Saturday morning rolled around and I set about packing my bag, and readying the bike. I had of course had no idea where I was actually going to go. I had a friend in Feilding that I had not seen for about ten years, so I thought that would be a good start. The more I thought about it the better idea it seemed as it would give me the Sunday to explore around the Wairarapa, something I had been wanting to do for some time.
So 8.00am Saturday I took off, hoping to beat as much of the long weekend traffic as possible. To be fair it wasn't too bad. I chose to run down SH1 before turning off towards Otorohanga then Te Kuiti, where I stopped at Boscos Cafe. A delightful cafe that I would recommend to any one travelling through.
|In front of the mountain.|
I turned off at 8 mile junction towards Taumarunui. I love this piece of road. Perhaps it is because every time I have ridden it the weather has been great. The condition of the road is good (although there are few sunken bits and pot hole just out of town). I continued south and decided to take National Park through Ohakune-a road that I had not ridden, but what a blast.
At this point I should mention, the men in blue were supposed to be everywhere, according to the ad campaign anyway. But to this point I had not seen any. It is a beautiful ride through here as many other bikers will admit to. The mountain on a fine day is spectacular.
I rejoined SHW1 at Waiouru and stopped briefly for a drink. I got chatting to a guy on a TL1000 who by chance was also heading to Feilding. So he tagged in behind me, as I had the radar detector, and we all know how the boys in blue love SHW1. We turned off just after Taihape and took 54 through to Feilding. My travelling companion departed down a side road before we got there, but it had been nice to have some company, albeit briefly.
I arrived at my mate Rodney's just after 3, and discovered that his house is just over the road from Manfield raceway, and what would you know there was a bike track day going on. So we had a natter then wandered over to have a look at the bikes-another first for me as I had never been to Manfield before.
A great evening out and a great carvery at the Rangitike Club, and I was buggered . So off to bed. Still had no idea where I was going to go on Sunday, but you soon realise on a bike these things have a way of sorting themselves out.
Got up early Sunday morning and we headed down to Palmerston North to have a look at Rodney's business, "Streetwise coffee" on Rangitike Street. And what great coffee it is too. I highly recommend a stop here if passing through, you won't be disappointed. And I am not just saying that because my mate owns it!
I said my goodbyes and headed towards Woodville. I had decided I would try to explore some of the beautiful coast, I certainly don't get the opportunity to come down this way often so I wanted to make the most of it.
|The church at Makuri, I saw this, a school, and about three houses!|
I turned south at Woodville passing the famous TUI brewery at Mangatainoka, then turned inland at Pahiatua. I was really out on back country roads now, and it seemed I had the whole countryside to myself. For a whole hour I never saw another car or person. I stopped in Makuri and took a few photos, and listened to the sound of native birds. I was thoroughly enjoying myself, and the isolation only seemed to add to my enjoyment. The road condition deteriorates the further towards the coast you go, and the storms of recent months had certainly taken a toll on the roads.
I stopped at Pongaroa and met a couple of fellows on Harleys. They were from Masterton and seemed somewhat surprised to discover I was from Auckland. They did say they don't seem to get 'My type" down here very often! I am not exactly sure what my type is.....but I digress.
|The worlds largest place name. ( don't ask me to pronounce it)!|
They recommended the Porangahau Pub as my next stop. They were headed there so I could meet them for lunch. Seemed like a good idea. Had a great ride there and passed the worlds longest place name. It is amazing what little surprises this country throws up at you when you get off the beaten track.
Arriving at Porangahau pub, I was greeted by the smiling lads on their Harleys. I joined them for lunch and we had a great yak. It seems I was an okay lad because I was on a Triumph. I had a great beef burger then headed off to look at the beach. What a fantastic place this is, hardly anyone around with a fantastic beach that went for miles.
|The Harley boys.|
|A genuine local, and a nice fella to boot!|
|At the beach, five minutes drive from the pub. Spectacular.|
I continued on, leaving the Harley boys to themselves and headed towards Waipukurau where I refuelled and decided to take HWY 50 into Napier for the night. Another great ride, that is well worth taking, just to get off SH2. There are a couple of long straights but some great sweeping corners and bends. I arrived in Napier just after five, and even though I had only done 350kms for the day it felt like a lot more.
I bought a few beers and some food from the supermarket and settled in for a relaxing night. It had been a great day and I had accomplished some of what I had wanted to do and see, very satisfying indeed.
For some unknown reason the person who was in the room before me had set the alarm for 6.15am and when it went off it gave me a hell of a shock. Still I was up now so decided to head home. I had the Napier -Taupo road all to myself and barrelled along at a good brisk pace. The temperature dropped the closer I got to Taupo and I encountered some heavy fog, which slowed me down and made me wish I had brought my winter gloves. It is moments like these that I am glad I went to the bother of installing heated hand grips on the bike. Even then the tips of my fingers were still cold by the time I arrived in Taupo.
I had a look at the new bypass, then continued up SHW1, turning off towards Te Kuiti. After Te Kuiti I contined on the same route I had taken on my journey south. I wanted to get back to Auckland in the early afternoon, as I had a few things that needed to be done. I arrived just after one.
I had a great weekend, rode on roads I had not done before, met some great people, and saw some sights that I had never seen before. A great weekend on the bike, the weather was brilliant the whole weekend. What more could a man ask for!
The Wairarapa is a great place to explore if you haven't seen much of it before. But take your time there is a lot to take in, but it is worth it.