Monday, September 13, 2010

My Top Five

Every motorcyclist will have there favourite roads.  I  am no exception.  In fact I have many. But over the last few years their have been some which have become my favourites for one reason or another.  I have not ridden every road there is to ride in NZ, but I have done my fair share of miles.   So here is a list of my top five.   There will be some glaring misses, and that is simply because I probably haven't ridden that road yet.   No doubt this list will change and be updated in the years to come, but for the mean time here they are.

Number 5.  Lindis Pass South Island SH 8

This fantastic road in the heart of central Otago is one that I thoroughly enjoyed riding, not only for the sweeping corners, undulations, and  lack of traffic,  but for the sparseness and at time barrenness of the country side.   This area seems to have it's own micro climate and as such offers a different type of scenery than what you encounter in other parts of the South Island.   At the northern end you encounter Omarama, at the southern end the Lindis pass ends at a small town called Tarras.  If you are planning a South Island trip, I highly recommend adding this road to your plans.

Number 4. Nelson to Punakaki ( Buller Gorge)

Taking SH6 through Murchision, and turning left just before Westport.  This scenic and stunning road in the north of the South Island is a not to be missed. Leaving Nelson you encounter Vineyard after vineyard, the temptation to stop and sample the fruits of the vine are put on hold when you realize what lies ahead of you.  One of the best rides in the country.  How I envy people who live here ( Although the weather can be a bit more temperamental than what us jaffas prefer)   If you get this road on a good day it is simply magic.  Riding along the Buller gorge I wonder how the hell they built it with out the modern technologyy of today.   Murchision is also a great little town, we stayed in a little motel called The Kiwi Motel, nothing like waking up to the sounds of tuis!  This road was my first taste of riding in the South Island, and what a welcome it presents.  It is mearly a taste of what lies ahead. There is a temptation when riding roads like this to .....well hammer it a bit, but if you do you will miss some great scenery, so take your time and enjoy it. It is well worth  the extra time.

                                          Peak Hour Murchision! Yah just gotta love it!

Number 3   Napier-Gisborne-Eastcape to Whakatana

What can I say about this, Okay it is probably a bit much toi take in one day, But I have ridden this trip a couple of times and am never disappointed  at all.  Leaving Napier , You follow the coastline for much of the way. The blacksand beachs as you leave Napier are a great sight, as the Pacific ocean rolls in.   Passing Lake Tutira, the road winds and undulates and is only a taste of what lies ahead.  Passing Wairoa the road  flows and it is easy to to inadvertantly incrase your speed. One thing about this road is that I have never seen a revenue gather on it yet!

The 350 odd kms from Gisbourne around the cape, is a challenging and demanding ride. I felt as if all I did was lean left -lean right-lean left, lean right...just never ends. Not that I was complaing. Loved every Km of it. Not many places to stop along here. Best to have a big feed  and be sure you fuel up in Tolaga Bay.  As you start along the coast the scenery is stunning, and to make matters better their is hardly a person or other vehicle to be seen untill you get nearer to Opotiki.  Mentallly I found it tiring, you need to concentrate the whole way, ( goes with out saying really).   Still it coimes in at number three as one of my favourites.

Number 2. The Coro Loop.

What can be said that has not all ready been said about this great ride. Thames is only a short jaunt from Auckland, And this ride can easily be done in a day.  I know done it many times. Leaving Thames the pohutkawa lined 25 heading north is a s beautiful as you will get. A mixture of very tighht and narrow road. I always ride this with caution. Never been one to take a dip in the Firth of Thames fuuly clad in motorbike gear, and I am sure the bike is not ken only.  You you muck it up throgh here that is exactly what would happen.

Leaving Coromandel the road opens up a great deal, and their are some fantastic sweeping corners and lopeing bends.  Passing Whitianga and Tairua it can become a very fast ride if one chooses todo so. Unfortunalty traffic can be heavy at certain times of the year, with lots of baot towing, and caravan towing cars.  Do it on a week day and the roads are all yours.   This road is gaurenteed to make you a happy motorcyclist.

NUMBER 1 Haast To Wanaka.

 Well what can I say. Perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was the scenery, perhaps the fact we had been on the bike for 8 days straight and I was feeling very much at home. I am not sure what it was, but I loved this road, by far the best, and most fun I have ever had on a bike.   In fact when I got to Wanaka I was tempted to turn around and do it all again. It was that good.

                                          Lake Hawera.

Fantastic scenery, mountains mirrored on the pristine fresh water lakes, fast sweeping bends on excellent condition roads, little traffic, and the sun beating down. Around every corner breathtaking postcard like scenery that left your mouth watering . Surly we live in the worlds most beautiful country. If you are any doubt just ride this road. It will leave you speechless, and grinning from ear to ear!!!!

Leaving Haast and travelling over the Haast pass, you pass gorgeous forest and rivers, this part of the road is more twisty, before you start riding along Lake Wanaka, and you encounter fantastic sweeping bends , and just when you think it can not get any better you encounter Lake Hawera and you do it all again.
                                        Photograph of one of the glacier rivers near Hokitika.

This road is five stars for would be mad not to put it on your bucket list!

Regardless of the knockers amongst us in this country some things other parts of the world just can not hold a candle to.  New Zealand is surely one of the best countries in the world to own a bike. No Matter what city you live in , you are only minutes away from great roads and majestic scenery.

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