoyed the ride along the Invercargill cycle trail, skirting the city and getting some encouragement from a commuter on his way home. Unfortunately it had taken a beating in an earlier storm, so I had to leave the trail early and get back onto SH1 for the first time since the Cook Strait Ferry   
Nearly there
The headwind was back for the final 22km into Bluff,  though fortunately not as bad as the previous few days, where there were reports of riders having to walk for fear of being blown into the traffic. I rolled into Stirling Point at about 7:30, some locals were kind enough to take a photo of me at the sign, I was to meet them again the next day at the airport on their way to Rarotonga.
Lookee Ma I Done It
The finish was in a way, anticlimactic, a sense of completion rather than euphoria. I turned around quickly, heading back to the entrance to Bluff, where Grant, having finished earlier, was kind enough to give me and another rider a lift back to Invercargill. We booked into the Tuatara lodge and got cleaned up. I went out for a feed with 2 fellow riders, one from the UK and another from Canberra who had made it his mission to try every ice cream in New Zealand, and got a feed at the Speights Ale House, It was nice to share the final moments of TA with some fellow riders. 

I caught a flight back to Wellington the next day after first stopping in at the Invercargill iSite to pick my memorial plaque.


I got to travel the country from one end to the other, regardless of conditions, and see this amazing place from a perspective that not many get to see. I did it solo, but not alone. So here are some musings from the experience.


First of all I want to thank my family, and especially my lovely wife, Tanya, and my 3 daughters for allowing me to participate in the Tour Aotearoa. I would also like to thank everyone who supported me, helped along the way and rode with me. Thanks also to the Kennett Bothers for organising, Erik  for the cue sheets and Jessie for  the T-Shirt design.

I would also like to appologise to those whom I met along the way but whose names I have been unable to remember.

Me Bike

I used the same 2016 Giant XTC (JTA) I used for KB14, going against the general trend for 29er bikes, mostly, because it's what I had in the shed. The only change to the bike was the addition of some Ergon GP3 grips, which almost completely eliminated the hand problems I encountered on KB14. 


I felt a little underdone, having done just one ride longer than 100km in the lead up, a ride around the Wairarapa Coast, notable mostly because it was the first time I had covered the route during daylight hours. My preparation had also been hampered by us moving into  a new house, me organising a surprise fiftieth birthday party for Tanya and starting a new job in the months beforehand. My training consisted mostly of my daily commute from Upper Hutt to Wellington, a flat ride along the river trail with not nearly enough hills.

My first ride fully loaded was the 20km ride from Waitiki to Cape Reinga, 90 mile beach was a rude awakening.


I used a Revelate Designs Harness on the front too secure a dry bag, which was much more convenient than the areo bar attachment method I had used previously. On the back I used a Thule Freeload rack to carry my tent and the other dry bag. Two drink bottles on the frame, a camelbak for additional fluids/foods and a top tube bag for incidentals made up the rest. 
All my stuff and a clean bike in Opononi

The first 3 Days

I got myself sunburnt in the first few days as the shorts I was wearing were about 5cm shorter than my normal shorts and I had rolled up my sleeves, forgetting to slap on the sunscreen. I was also dehydrated despite drinking about 6l of fluids per day and struggled to eat enough, particularly experiencing trouble with hot chips. There was significant time pressure to make the ferry sailing across the Kaipara, as sailings were few and places limited, this was also largest gathering of riders since the start and the last major bottleneck before everyone spread out. 

Three days off road

The Waikato river Trail, The Timber Trail and the Bridge to nowhere were probably the hardest section of riding with the least distance covered per day  and possibly the highest ratio of genuine mountain biking.

5 days on the West Coast.

From Kawatiri to Pleasant Flat I loved the West Coast, the coast had 3 of my favourite trails, Big River/Waiuta, The Maruia Saddle and The Wilderness Trail. This was coupled with the beautiful rain forest and magnificent scenery in the glacier and Haast regions 


I camped for 11 of the 21 nights in my $50 warehouse tent, which represented great value for money and did keep me warm and dry. The tent, though, was bulkier and heavier than a lot of those others used, and due to the separate fly took me longer to set up and take down.  This was a much more pleasant arrangement than the bivvy bag I used last time, I think also that the extra comfort led to less eagerness to get going in the mornings. The other 10 nights were spent in peoples homes, motels, hotels, camp ground cabins and the Kaipara Cruising Club. The longest stretch without a shower was between Upper Hutt and Springs Junction, 3 days. 


I tried to get a decent cooked meal at least once a day, and stocked up with sandwiches, rolls and custard squares when I could. I supplemented this with muesli bars, chocolate, peanut M&Ms, bumper bars and confectionary company dinosaurs. I kept some OSMs  in reserve for emergencies, but avoided using these  as they remind me too much of chip board. 

I would consider a cooking setup next time as I found myself getting to my accommodation in the evenings after everything had closed. I'm more night owl than early bird, so I struggle with early starts, but early starts would lessen the likelyhood of arriving after closing time, particularly in the smaller towns. 

The Body

I utilised mostly ground effects clothing and was double shorting after about 7 days due to a sore arse. Sweet Cheeks Butt Butter kept the nether and nipple regions in good shape, no chaffing or saddle sores. I had some toe numbness for a few weeks afterward and my hands held up well due to a new grip/glove combo. My right shoulder got quite sore by the end, which may have been a result of the camelbak. And my left knee blew up for the last few days, which I suspect was a combination of overuse and my seat post slipping. 


I used a combination of cue sheets, my cellphone GPS with the app, and following tyre tracks in the dust/mud. This method only let me down once when I took a wrong turn to Waihi on the Hauraki Rail Trail. 

Shit List

Hard Shit
  • 90 Mile breach
  • The Waikato River Trail
  • The Bridge to Nowhere
  • The Maungatapu Track
  • The last 10km to Poutu Point
Stupid Shit
  • Wrong turn at Paeroa.
  • Left behind cellphone at Kohukohu.
  • Setting off the metal detectors at CHCH airport 3 times.
So good I'd do that shit again, anytime.
  • Big River/Waiuta
  • Maruia Saddle 
  • The Timber Trail
  • The Wilderness trail
I'd like to go back and try that shit again.  
  • The Bridge to Nowhere. To do it fresh and without time pressure.
  • The Waikato River Trail, see above. 
  • Tane Mahuta, to check it out during the day
Surprising Shit
  • The random generosity of strangers.
  • My $50 Warehouse tent
Busted Shit
  • Deraileur hanger, snapped on the Maungatapu.
  • Top tube bag (2 blown out zips)
  • Lights (battery and cable)
Lost Shit
  • 6kg
  • Camelbak Spigot
  • Sunglasses (Kawakawa Bay)
  • Gloves (spare pair on The Timber Trail)

Tasty Shit
  • Ralph's on Dominion Rd, Auckland.
  • Ongarue Flashpackers, Ongarue 
  • Fords Cafe, Nelson
  • The Cheese Barn on The Hauraki Rail Trail
  • The Broadway Tearooms and Bakery, Reefton 

Bad Shit
  • Left knee.
  • Insect bites.
  • Melancholy at Walter Peak
  • Mangakino Reprobates.

Good Shit
  • Ergon GP3 grips
  • Revelate Designs harness.
  • Riding with my friends Edd and Karl.
  • Meeting family in Ashurst, Martinborough and Upper Hutt.
  • Sweet Cheecks Butt Butter.
  • Sharing the adventure with fellow TA riders.
  • Retailers that went out of their way to help out, especially the now closed Reid's store in Maria Springs.
  • The hospitality at the Formerly The Blackball Hilton.
  • The traffic, I can't recall a single bad experience.  
  • Cake.

Day 1: Cape Reinga to Ahipara  103km - Tent 
Day 2: Ahipara to Trounson Park - 135km - Tent
Day 3: Trounson Park to Helensville - 151km - Clubrooms
Day 4: Helensville to Miranda - 151km - Tent  
Day 5: Miranda to Matamata - 111km - Private Home
Day 6: Matamata to Mangakino - 89km - Tent
Day 7: Mangakino to Timber Trail - 100km Tent
Day 8: Timber Trail to Whakahoro - 115km - Dormitory
Day 9: Whakahoro to Whanganui - 147km - Cabin
Day 10: Whanganui to Apiti - 127km - Tent
Day 11: Apiti to Eketahuna - 154km - Private Home
Day 12: Eketahuna to Upper Hutt - 140km - Private Home
Day 13: Upper Hutt to Maungatapu Track - 213km - Tent
Day 14: Maungatapu Track to Kawatiri - 130km - Tent
Day 15: Kawatiri to Springs Junction - 126km - Motel
Day 16: Springs Junction to Blackball - 126km - Hotel
Day 17: Blackball to Ross - 154km - Tent
Day 18: Ross to Fox - 137km - Cabin
Day 19: Fox to Pleaseant Flat - 165km- Tent
Day 20: Pleasant Flat to Arrowtown - 156km - Tent 
Day 21: Arrowtown to Mossburn - 149km - Cabin  
Day 22: Mossburn to Bluff - 141km - Backpackers

Total time 21d - 5h - 47m -23s

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Tour Aotearoa Days 19-21

Day 19 Whitebait
Fox Glacier to Pleasant Flat 160km

To be honest, I found the riding between Ross and Haast a bit of a blur. You cannot deny the natural beauty of the region, but unfortunately the riding was all on SH6, so had a quite a feeling of sameness about it.  

As there were no off road sections it did make it easier to cover more distance though. I did stop for lunch at the salmon farm just north of Paringa and had a whitebait fritter with a bread garnish

The next stop was the Knight's Point Lookout and memorial

The ride into Hast was fast with a slight downhill gradient and a favourable wind. Again I had been crossing paths with other riders all day, but by this stage everybody was well settled into their own rhythms, so aside from a greeting and a quick chat everybody kept mostly to themselves.

there were quite a few riders at Haast and most had opted to stay there for the night, I decided to head for the camping ground at Pleasant Flat so I could tackle Haast Pass first thing the next day. 

Leaving Haast
I enjoyed the ride to Pleasant Flat, although slightly uphill there was a helpful wind. The scenery heading up the Haast valley is spectacular with steep hillside dropping down into the valley and a multitude of cascading waterfalls. Pleasant Flat is a surprisingly busy and well equipped DOC camping ground. I arrived around the time it was getting dark. As I was setting up my tent I was greeted by an American tourist who gave me a bottle of Steinlager. She said that they had passed me about 40 minutes earlier on the road and wondered if I was going to stop at the camping ground, she congratulated my effort and we had a brief chat. I continued setting up my tent and managed to tip the bottle over with some over vigorous tent pole assembly, I said a naughty word and only managed to save half the contents.

Day 20 Hills 
Pleasant Flat to Arrowtown 170km

There was some light rain around in the morning and the camping ground had emptied out early, I suspect, mostly, to avoid having to pay the DOC ranger who makes daily rounds. Haast Pass is not the biggest hill on the tour but it felt like the steepest, time for some more walking. On my way up the Pass a car stopped, the driver got out and gave me some Easter eggs, it was Alison, who I had run into at Ford's cafe in Nelson some days ago. At the top of the pass we cross over from Westland into Otago and bid the west Coast farewell.

I stopped and had lunch at Makorora, during this time the light rain eased up. From  Makorora we head into the lakes district first Wanaka then over the hill to Hawea. Hawea is a pretty little town by the dam, and certainly not as commercialised as Wanaka, and Queenstown. For the first time in two and a half days we were off road again onto the Hawea River Track, an enjoyable track with not too much up and down.

Lake wanaka
Coming into Wanaka it's onto the beach again, this time around the shore of lake Wanaka, certainly much more enjoyable than the last tine I rode on the beach in Northland. Wanaka is the last stop before Cardrona, I grabbed something to eat and stocked up on supplies, and headed off to Cardrona 24km away. I got to Cardrona relatively early and decided to push on over the Crown range to Arrowtown, first booking into the camping ground at Arrowtown. The Crown range is a decent climb to around 1100m, the highest point on the tour and at the top you can see the lights of Queenstown twinkling in the distance. The gradient though is not too bad only getting steeper as you near the summit. Near the top it was getting dark so I turned my lights on, only to have them fail in sight of the crest. Climbing without lights is bad enough but the descent was worse, luckily I had a spare torch, a small LED torch with 2 AA batteries. I did the descent with the the torch, holding onto the torch and the right handlebar with one hand  and the brakes with the other. The descent is quite steep and i was struggling to control the torch, handlebars and brakes all at the same time, my brakes by now  were making some disturbing noises. About half way down, the trail ducks off onto a gravel road to head down into Arrowtown. I was having difficulty keeping my bearings, so was stopping regularly to check the GPS on my phone. There was one more hair raising off road descent into Arrowtown. Late again, but the camping ground had a vending machine, snacktastic. This was to be my last night under canvas, it was also my longest day in terms of distance covered and probably had the most climbing as well. 

Day 21 Nadir
Arrowtown to Mossburn 139km

Arrowtown in the AM

I got scolded by the custodian for camping in the wrong place, at least I was paying, unlike the camper van parked on the road over the fence. I was aiming for the 12:30 T.S.Earnslaw sailing accross Lake Wakitipu to Walter Peak Station. I had allowed my self 3 hours for the 30 odd km to Queenstown, made up mostly of the Twin Rivers ride. What I hadn't realised was that my left knee had blown up overnight, probably a result of overdoing it the day before. It was a struggle from the moment I set out, in the end I got to he boat  30 minutes before sailing. The Earnslaw is a gorgeous old steam boat and even has a gentleman playing a grand piano to add to the ambience. I had some lunch on the boat and sat back and enjoyed the ride

 Walter Peak is a working station that does the "farm" experience, a good number of passengers were staying to experience the sights and smells of the farm. On the boat I met Dirk, a wave 1 rider, who had also stayed in Arrowtown the night before.

Landing at Walter Peak

We left together, but I soon fell behind, my knee was giving me some grief, the previous day it seems had taken more out of me than I thought. I sat down by the side of the track at one point feeling quite sorry for myself, this was my lowest point of the tour.

Low Point, Lake Wakatipu in the Distance
While sitting there having a sulk, a German cycle tourist approached from the opposite direction. She stopped for a chat, asking about the conditions further on, which broke the spell and I got moving again. Things were still not right, and I stopped about 10km up the road and had a little sleep on the side of the road. There was one more climb between me and Mossburn, which I walked.

 Across the Top

Once at the top and starting to head down I began to feel a little better, there were some long fast downhill sections, but the weather was starting to close in and I began to eye up shelter belts as potential camp sites. I stopped and sat in a bus shelter at the intersection with Centre Hill Rd. Remarkably I had cell phone reception, at this point I was around 36km from Mossburn, I phoned ahead and booked a cabin at the Mossburn camping ground for $35 as the overnight weather wasn't looking promising. 

The last 26km is on The Around the Mountains Cycle Trail, I missed the turn off and had to backtrack a few km, I wasn't the only one, apparently the local anglers are a bit territorial and remove signs relating to the trail to keep cyclists off it. I enjoyed the trail it has a fast hard packed surface, there was also a tail wind most of the way to Mossburn. I passed Dirk who was camping by the river just after the start of the trail. With about 5km to go the sunlight was fading, I tried my lights again but they were only working intermittently, which was OK while they were going, but not so good when they cut out. I resorted to the hand held torch for the last few km to the camping ground. 

Friday, 29 July 2016

Tour Aotearoa Days 16-18

Day 16: Gold
Springs Junction to Blackball 127km

It was a cool start to the day, the moteliers had kindly done my washing for me overnight but there was nowhere to get breakfast, so that would have to be Reefton about 35km away. There is only the small matter of the Rahu saddle in the way which climbs it's way to 690m and is followed by a 30km downhill into Reefton. I stopped at the The Broadway Tearooms & Bakery where a number of other riders had already gathered, having left Springs junction before me. The main point of discussion was whether to do the Big River Waiuta section or take the alternate route via SH7, the consensus was to take the detour. I had done Big River during KB14, so knew what was in store and had always intended to do the trail as it was one of my highlights from the last tour. 

Big River Trail

The Big River track heads up into the hills above Reefton, it starts off as a gravel road and slowly degenerates into a rocky unmaintained 4WD track which passes through old gold mines until you get to the Big River goldmine at the top, I had hoped to spend the night at the Big River Hut, but again I hadn't got my timing right so I had to settle for eating an al fresco lunch there that I had bought at the bakery in Reefton. I had a glance at the visitors book, noting the TA riders already having stayed, the comment I found most amusing was the one left by a princess moaning about the smell of the long drop toilet, quite why you would expect anything different in the middle of nowhere is beyond me.

Big River River
The Waiuta section starts with a magnificent baordwalk at the top but soon turns into beech forest singletrack, which was a boggy mess having been carved up by the 100+ riders already having passed through. There were also a couple of wash outs that required some bike carrying.

Waiuta boardwalk
Waiuta trail

The 40km through Big River/Waiuta took about 6 hours which meant that I arrived at Ikamatua too late for the store to be open so I just sat on the bench outside eating paenut M&Ms and pondering my existence. Between Ikamatua and Blackball is the Pike River mining disaster memorial, I stopped and had a walk around the memorial which was a piognant experience. 
Pike River Memorial

I stopped at the Atarau hall and phoned ahead to the formerly the Blackball Hilton to make sure they were still open for dinner, the hosts are avid blue dot watchers and were wondering if me and another rider were going to stop in. I still have fond memories of my meal there during KB14, so I stopped for dinner and stayed the night.

Day 17: Water
Blackball to Ross 154km

It was a grey morning and just starting to drizzle when I left Blackball for Greymouth about 20km away. By the time I got to Greymouth it was raining a a cold wind was blowing off the ocean, this made the photo stop at the Greymouth Bar thoroughly unpleasant. 
Greymouth at it's Finest
We follow the cycle trail along the coast until it's time to head inland towards Kumara where I stopped for a bite to eat, thoroughly soaked and believing I couldn't get any wetter.

I was wrong, at Kumara the trail heads inland winding past the Kapitea resivoir on the way to Cowboy Paradise, an American style western town run by the Nitro Kid and marks midway between Kumara and Hokitika. Cowboy Paradise holds western style shooting competitions and has adapted itself to the needs of the cyclists now passing through. By the time I got to Cowboy Paradise I was wetter than I had thought possible, I had to stop periodically to drain the water out of my jacket. I stopped there and got a cup of coffee and a bowl of hot chips. There was a big group of riders staying there having completed their section of Wilderness Trail for the day.

The Sun Comes Out

Cowboy Paradise
While I was eating the sun came out which made for a much more pleasant, predomintly downhill, ride out to Hokitika. The trail takes you past Lake Kaniere and the hand dug Lake Kaniere water race. I got to Hokitika about 7:00pm, too early to stop so I headed off for Ross. The trail follows the Mahinipua tramline before crossing the road and following a gravel road running parallel to SH6. It was dark by this time, so I was startling a few of the local inhabitants including a hare, an opossum and a number of pukeko, I decided against the psychiatric help, inexpensive as it was. 
Mental Health Stop
Following the trend set so far I got to Ross to late for anything to be open, so I found a campsite and settled in for the night.

Day 18: Glaciers
Ross to Fox Glacier 154km

The tour now passes through the West coast towns of Pukekura, Harihari and Whataroa on the way to Franz Joseph, I got mobbed by the contents of a tourist bus at Harihari, fortunately I had already got my food. In the end this was largely uneventful riding along SH6 passing one of the photo control points, Lake Ianthe, along the way. 

Lake Ianthe
I criss crossed with a few riders along the way, among them Jill and Gordon on their twin surly's. I managed to get a bit befuddled on the way into Franz Joseph so had to stop for  a few minutes to regain my bearings. Most were staying at Franz Joseph, Franz Joseph is a tourist hot spot so was a bit of a shock to the system after the relative isolation of the county side. as it was still relatively early I elected to press on towards Fox glacier to get the climbing out of the way, there are 2 good sized climbs between Franz Joseph and Fox. The climbs were not as bad as I had expected, so I had time to head up to the new shared trail to Fox Glacier before spending the night in a cabin at the camping ground. I had a meal in town and managed to get all my washing done before getting to sleep.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Tour Aotearoa Days 13-15

Day 13: Ditch
Upper Hutt to Maitai Valley 99km

After a night in my own bed it was time to get moving, I had booked the ferry the night before and was on the 9:00am sailing. It was hard to leave home and difficult to muster the motivation to get moving, but I had a boat to catch. The ride to the ferry is the same as my usual commute to work. Along the Hutt River Trail I met my friend Karl, and he rode with me from Lower Hutt to the ferry terminal, with me struggling to keep up as Karl was on his road bike and without all the extra gear I was hauling around.  On the ferry I ran into Erik and Greg again, we talked about whether we would do the optional off road bits around Queen Charlotte Drive, Erik was keen, and I thought that I might do them. I was back on familiar ground again as this section of TA was part of the KB14 route. 
Flasher than the Interislander
In the end I decided not to do the off road sections as I had reached the high point on Queen Charlotte Dr and started to descend when the first turn off arrived, and the prospect of more climbing wasn't that inviting. I stopped for a milkshake at Havelock and then made it to Pelorous shortly before the cafe shut, at the cafe I met two young ladies who had done KB14 and had a quick chat. I had plans of getting to Nelson before dark, the only thing between me and Nelson was the Maungatapu Track. 
Warning. Pain Ahead
The Maungatapu Track is probably the hardest single climb on the TA route, it starts off OK and then gets progressively steeper, the track surface also gets rockier as the gradient increases. About halfway up a stick got caught in my rear deraileur and everything came to a dead stop, fortunately I was only going at about walking pace. I stopped to investigate the damage, which amounted to a broken deraileur hanger, fortunately these days I always carry a spare. Oddly, of the 4 hangers I have broken over the last 12 years, 3 have occurred in the Nelson/Marlborough region. It only took about 15 minutes and some peanut M&Ms to fix the hanger and get moving again. 
One of these things is broken
It was getting dark as I crested the saddle, I took the descent easy, walking the steep rocky section into the creek near the bottom, as I was on my own and it was not in an ideal place to munt yourself in the dark. I ended up camping by the river in the Maitai valley.

Day 14: Wind
Maitai Valley to Kawatiri 125km

Nom Nom
I stopped for beakfast in Nelson at Fords cafe, the same spot I stopped during KB14, it was here that I discovered that Erik had got himself a helicopter ride after smashing his wrist on one of the off road sections around Queen Charlotte Dr, ending his tour, Erik would have to rank as one of the unluckiest TA riders, a shame as he had put a huge effort into the cue sheets and designing the TA riding top. Luckily he had been riding with his old friend Greg, who raised the alarm, I had been crossing paths with the two of them since the start of the tour and would miss the opportunities to catch up and sometimes ride together. Alison, whose partner was doing the tour stopped and had a chat while I was eating breakfast, she assured me that Erik was being well looked after. 

Leaving Nelson I got mixed up in a group doing a guided tour of some of the Great Taste trail, I had a yak to the guides and eventually parted company with them around Stoke. Once out of town there was a nasty headwind all the way to Wakefield, even the birds were going backwards, so it was head down and grovel time. Wakefield is where the route departs from the KB14 route and heads towards Tapawera, rather than St Arnaud. Wakefield is also where my Mother grew up and was the home of my Grandparents, so for old times sake I went for a wander around the town and had lunch at the Wakefield bakery before heading up Pigeon Valley Road. Riding through the valley I was stung by an unidentified sort of stinging insect, which was just as well as I has been falling asleep on the bike, I then missed the turn off to Sunday Creek Rd and had to back track for a few ks. I stopped at Tapawera, where my Uncle Donald and his family lived while he worked in the forestry in the area, and stocked up at the 4 Square. I then moved on to Tadmor where my Aunt Steph had worked in the telephone exchange when they were farming in the area. The road turned to gravel on the way through the Tadmor saddle to Glenhope, I was passed by a couple of fellow TA riders around here, whose names unfortunately I can't recall. I Got to the Kawatiri campsite in the dark and camped there.

Day 15: Bugs
Kawatiri to Springs Junction 134km

The nights sleep was broken by the passing of trucks travelling down state highway 6. There was the option at this point to take the optional route over the Porika track, I had done the Porika previously and while it affords a magnificent view of Lake Rotoroa on the descent it was starting to rain and the prospect of the climb wasn't all that appealing. 
Moody Lake
Lake Rotoroa is one of the photo stops, and you can measure the time that it takes for the hordes of sandflies to settle on bare skin in milliseconds, there is a water supply and flushing toilets at the lake so it gives the opportunity to complete some ablutions. 

Bug Problems

After leaving Lake Rotoroa we rejoin the KB14 route on the Braeburn Track. Whilst on the Braeburn I felt a stinging sensation in my right wrist, thinking that this was the start of nerve damage in the hand I looked down, and saw a wasp going to town with it's stabby thing.  I had problems with my hands during the KB14 so while it was a relief to see the wasp it didn't make the experience any more pleasurable

By the time I got to Murchison I was soaked through. I stopped there for lunch, and then headed up Mangles valley towards the Maria Saddle. The Maruia Saddle was one of my favourties during KB14, and climbs gently through some beautiful
The Mariua Saddle
beech forrest. Though I got to Maruia Springs and Reids Store after closing time, the owners kindly opened the doors to let me restock my food supplies, I was not the only rider to benefit from their generosity over the course of the tour. 
Reids Store is now sadly, closed. 

I stopped for the night at the motel in Springs Junction , the motel there is like stepping back in time to the 70s, but it is warm and dry.  I had decided that spending the night in comfort was preferable to rolling into Reefton late, and then trying to find somewhere to stay. It was too late to get a meal so I settled for  a steak and mushroom pie and a big bag of chicken chips.