Sunday, January 23, 2011

So, where exactly is my home country of New Zealand???

I am loving this internet blog thing - I am loving dropping by passionate peoples blogs from all over the world, being given the priviledge of learning about their lives, loves and passions. It does not really matter where you are in the world, because we all have very similar hopes, dreams, dramas, celebrations. We just do it with a slightly different accent or language, thats all. I have always had a passion for travelling and geography, so whenever I stop by a blog I quite often google your location to learn a little bit about your area and/or country. It helps as I dream my big travelling dreams.

So, I thought it may be useful to share about my city and country for those of you who live further afield and maybe do not know a lot about our beautiful little country down the bottom of the world....

So, here it is, New Zealand .... past Australia (about a four hour plane ride) and a mere 12 - 13 hour flight to Los Angeles, USA or a 22 - 23 hour flight (with quick fuel stop either through Asia or the States) to London in the UK. Adventure Tourism is a big money earner for New Zealand and we have millions more sheep than people :)

Yes, we are a long way from anywhere, but it has its advantages thats for sure - generally we are a laid back bunch of approximately 4 million through the whole country. We are a young country by world standards and we have the most wonderful mix of people who originally come from all corners of the globe. We are a creative bunch of individuals and if you ever come across Kiwis (New Zealanders) in your travels, they may often be found travelling "the budget way" with a back pack, wanting to meet the locals and will be the first to offer you a beer and share a laugh.

New Zealand
 I live in Auckland, our biggest city at approx 1 1/2 million people. I am a city dweller, living in my own apartment where I have been for the last 12 years. Auckland is a "water based" city with dormant volcanoes dotted through the area. It is truly a beautiful city (we do have our share of traffic problems, etc, etc).

Thanks to google images for these snaps
Below is a snap from my apartment...

When Im sitting in my deck...this is what I see

Motorbike Riding.....

We have some of the most magnificent riding roads in the world ... just check out some of the photos through this blog, however, if you are after miles of straight roads that go on for miles, this is not the place to come.

For those of you who live in the States, to give you an idea, our main road through the country "State Highway One" would be like one of your minor roads. We do have a motorway system - all going in to our biggest cities, but the rest of the country is covered by single lanes on either side with passing lanes every now and then, and every type of scenery you can imagine. Our speed limit on the open road is 100km's, with usually a 10km "buffer"

Like most people on the planet I love where I live. :)

I have been fortunate in my life in that I have travelled a lot through many parts of the world (so much more to see tho) When I left school at 17, I did the kiwi thing and went on my "OE" (overseas experience), took my back pac and travelled through much of Europe with very little money and had those experiences that you can only have when you are that age, when you think you are indestructable and its all about the "now" had a couple of subsequent trips through the years - a road trip in the states, motorbike trip through Europe and a few small jaunts in between.

I am now way overdue to start planning my next big trip - and this one will be a biggie - Im planning to motorcycle through Canada, the USA and Mexico. Im getting excited just thinking about it!

The big question is how the hell am I going to pay for it??? :)

So. my challenge to you is to start googling your cyber friends locations and grow your knowledge about wehre everyone comes from.

 Cheers, Nick.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

East Cape Ride Report

What a magical 5 days!

5 days, about 1500km's and a hell of a lot of fun!

Day 1 - Auckland to Rotorua
Day 2 - Rotorua to Lottin Point, East Cape
Day 3 - Lottin Point to Gisborne
Day 4 - Gisborne to Napier
Day 5 - Napier to Auckland

Weather - Magic!!!

Route Map

View Larger Map

Day 1 - Auckland to Rotorua (via Waihi Beach)

On New Years Eve the weather started well and stayed that way the whole journey. After filling up on Flat Whites and Eggs Benedict (my favourite) four bikes set off from Ellerslie in Auckland. Three other bikes were meeting us in Rotorua as they all had to work during the day.

After an uneventful journey down the motorway we turned to SH2 and the traffic was horrendous. During this leg of the journey, Scottie (our ride captain) used his miraculous riding abilities to keep his rocket upright when the traffic in front of him braked suddenly. With a screech of tyres, burnt rubber and an impressive imprint on the road we continued.

After a hop and a skip we were at Waihi Beach for a drink stop with families out on the beach and blue sky all over. I love that beach! The next stop was Pats Pies in Bethlehem - world famous for award winning pies. After the best mince and cheese pie ever and another gallon of water we carried on towards Rotorua via the Pyes Pa Road. After a relaxing 250odd km day we arrived at a reasonable hour at our accomodation for the night in Rotorua. Time enough to head to the hot pools in the afternoon - yes, 30 degrees outside and we chose to sit in hot pools - oddly refreshing I have to say! We had booked in for the evening meal at a restaurant called Urbano which was walking distance to the motel. They kindly let us see in the New Year after a lovely meal and I then headed to bed at approximtaly 12.01.:)

Waihi Beach

Pats Pies Stop in Bethlehem just out of Tauranga

Ride Captain Scottie downing a cold one (it was bloody hot!)

Day 2 - Rotorua to Lottin Point Motel (middle of nowhere :)

After gatecrashing the Rydges Hotel for breakfast (and paying) we shot off down the road to head to the cape. Somehow we managd to lose one of the team who we met up again with that evening. Again, great weather and some great roads - less and less traffic. Through Opotiki there were lines of "boy racers" lined up heading home from the Rhythm and Vines Concert. I was quite pleased we werent heading north! The East Cape Scenery showed itself. I made a couple of quick photo stops and after one of these stops, heading along the coast, all of a sudden a Bee the size of a small house crashed in to my neck. Within a second my neck swelled up to the size of a soccer ball (well, not quite but it did hurt) I had visions of being airlifted off the cape for a bee sting. Luckily I am not allergic and Kathy one of our team had some magic paw paw ointmet that she rubbed in at our next stop and within an hour or so it had just about disappeared.  At another photo stop I managed to gently drop my bike on the gravel and at the same time one of the light bar light bulbs blew. I was quite pleased as I thought, well, theres my three things - bee sting, drop bike and light bulb. :)

Our lunch stop was Te Kaha, where I ate the biggest piece of fish I have ever had and soaked up the oil with the fries I had with it.

In the afternoon we found our accomodation way off the beaten track with a stunning outlook and no tv or cell phone coverage - Lottin Point - a great spot run by Bruno and his wife who are both in their 70's. About 300 km's today

Stop at Ohope Beach (I went for a quick swim - water was great!)

Heading in the the East Cape

I had just got my bee sting :)

Lottin Point - the middle of nowhere!

The Team

The Team with The Bikes

Day 3 - Seven Bikes - We left the motel and headed up the gravel drive, through the paddocks and back to the "main" road. At Te Araroa we stopped for some food and refuel. On leaving I pulled out following one of the other riders and as I was heading past Scottie  pulled out and then saw me in the corner of his eye - he came to a quick stop and had a little drop of his bike. Shit! Luckily both he and his lovely wife were ok, although his wife had hurt her ankle a little. Through the conversation one of the guys was checking out his bike and noticed a huge bald spot on his rer tyre were the rubber was gone (obviously from the incident on Day 1) This proved extremely frustrating as it was very dangerous and being halfway round the cape, not the best place for this to happen. Upon furhter discussion it was decided to "go slow" and try and get the bike to Gisborne.

At the stop at TikiTiki upon further inspection it was decided tht Scotties wife ride pillion with me and for one of the other guys to take their bag to minimise the weight on the wheel. The roads were fantastic fun and we stopped at both Tolaga and Tokamaaru Bay. We managed to make it to Gisborne and after a fiasco with the check in at the hotel settled in for a quiet night.

Te Araroa

Te Araroa

Tiki Tiki

Tokamaru Bay

Tokamaru Bay

Tolaga Bay

Day 4 - Gisborne to Napier - Five Bikes - A truly magical riding day! - Some of the most unbelievably fun riding roads. Big Bertha and me thoroughly enjoyed ourselves :) The "Shoreline Motel" was a hit - well priced, great loction, large clean rooms with a huge spa bath - what more could one ask for. Dinner was at "Lone Star" a short walk down the waterfront and after a few margaritas and a walk along the beach, time to go to bed.

On Our way from Gisborne to Napier


Gisborne to Napier

Heading in to Napier

Day 5 - Napier to Auckland - By this stage there were four bikes - We left early and enjoyed quiet roads. Another awesome riding day!

Brunch in Taupo

Yet again, the East Coast did not disappoint! Cheers all for a great few days!

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 ...