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one of the lost boys
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There and back again
A quote from Lord of the rings, the film being made on location in New Zealand. I needed some distraction over xmas new year and wanting to get away I couldn't get any further than NZ. I chose the right place to get distracted.
Many say the best parts of Europe are mirrored there, within a few hours riding you can pass through the Croatian coast, The peaks of the Alps, flat plains of Holland and into the Scottish highlands via Norway.
I had many hours with my head in my helmet and mind set to wander mode. Many thoughts went through but one stayed. I've no idea how I got to thinking of it but I imagined an infant god at play school and the teacher setting the task of making countries...the dialogue was something like this;

Teacher; That's a lovely looking place, what are those?

God; Mountains Miss
Teacher; That's an awe-full lot of mountains
God; I like mountains miss
Teacher; and these
God; Hills miss, I like hills too and lakes and waterfalls and sand dunes and rain forest and open plains and rivers.....

Teacher; That's a lot to pack into one small country, now we spoke about balance you cant have just good things you have to some bad, what are going to have?

God; I'll make some of the mountains into volcanoes, I'll fill bits of it with nasty irritating flies, I'll make it rain a lot and I'll stick so far away that it's hard to get to

Teacher; But being hard to get to will make it hard to leave

God; maybe Miss.....maybe


I flew from Dusseldorf via Dubai and Melbourne, with so many time zones I lost track of how long the journey was, a good thing really as I left Germany Saturday and arrived in Auckland on a Monday. I could have been kidnapped by aliens and raped, if I was they made me kneel as both my arse and knees were killing me.
After having a short sleep in a hostile in the middle of the city I started off to get groceries and last minute supplies, including trainers, tent and a bike.







Trademe is the NZ online portal for selling stuff, I had a look whilst in Germany but couldn't register until in NZ and I had a local IP address, there are probably easy ways around this but I aint too IT savvie. I found a BMW K75c that had been on the road since 1989 but only had 55k on the clock. I handed over 3000 dollars, Paul handed me the keys. A deed was signed passing the responsibility to me and that was that, insurance was optional and no log book. Different but easy.





I headed north on the East coast and far enough away from Auckland and tried as much as possible to keep to the coastal roads. I was slowly making progress up to Cape Reinga I had intended to go to the North Cape but I was advised I'd need a stronger bike than the 24 year old tourer, so I only rode on the tar....gravel and beach.
90 Mile beach named pre decimal and is infact just short of 90km. At low tide the beach is open to traffic. I got on to the beach via a river at Te Paki in the north and wanted to exit at the next river about 20km down the shore. No one told me the exits are not marked and there are loads of rivers. I ended up riding the full 90km. At first it was fun, the back would fishtail on the softer stuff and it was a new experience, after 20 minutes it was getting boring, very flat and nothing really changing apart from rivers cutting gulleys to the sea and in your path.
Tour coaches also use the beach to show off to the Asian tourists, I had a comfortable pace about 50mph but the coaches were catching up, I was in no hurry so indicated left and let the first one pass. I was peppered with sand to the point that it was painful, I accelerated and overtook again, no way I was going to sit behind them but I was now a bit too fast for my own comfort, too far from the water and the sand was soft and would have the arse end squirming there were also the streams running off to the sea and I had no idea if they were deep or not, I only had one tuppence ha'penny moment when one of the streams sent a wall of water over my head soaking everything, but I stayed upright. I'm sure the Asian tourists had a laugh though.













The roads are fantastic, the bends have an advisory speed limit indicating how tight they are, all junctions are marked, signs make sense and are kept to a minimum. One of the best roads on the North island was the highway 12 that cut through the Waipoua forest, I tried to get some photos but the jungle is so dense and the roads so twisty that photos can not do it justice. I managed to capture only 2 bends then the road twists out of view without a straight patch for 24 km. My video camera had eaten the batteries on the beach run and I was annoyed that I couldn't recharge them in time. Something I rectified later by installing an accessory socket.











I zig zagged over the north island covering the Coromandel peninsular then cut the through the middle to Matamata and Hobbiton. An expensive experience but something I wanted to do. Creating the set on a sheep farmers ground has made the owner a very rich man and I suppose if your given a golden goose you'd be foolish not to use it. The centre of North Island is very volcanic with power stations and tourist traps to view the geysers. The largest geyser is now enclosed in one of the traps and at £30 a ticket I didnt go in, I regret it now as other areas were too far off the beaten track to visit. I could only watch the steam rising from deep in the forests. There are plenty of hot springs you can get to and the locals will swim or bathe in the hot waters for free but I was still in the paranoid mindset and worried about about leaving the bike too long. Anything more than a few minutes and I was securing everything with "pacsafe" and cable locks.

I had spoken to loads of people who had visited, all saying the South island was far nicer than the North so I cut out large sections and made my way south, another thing I now regret. The North is as stunning as the south, there are more people and towns but compared to Europe it is still very sparsely populated and you can travel for hours without passing a large town.

Speeding is something I was also warned about, I passed a beaten up people carrier that was hardly roadworthy and through the windows I could see the speed camera, I was in traffic thankfully otherwise it would have had me. Over the "summer" the police had set a 0 tolerance and anything over was an expensive fine, 40% over and you lost your licence on the spot. The speed limit is 100kmh and travelling south I was overtaken by a Kawasaki tourer that left me for dust. At the next town the same bike was parked up, the owner eating a pie. I stopped for a chat and the bloke introduced himself then asked if I bought the bike from Paul. I had and burst out laughing "that used to be mine" small world even smaller island. He had a radar detector fitted so we rode together down to Wanganui. He was going down for the boxing day street races and I was heading day to see my mate in Wellington. I was torn between getting to Wellington or staying to watch Guy Martin race. The cross channel ferries were all overbooked so I thought it would be better to get to Wellington. The "Interislander" ferries have had a bit of bother recently,taking one of the boats out for refitting only to have it loose a propeller within a few days of going back into service, that was now in dock and the other having to brunt the full loads on every crossing.

On getting to Wellington and finding my mate he took me on a guided tour of the city and to the booking office of Interislander. I put my name down on the standby list and was told the next possible slot would be the midnight ferry the next day.

I slept through the crossing, by day it is supposedly magnificent cruising the "sounds" or fjords to Pickton.

Freedom camping is also a big no-no in NZ, every year hundreds are fined for camping were there are no amenities. not too bad if your in a camper van with everything on board but many backpackers have rented cars with beds in the back and they are easy pickings for the Department sheriffs, a biker with a tent is even easier to spot. Getting off the ferry at 03:30 and getting on the Queen Charlotte road was another mistake. The road is tightly twisting and undulates up into the hills and back down to the "sounds" coastline. By day it would have been fun but I was as knackered and worn out as the headlights that failed to illuminate much of the road.

I slept in my bivibag tucked into the corner of a carpark untill it was light enoug to enjoy the roads, and I did enjoy them, all the way to Nelson.










Again I zig zagged over the south Island, the backbone of the south dominated by mountains. The first pass I took me via Hanmar Springs to Kaikoura on the east then over "Arthurs pass back towards Greymouth, it was raining on the west so I only stayed a couple of nights then returned to the sunnier east. With southerly winds the clouds hit the mountains and dump their loads the east coast stays prominently dry and sunny, the southern trend was to stay for another week or so.

I had friends on the South island too that I wanted to catch up with and whilst in Dunedin they told me of the Baldwin road, the worlds steepest road. After riding round in a few very wet circles I found the road. It was chucking it down but there was no way I was walking up there, so I rode. On getting to the top more asian tourists were filming my exploits and I stopped to a round of applause. It wasnt that hard but I couldn't believe how steep it looked when I looked back down, and I still had to get down. Baldwin road ended at a junction with a busy main road, I hoped I had enough pad left on the brakes to stop me.

An inmate of the HUBB had offered to sell the bike for me, he was based in Christchurch so I deliberately detoured around the area planning on a longer stay when I met up with him. I also wanted a chance at Paragliding so headed for Queenstown, a large ski resort that offers adrenalin junkies their fix with or without snow. During the summer it is packed with thrill seekers wanting to get into air water or land for speed and thrills. At night a party atmosphere akin to Après-ski is everywhere.

I managed to get my fix with paragliding and joined up with a course run by Lisa and John of Queenstown Paragliding School | Queenstown Hang Gliding School | Paragliding & Hang Gliding | Extreme Air. I qualified and passed my PG01 /02 intermediate and will get my licence in a week or so from New Zealand Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association
The weather played me up for the last couple of weeks and wanting to complete the course meant adjusting my plans on a daily basis. I didnt get to see anything of Christchurch having to drop the bike with Nigel and then catch a connecting flight to Auckland and then almost direct onto the plane back home. I was going to postpone the flight home again but needs must and I have loads to do here before I can move on to the next item in the agenda.
Would I go again??.....I'd leave now given the chance.


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Nick
 

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Absolutely beautiful. Its a dream of mine to go there. Thank you for the report and pics. Enjoyed it very much.
 

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OVALTEENY !!!
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Fantastic Nick

Glad you're back safe

Beautiful pictures
 

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Absolutely stunning place , you got some really really nice arty pics Nick, you still have the eye:thumbup:
 

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Craigypops
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one of the lost boys
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Bikers paradise (when its not raining)

Arrowtown, an old gold rush village that has been preserved close to Queenstown South Island

Arrowtown, old prospector cottages

Arrowtown

Arrowtown

Cardrona Pass, between Wanaka and Queenstown

Cardrona Pass, between Wanaka and Queenstown

Many farms have boots or shoes strung up from the season helpers with "Working Tourist visa". This was a horse farm, the helpers being girls (",)

On the West coast between Haast and Hokatika, this is one tree "Hanging On To Life"

More boring roads on the West coast towards Haast

Sunset at Hokatika

Hokatika Blue Gorge



On route to Franz Joseph and Fox glacier parks

Launch site at Coronet Peak, Queenstown

Flight prep

Land site at "Flight park" Arrowtown


Night view from Coronet peak with the Southern Cross. The paragliding club house is up there and after a days theory I decided to camp....and froze.

Glenorchy

 
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