Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trip Review

*Before reading, dont forget to click on the tab just above to check out the photos and feel free to start at Blog Post "Day1" (under blog archive on right hand side of this page) and then it all makes sense.*

Well, in a nutshell, there were lots of highlights - below is a brief synopsis of the facts and a couple of little pointers if you a planning a decent motorbike trip of NZ.

Total Distance Travelled: 3291km's
Riding Days: 8 days
Total Days away: 12 days
Longest Km Day: 526km's (Queenstown to Greymouth)
Shortest Km Day: 279km's (Taupo to Auckland)

Mishaps: Dropped bike at service station in Wanaka, Lost extra wet weather cover for front bag somewhere on the ferry

Couldnt live without: Wet weather gear (good gloves too and polyprop socks)
Insulation tape for any unforseeable rips in bags, etc

Something I would take for next time: Polyprop gloves for inside my gloves.

Something I have learnt: Life is for living, so just get out and do it!

Review of the route:

View Larger Map

Next trip is an overnighter to Cape Reinga.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by :)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 11 - Taupo to Auckland - Im home!

Well, I did it!

Over 3000km's over 11 days.

7 days riding and 4 days at "rest". I have had an absolute blast doing it and cant wait until the next opportunity.

Once I have taken a rest I will update with a review of the trip and upload my photos.

Day 10 - Wakefield(Nelson) to Taupo

After a very hospitable night at PCs we set off at 6.30am in the morning to Nelson then PC kindly led me through to the other side to the road to Picton. Still in the dark but with 140kms to cover to get to Picton for the ferry the rain set in again and it was softly softly through some pretty tight corners and lots of huge trucks to find myself at the ferry terminal. The rain was pelting down and the lady at the ferry kindly let me park undercover until it was time to get on the ferry.

After a decent wait I rode on to the ferry and used the tie downs (thanks again Scotty) and a couple of extra tie downs that were on the boat to firmly secure the old girl for the journey as the sign ominously said a "moderate" weather crossing across the straight. Berthed at Wellington to more rain and decided to just head North as far as I felt like going.

Set off again - managed to lose the extra wet weather cover of my front bag somewhere on the boat, however, it was too late to worry. Got to Foxton and stopped for a coffee and smoke and I was off again. I had decided because there were gale force warnings and storm warnings all down the North Island that I would head straight up the middle and leave New Plymouth for another day. It seemed like the right decision as from Foxton to Waiouru the rain held off so was able to enjoy those magnificent roads again.

Arrived at Waiouru at dusk and for a moment the clouds cleared and I had an awesome view of Mt Ruapehu. Jumped off the bike to take a quick photo then decided that I would head to Taupo.

Through the desert road the cloud cover was down to my ankles again. Popped out at Turangi and it was now completely dark with the rain really pelting. Saw that it was 60kms to Taupo so thought - what the heck, Ill carry on. This was the only part of the 3000km's that I didnt enjoy - it was pitch black, I had my tinted visor on and it was the heaviest rain of the trip. I actually had pretty much no visibility - when cars were coming the other way I had absolutely no visibility and a couple of times couldnt tell if I was on the road or not!, however, I popped out at Taupo and found the first motel I came across and derobed - again, the wet weather gear did an awesome job!

Spent the night and with a sense of sadness that my journey was coming to an end set off for Auckland in the morning. I have had such a blast it has just been awesome! More tomorrow.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 9 - Greymouth to Nelson

Woke up this morning in Greymouth to the sound of rain on the roof so geared up with multiple layers and set off to Westport heading up the coast. Although the road was wet, the weather improved a little and I thoroughly enjoyed the ride to Westport with some magnificent sweeping views of the coastline.

Filled up at Westport and headed towards Nelson - through the gorge was very wet with amazing scenery - I had organised to meet a fellow kiwibiker at the Owen River pub - which is basically a pub in the middle of nowhere (I definitely recommend a stop here). PC and his lovely partner met me at the pub and I had a shandy while we waited for a couple of their mates. By the time we left Ross the weather had improved somewhat and we motored for another 100kmsish until we got to their home in Wakefield - I have had the most incredible hospitality from these guys and I am very thankful

Tomorrow morning I set off early to Nelson then Picton so I can catch the ferry back to the North Island. The old girl has clocked up around 2500km's on the trip so far.

What a journey!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 8 - Queenstown to Greymouth - wow!

What an awesome day again. Somehow I managed ti miss most of the rain. I set off quite early from Queenstown - it was bloody freezing with beautiful blue skies and a light frost, however, all kitted up I was snuggly warm all day with my scarf topping off the gear.

Before I knew it I was zooming past Wanaka - stopped for a quick petrol stop - saw a number of bikers who were obviously heading off for a group ride - managed to pay more attention to them than putting my stand up properly and managed to gently drop my bike - luckily no damage that I could tell so on I went.

Before I knew it I was riding through Haast Pass and what magnificent scenery it was. There had obviously been a light drop of snow the night beofre on a number of the peaks and it was truly magical. Popped out at Haast and began my journey to the Glaciers - the roads were truly spectacular and a riders dream - sweeping corners, great scenery and bugger all traffic.

(**NOTE FOR THOSE OF YOU PLANNING A SIMILAR TRIP - I was worried about fuel stops along the way but there are actually quite a few so just fill up as you pass a gas station - if my C90 can cope then your bike can too :))

Stopped for a late lunch at Franz Joseph and ate overpriced fish and chips with a luke warm flat white. The temperature was actually very mild.

Was going to stay at a little place called Ross that was suggested to me but I actually made good time and there was still quite a bit of light left in the day so carried on to Hokitika. Filled up again at Hokitika and actually decided to carry on to Greymouth where Ive found myself a tidy motel to stay at.

All in all it has been a great day - 526kms of some of the most beautiful NZ countryside travelled today - tomorrow up to Westport then across to Nelson.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 7 - Christchurch to Queenstown

I have just had the most AMAZING day - and thats an understatement! I would go so far as to say it has been the most fun day on my motorbike that I have ever had and Ive ridden quite a few kms in the 20 years on and off that Ive owned motorbikes.

I left Christchurch and it was dry but overcast. After getting through the city I headed down SH1. The weather cleared and it was cool and clear. My feet were toasty warm in their new socks and the new gloves worked a treat.

Before I knew it I was out of all built up areas and it felt like I was the only person in the world. The old girl was enjoying herself too and I had to keep making sure I wasn't going too fast because the roads were just awesome. The scenery was simply staggering and the colours of all the trees as they hold on to the last of their dying leaves just took my breath away.

With the hum of the C90 I found peace and tranquility only bikers can appreciate. I was constantly torn between stopping and taking photos and just riding for the pure joy and exhiliration.

I travelled about 480 kms today with a lunch stop in Twizel and a few photo and smoke breaks. All in all an outstanding day. I am now in Queenstown for two nights catching up with some friends. I have currently just had the best roast chicken dinner with gravy and am sitting in front of a nice warm fire.

Saturday the plan is to head up the west coast.

*I will have photos next week when I get back to Auckland

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Days 4-6 Christchurch then to Queenstown tomorrow

This is a quick "diary" entry before I head to our final posh evening dinner and end of year awards at the conference. I've had a great three days at the Harcourts' conference - in fact I think it has been the best yet!

We had a number of outstanding speakers. The last keynote speaker was the chap who wrote the autobiography - Maos Last Dancer (theres a movie too I think) - he was simply outstanding and a true inspiration indeed. We also had a number of great speakers who talked specifically about the world of real estate, however that is for another forum not this oen. All I will say is that it really has been a great three days catching up with friends and colleagues from across the Harcourts family.

I did manage to pop out at lunchtime and pick up some new gloves which will be more suitable for the "deep south" Apparently the gloves I bought should stand any inclement weather both cold and/or wet so thats great - we will see. I also picked up some boot covers and polypropolene socks just to make sure, however, it has actually been quite mild down here. Thanks to the great hotel Im staying at I have had undercover parking for the bike and all my wet weather gear is nice and dry.

Planning on leaving at about 9.00amish tomorrow morning and heading south. Am looking forward to get back on the bike tomorrow and carry on my journey.

When I return to Auckland I will upload some of my journey photos - just for those of you (Kevin) who dont like reading too much.:)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 3 - Wellington to Christchurch

One word - F***ING WET!!!

From the moment I drove off the ferry at Picton to when I drove in to the hotel in Christchurch it didnt stop raining, and when I say rain, I mean pelting rain with minimal visibility.

Jumped on the ferry early this morning in Wellington and met another biker heading home to Christchurch - he kindly showed me how to use the tie ons (thanks Scottie :) effectively and as we were sorting it out a young fella on a sport bike managed to knock his bike over while he was trying to tie it up. Luckily, no damage.

Anyway, it was a fairly calm sail across the water to the Marlborough Sounds. When we arrived in Picton there was no visibility and by Blenheim I was soaked - I have to say though that my wet weather gear was great and when I arrived here in Christchurch I realised my body was actually dry, it was just my hands and feet that were wet.

(NOTE TO ME - Buy thermal gloves and socks for next leg of journey)

Even though the weather was crap, I really enjoyed the ride. Even stopped at Kaikoura for half a crayfish and hot chocolate to warm the insides and my hands. Set off round the curly bits and this was when the weather was the worst. Once I got to the plains was able to crank it up a bit and for most of the journey shared the road with a white Ford Falcon.

As I arrived in to Christchurch the tripomenter showed 1000km's for the journey so far and only a few km's to go until the old girl celebrates her 40,000km mark.

Anyway, now at my work conference for the next three days before heading to Queenstown on Thursday. I must say the journey itself makes the work conference a side event (but shhh...dont tell my boss) :)

Will blog again at the end of the week probably.

So far, even with some iffy weather, a hell of a lot of fun!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 2 - Turangi to Wellington

Arrived in Wellington quite early after a great days ride.

Had a crap sleep at the motel in Turangi as I was awakened by torrential rain on the roof so was interested to see what the morning held. Packed up and left the motel at about 8.30am. The cloud cover was thick and it was raining intermittingly so I threw on all my wet weather gear which performed admirably and kept me toasty warm and dry which was great.

Hit the desert road and was immediatly hit by cloud cover down to my ankles, and an extremely wet surface, so it was carefully through this magnificent road. Stopped to get a snap of the mountain (well, the clouds around the mountasin :))Also stopped at Waiouru and had a couple of the best flat whites I have ever had along with some very tasty eggs benedict. By this stage the cloud was lifting with just the lightest drizzle.In fact I enjoyed this stretch of the road so much that I hardly even stopped for a smoke break.

As I headed down SH1 I was reminded of just how beautiful our country is and the old girl was enjoying herself as the km's passed under her wheels. The road got drier and drier as I headed south and I must say there is something very special about zooming along at a decent clip with barely another vehicle in view.

Around Levin the road got busier and as I headed in to Wellington around 1.30pm I thought Id go and check out where I had to go for the ferry. Parked up and thought I might be able to change my ticket and zip across on the next ferry but it was all booked out so headed into the city to find some accomodation.

What an awesome day! Tomorrow, the South :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 1 - Auckland to Turangi

What an awesome days ride! Have now arrived and found some accomodation at the motel that time forgot - actually, its very clean and tidy and theres an area to park my bike undercover which is great. (+ internet access) - I think Ive just been softened from all the years living in the middle of Auckland City.

It is times like this that I wish I had an iphone then I could do all this at my fingertips. I do have some photos I took today but they're on my old fashioned camera and I dont have the connection to upload so will have to wait until my return.

I woke up this morning in Auckland to a stunning day - blue sky and not a cloud in view. I decided to leave a litlle earlier and to make the most of the great weather as it was opposite to the weather forecast.

Anyway, my other half had spent the night sorting out my clothes and making sure everything fit in my bags. (Im so lucky :)) so I was good to go!

Zooming down the motorway I had not a care in the world - I had put a "Im out of Auckland" message on my phone and email so that was that.

Shot over the Bombay Hills and enjoyed the back road down to Hamilton. As soon as I hit Huntly I was reminded of my childhood in the Waikato bicycling to schools in the pea soup fog because thats what greeted me just south of Huntly. It didnt dampen my spirits though and I arrived in time for a warm lunch with the folks. Set off from Hamilton at about 12.30 fully expecting the rain to arrive but it just didnt. Decided to shoot down SH1 and turn off at Tokoroa and head down the west side of the lake. What a great choice that was! Through the Pureora Forest past a few landmarks of my childhood again and on to Turangi! About 350km's I think.

Apparently the weathers meant to be crap tomorrow so well see what the day holds.

Right, Im off to put another layer of clothing on :) Tomorrow, Wellington!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'm leaving tomorrow!

Im just at the packing stage - one of my collegaues is kindly taking down my suit for the conference on the plane so I dont need to worry about that. I also bought a new luggage bag that I have attached to the front of the bike - we'll see how it goes.

I am also going to ride a bit further than just Hamilton tomorrow - I have decided that I will head for Taupo or there abouts so Saturdays ride is a bit shorter - about 300odd km's.

It looks like the next three days will be pretty wet, however it also looks like it may improve towards the middle of next week.

Anyway, time to finish packing :)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I will be making a decision on Friday...

Well, sometimes in life you have to make hard decisions and looking at the current weather forecasts for NZ the weather looks like it could be as bad as it can get..... however, if the long range forecast is anything to go by, by the time I leave Christchurch to head to Queenstown next Thursday the bad weather may have blown itself away, however with the unpredictibility of the weather in our country who knows?

So, I have decided I will make the decision whether to go on the bike to Christchurch on Friday morning. By then there may be a better picture of the weeklong weather.

Cross fingers and toes that this really bad weather does blow away.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Auckland to Christchurch (+Queenstown)...anyone wanna come?

Due to a last minute cancellation at work I am able to take the bike down to my works annual conference in Christchurch this weekend/next week – yes late notice I know but would love it if I hade some company for some/all of the way  - Heres the plan – CHANGE OF ROUTE -

This Friday pm (14th) – Auckland to Hamilton – stay the night at my folks place.
Saturday – Hamilton to Wellington (straight down the middle)
Saturday night – stay in Wellington somewhere
Sunday am – Ferry across to Picton
Sunday – Picton to Christchurch
Monday – Wednesday – at the conference in Christchurch City.
Thursday – Christchurch to Queenstown
Thursday/Friday/Saturday – stay in Queenstown catching up with friends
Saturday – Queenstown to halfway up the west coast to Ross or there abouts
Saturday night – accomodation west coast
Sunday - To Nelson
Sunday night - stay with Kiwibiker member for night
Monday morning - ferry across then ride to New Plymouth (stay Mon night in New Plymouth)
Tuesday – New Plymouth to Auckland
Tuesday night – collapse in a heap at home!

Anyway, if you would like to join me for some or part of the way give me a buzz/text on 021 766 432 so we can arrange.

Updated map:

View Larger Map

Cheers, Nick. (nest4u)

PS. Do I need tie downs for the ferry or does the ferry provide them? And if I do does someone have some I could borrow? Thanks a mil.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Left to go to work, ended up in Thames :)

Got up this morning and zoomed in to the office briefly - It was a great day and thought I would prefer to go for a bit of a ride as my diary looked pretty clear and I am working this weekend.

Left the office in Ponsonby at about 11.00am and wondered where I would go for lunch. Initially thought I would head north but then decided I would head towards Miranda as I hadnt been on some of those roads. Headed down the motorway and fuelled up at Papakura. Was going to get off at SH2 but then decided to get off at Drury and head towards Ararimu and East until I hit the water. Discovered some magnificent riding roads and there was no one around. Got lost a couple of times but popped out at Miranda. Thought Id keep going and ended up in Thames in the Coromandel so stopped for lunch and soaked in the sunshine before heading home. This could be a great little mid winter group ride.

Honestly, the weather couldnt have been better. Anyway, heres the route - (roughly)

View Larger Map

Monday, May 3, 2010

My next Cruiser...

So, about two weeks ago I took a new Triumph Thunderbird for a spin and didnt want to give it back! I just need a Lotto ticket! I found a clip on youtube of the bike to give you an idea of what it looks like. Enjoy. :)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Waipu Ride yesterday....

Well, we had an awesome day yesterday. Although the weather decided to give us four seasons in one day it was a great ride. Basically a figure 8 - from Auckland across SH16 to Wellsford, then over the hills to the Waipu turnoff where we stopped for a fantastic lunch, then a variety of back roads led by one of the local riders and we popped out on to SH1 and then home with a detour to the Puhoi pub for a late afternoon refresher.

We had 11 cruisers on the journey and great company too. One of the guys was riding my future bike - a new Triumph Thunderbird - I just need to buy a lotto ticket! :)

All in all another great day with like minded riders and cruisers!

Thanks guys.

I'm back!

 Somehow I managed to log back in after a mere 8 years away from the site! I have so much to say, and so much to add, however, just logging ...