Day 13 - Waterfalls and the fabulous Nockalm

Wednesday 9th July 2014

It's so nice to sleep in a real bed once more. And the buffet breakfast is a glorious luxury. Austrian breakfasts are just the best. We revel in it.
In the Valley of the Waterfalls

Late morning we ride up to the Kelbreinsperre reservoir and dam at the head of the Malta valley. There are lots of waterfalls along the way and we make a couple of photo stops. The last dozen kilometres are a toll road . However if you stay more than one night, the hotel provides you with a 'Karnten Card', a regional tourist promotion,  which provides free access to a number of local attractions including this toll and the Nockalmstrasse too.

The dam is an impressive feat of civil engineering. It provides hydro electric power to the region as well as being a major tourist attraction.

The Kelbreinsperre reservoir and dam

It's very high, over 2000m, and very cold this morning. We have coffee at the ultra-modern hotel by the dam then head back down to warmer climes.


View down the Malta Valley from Maltaberg
Another view from the small road up to Maltaberg

Next we ride up to the top of Maltaberg, the peak just behind the Gasthof. It's an amazing road, narrow and twisting, climbing and climbing until suddenly opening out to alpine pasture and phenomenal views back down the Malta valley. There's a small guest house at the top where we have a cappuccino on the terrace and admire the view. We wind back down again and head for the Nockalmstrasse.
Pit stop on Nockalmstrasse

This 30km toll road ribbons over two major peaks of over 2000m with deep valleys either side and in between. The surface is near perfect and there are nearly 60 numbered hairpins. It's biking paradise if you like the twisties. For me it's the best biking road I have found anywhere in Europe. We do a lap with a coffee stop atop the eastern summit.

Sadly there are dark clouds gathering and suddenly the summit is in cloud and a wet drizzle sets in. So we head back down and out of the park to Ebene Richenau and in rain becoming heavier by the minute we decide to skirt the high peaks and head for Millstatt and back to Malta along the north shore of the Millstätter See. We are well soaked by the time we get back to the Gasthof so the gear goes into the drying room and we head for the bar and dinner.

Just have to go back again tomorrow. 

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