Bike Touring

Villa O’Higgins

I’ll keep this brief, because the Internet connection is flaky, but I’ve made it to Villa O’Higgins, at the end of the Carretera Austral. A few good days travelling down from Cochrane, on some very quiet roads.

At one point I needed to catch a ferry, from Puerto Yungay to Rio Bravo. I had seen a sign indicating they left at 8:00, 10:00, 13:00 and 18:15. I arrived just before 13:00, to find it had left at 12:00, and the next one was at 18:00. It was pouring down at this stage, but there was a little cafe, with a fireplace, and the owner was quite happy for me to sit there for 5 hours, drying out. At one stage he went home, leaving there by myself. I only helped myself to one extra slice of cake, but I did tell him about it when it came time to pay.

On the other side, on a road that only opened 10 years ago, there is very little traffic. By this time I was riding with Susan and Martin, a Dutch couple who started in Alaska. Empty roads, a few climbs, and so many condors! Plus any time you ran out of water, you just went to the side of the road, and found a stream of pure snow-melt, no treatment required. You could see the ice and snow, and where the stream ran down the mountainside to your bottle. Perfect.

From here, I’m crossing to El Chalten in Argentina. Will take two or three days, assuming the boat leaves tomorrow. It’s an interesting crossing – see here for details.

Oh and I must look it up on the map, but I do believe this is the furthest south I’ve ever been – I must be very close to the southernmost point of New Zealand by now.

  • Not many houses, but lots of forest and lakes
  • Gravel roads, and mountains too
  • Flat riding following the river
  • Ferry from Puerto Yungay to Rio Bravo
  • Bikes on the ferry
  • Unloading at the other side
  • Isolated country
  • Heaps of condors - there's one in this shot if you look closely
  • Dead fox above our campsite
  • Nearly at Villa O'Higgins, the end of the Carretera Austral