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Author Topic: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.  (Read 8306 times)

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Offline Three Dawg

New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« on: March 09, 2014, 07:48:52 pm »
After three amazing trips to southern Africa it was time for me and Mrs Three Dawg to catch up with the folks in New Zealand (for Mrs 3D is a Kiwi)  Was I going to go all that way and not get any biking in?  No chance!

We booked a Super Tenere from City Motorcycle Rentals in Christchurch, who were really helpful. We mapped out a loop of the southern part of the island, first heading over to the west coast via Arthur's Pass to Hokitika.  From there we planned to head south to Haast and Queenstown via Wanaka.  The next bit I was really excited by because we found out that it was possible to put the bike on the steamer The TSS Earnslaw which plies Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to the Walter Peak sheep station (more a dude ranch/tourist trap these days I think).  We'd then ride the Von Road through the southland back country and the remote 4x4 only Nevis Road back to Queenstown.  From there we would loop back to Lake Tekapo and Christchurch via several more unmade passes in seven days.  

It's a hell of a long way from Inverness, Scotland, but after 5 flights (not consecutively, thank heavens) we were in Christchurch.  Before we picked up the bike we were taken on a tour of what's left of the city.  After the earthquake three years ago many of the buildings in the centre of town have had to be pulled down if they didn't fall down in the quake.  Things seem to be moving a bit slowly, but they're probably arguing down at City Hall, as they do.



185 people died in the quake.  There is a temporary memorial made of chairs painted white on a vacant lot.  It's surprisingly affecting.



The front of the existing cathedral fell off, so they have this rather elegant temporary one; the so-called Cardboard Cathedral.





The following day, we picked up the bike.  I went for the Yam because it was cheaper than the GSs on offer (all of which I've ridden) and it turned out to be a really good ride.  The front fork is a bit stiff on rough ground, but I liked the 'twisted twin' 270 degree parallel twin motor.



« Last Edit: March 27, 2014, 10:57:13 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #1 on: March 09, 2014, 08:56:44 pm »
Soon enough we were heading over Arthur's Pass, a beautiful Alpine route.







Strange extinct wire birds



Civil engineering



Stationary trains blocking the road



All in all, a straightforward (if scenic) day with only
a few kilometers of dirt towards the end.  Mrs 3D at the office.  I can't be trusted to reply to emails happily for me. :biggrin:



Hokitika has a fine 'black' beach (about 100 metres from our cabin) and enough driftwood to to braai an ox.  Whole.





There were some charming buildings in town, but it seemed that there was only one restaurant open in the entire place. Dunno why, there were plenty of people about.





Nice sunset.









« Last Edit: March 28, 2014, 09:36:12 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Coxwain

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2014, 09:26:47 pm »
Great ride report  :thumleft: Lookin forward to some more ....
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Offline DikZol

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2014, 10:17:17 pm »
Great seeing something different!

Offline MegaPix

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2014, 10:54:42 pm »
 :sip:   :thumleft:
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Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2014, 12:06:03 am »
Incredibly, the next day looked great weather wise.  Last time I came this way (24 years ago, heading north) I was on an XJ650 and the water on the road was up to the top of the crankcases.



The Southern Alps form a barrier between the sea and the majority of the island to the east of them.  These rise up to something like 12000 feet.  Properly big mountains.







In the hamlet of Hari Hari we came across a small shed with a life sized model of a biplane and pilot inside.  Unfortunately we couldn't get in, so the pic is through the window.



The pilot was one Guy Menzies who, at the age of 21, became the first person to fly solo over the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand.



He went seriously off course and landed upside down in a field of flax.  He didn't live to see old age sadly, as he was killed in the second worl war.



Next we went up to Franz Josef Glacier.  It's receding (aren't they all?) but is still impressive.





The coastline continued to delight.





We arrived eventually at our overnight stop at Haast Beach.  Cue Ry Cooder guitar noodling...



Does that top go with those strides?  Haast Beach.  Crowded.



One more day until the bike gets dirty.

« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 04:26:08 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline woody1

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2014, 07:12:37 am »
Thank's for sharing.
I have a friend in Twizel and it's on my bucket list to go there one day.
Glad to see you took a GOOD bike to do the trip.  :pot:

Give us an idea of cost to rent this bike please.

Thank's

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Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2014, 11:31:08 am »
Glad you're enjoying it.  Twizel is in the middle of some lovely scenery and plenty of dualsport trails are nearby.  City Rentals http://www.citymotorcyclerentals.com/ charged us NZ$200 per day which is a little less than I normally pay for a 1200GS in South Africa.  They have other bikes, but you'd need to check on the tyres, their Wee Stroms had road tyres fitted.

This site: http://www.adventureguide.co.nz/ wil give you an idea of what's available, and stick with this RR cos I've got plenty of pic of the trails we rode.

Offline woody1

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2014, 12:31:43 pm »
Thanks will check them out.

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Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2014, 09:54:31 pm »
From Haast Beach we continued south towards the tourist hotspot that is Queenstown.



Going through the Haast Pass I was quite surprised to see a helicopter parked up.  They are doing loads of work here to repair the road after a major washout.  A young couple on their honeymoon got caught in the flood and their camper was washed into the gorge.  The found her, but he's still missing. :(



The bush is almost primeval.



Lake Hawea



Mrs 3D rustling up something tasty in Lake Hawea township.  You'd never know it was the height of the tourist season.



Lake Wanaka





This could be the Highlands of Scotland.



After Wanaka township you climb up over the Crown Range.  This is a great road.  Sealed now, last time it nearly shook the por old XJ to pieces.  Dunno what this was all about.



At the top is the historic Cardrona Hotel and store







Nice to see ale on handles.  Had a quick half of the hotel's own.





Like being in an English pub, I felt right at home



Where do people who own pubs get this stuff?



When we came out we found this rather tasty Mustang about to leave.  Cool car.



The road down from Cardrona.  Great fun to ride; those Heidenaus are surprisingly grippy.



And so to Queenstown.  More Chinese tourists here than I've ever seen in my life, and I've been to Hong Kong about ten times.



 Tomorrow the bike gets (a bit) dirty as I demonstrate that I can ride a large motorcycle through a small stream.



« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 04:27:06 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2014, 10:57:30 pm »
Today we go off to Paradise.  Literally, not metaphorically.



Paradise is beyond the township of Glenorchy which lies at the far end of Lake Wakatipu.  Gravel at last!  Mrs 3D is so happy she's making like a Japanese tourist...



Last fuel at Glenorchy.



Nothing at all challenging apart from a few small river crossings, but I'm happy about this because I havent ridden anything other than tarmac since my last trip to Southern Africa.  And I'm not very good at it anyway...









We found a nice spot to plot up for lunch.





Mrs 3D cooled her feet in the river



At the far end of the road it turns out that Paradise is more of a notion than a place, although there is a car park where a long distance walking track starts or ends.  The information board showed one of the characters from the gold mining era, inevitable big white beard and all.



The house belonging to the guy holding the stag's head is still there



Gotta go back the way you came...



...for a beer in Glenorchy.



On the way back Mrs3D managed to grab a picture of the TSS Earnslaw, the steamer we hope to put the bike on tomorrow.  The water looks mad, but there had been a lot of stuff washed down into the lake from the mountains.



That evening we were joined by Mrs3D's brother in law Andrew who was coming with a few mates on the Earnslaw as well.  Would there be room once 1200ccs of Yamaha were loaded???










« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 06:46:18 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2014, 11:01:08 pm »
The next day was a bit murky to start with but dry.  We got down to the wharf early ready to load the bike on to the Earnslaw.  The Skipper told us once the bike was safely stowed below decks (as they say in nautical circles, ahem) to walk straight past the queue and get on board- just the way I like it.



Whether or not you can get a bike on board depends on the level of the lake.  The ramp ain't very long, you see.  Today it was perfect.



The rest of the lads (and one lass) turned up on their rented tiddlers.



These were stuffed into the museum room in the bow of the ship.  To bad if you want to see inside. :biggrin:



My bike was put with the cargo- a pile of supplies for the Walter Peak sheep station.



« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 09:49:06 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Three Dawg

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #12 on: March 13, 2014, 10:16:00 pm »
After forty minutes steaming across the lake we arrived at the Walter Peak sheep station.  It's now a tourist attraction and we had to wait until they'd unloaded all the supplies for the restaurant.  

Map shows the first half day of the ride









Didn't take long- we were ready to go...



And the Earnslaw steamed away, as it has done for over one hundred years



The road was in good condition and the going was easy



Apart from the occasional rolling (trotting) roadblock



The weather just got better and better











The plan was to take a diversion up to the Mavora lakes.  Camping here run by the Department of Conservation for a small fee and long drop toilets.  Very civilised and not a scrap of rubbish anywhere.



Mavora Lakes.  Not pants, but these are. :o



The road continued along, nice and gentle through stunning scenery until we eventually rejoined the tarmac on the Queenstown to Te Anau road.  

We stopped for fuel (well the 7 litre tanked tiddlers did) and a bite.





Dave, the owner of the smaller rental bikes, knows the area like the back of his hand.  Did we want to give the Nevis Road a go?  Reckon we could hack it on this great big lump?  Yeah, no worries.  Yee haar, off we go then.

Yeah, this should be fun! :ricky:









« Last Edit: March 30, 2014, 09:59:13 pm by Three Dawg »
 

Offline Fearless

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #13 on: March 14, 2014, 05:13:04 am »
Very nice. Thanx for sharing.
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Offline Coxwain

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #14 on: March 14, 2014, 07:11:31 am »
This is something I have to do sometime in my life .....looks fantastic

Keep it coming...  :thumleft:
« Last Edit: March 14, 2014, 07:12:29 am by Coxwain »
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Offline pieman

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #15 on: March 14, 2014, 07:43:26 am »
Awesome!!
 

Offline Oupa Foe-rie

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #16 on: March 14, 2014, 08:53:21 am »
Absolute beautiful scenery and a very good RR ..............  :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline THROTTLE JOCKEY

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #17 on: March 14, 2014, 09:08:31 am »
More More More. Pleeeeezzzzzz.

Love that country.


How long were you there?
Ride it like you stole it!

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Offline BLK

Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #18 on: March 14, 2014, 09:17:31 am »
So beautiful,you have inspired me today and depressed me at the same time.


thks
 

Offline cocky

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Re: New Zealand: A long way, but worth it.
« Reply #19 on: March 14, 2014, 09:28:53 am »
Simply awesome RR, been great and riveting to read.
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