Saturday, December 31, 2011

South Island Day 5

Ever since I learnt ho to ride a motorbike I was hooked, I loved it.  The freedom, the camaraderie, that feeling of perfecting the perfect corner, the places I have seen and the people I have met.

Every now and then you have one of those days one a bike when it all comes together.  When you realise how incredibly lucky you to have found something that can send your spirit soaring.....

Day 5

This was a day I had looked to since I first planned this trip.  Haast to Wanaka.  One of the greatest scenic roads in the world, and pure bikers delight.

But first before I left Wanaka I decided to go on a scenic flight.  Not just any ordinary flight, but a flight in a 1941 Tiger Moth....with some acrobatics thrown in for good measure.  What a hoot, and what a stunning morning to fly over Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.  

After the flight I left Wanaka and headed to Hasst via the Haast highway. This magnificent, scenic road with changing views around every  sweeping corner.  From the glistening lakes of Hawea on the left and Wanaka to the right, to Mt Aspiring, through canopy covered roads, waterfalls, and fresh water rivers......It is a mind blowing, heart lifting, awe inspiring ride.  Seriously there is no other road like it in New Zealand, and it is by far my favourite.  Words will never truly explain the shear beauty that beholds you as you ride it.

It is a road that needs to be ridden twice, once to stop continually and take photos, and once just to ride it any true biker wants to ride it...passionately. (but with care)

When God made this road.......he wasnt thinking about camper vans or Four wheel drives......he was thinking about two wheels.

From Haast turned and headed up the unpopulated West Coast, stopping only at Knights point for a picture....the rest was just a blur of sweeping corners and empty roads, I was in biking nirvana. The time when it all comes together.  I stopped in Franz Joseph for fuel and continued on to Hokitika for the night.  A day of riding and adventure that I will never forget.

View Larger Map

View Larger Map

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

South Island Day 4

Wanaka- Queenstown - Wanaka,

And again.

The crown road from Wanaka to Queens town was only sealed in 2000, How I missed it the first time I came here I don't know, but i more than made up for it this trip going over the road times.  It is only 67kms...but oh man what an awesome 67 k ms.

I had decided I would spend two nights in Wanaka to give myself a rest off the bike (fat chance), but once I had ridden it it was two tempting not to do it again.

After the first trip I stopped in Queenstown for some brekkie, and ended up having breakfast with Jerome Kaino.  For those not familiar with out national sport of rugby, he was voted top all black of 2011.  I was quite chuffed but did my best to ad-void hero worship and hence embarrassed myself.  I did mange to give him a few tips on places to visit while he was here, and I now consider myself on a first name basis.

Anyway back to the "road'. It is as close to some thing from the Swiss Alps that you will find here.  Going down the Queenstown side there is a series of tight switch backs which will challenge many a biker.  The view is stunning from the top.  Quite simply it is a must do road weather on car or bike if you are ever in the country.

Following that I stopped at the toy museum and spent a hour or so wondering there.  In all honesty after the mornings riding old toys failed to capture my imagination.  I went down to the lake and spent some time reading and under a tree as the temperatures were in the high 20's.  Of course I found the local pub and spent the evening trying to convince the locals the Auckland is actually not that bad a place....I did not succeed though.

South Island Day 3

Christchurch - Wanaka.

Once I had ridden the boring straights out of Ashburton, I turned off towards Geraldine and Tekapo.  I knew from past experience what an amazing trip lay ahead of me.  Apart form some just incredible roads the scenery is gob smacking brilliant...

I travelled 440 kms this day, took me all day.  Around every opportunity is a classic pic.The pictures really don't do it justice.  But I am going to upload a heap of them I am sure they will tell the story better than I can write it.

It becomes very diffucult to describe in words what an awesome place this is to ride.
Just west of Tekapo

Southern Alps

Tekapo taken from My John..yes that is it's real color.

Mt Cook.  NZ's Highest Mountain

Lindis Pass

Kids at Play Wanaka.
The best though is yet to come.....

Here is a taste of Day 4

View Larger

South Island Day 2

Blenheim -Christchurch.

Christmas morning, and I awoke to a stunning day in the south.  I headed south towards Christchurch via Kaikoura.  I had the road all to myself, after all it was Christmas morning, and I presumed most bikers were busy looking under there tree for a new bike , or bike farkels.  Me, well, I had to satisfy myself by riding a empty, and fantastic highway.

This ride, which is probably overshadowed by the roads on the west coast is still a fantastic ride on a bike.  Big loping corners, little traffic and once on the coast spectacular scenery.  I suppose in reality it is only a taste of things to come, but it is a great welcome to this part of the country.

Leaving Blenheim it is a easy ride to you hit the coast and are greeted by the magical coastline.  I stopped by a rest stop and took of my boots and wondered briefly along the beach.  Just soaking in the freedom of being on two wheels, breathing the sea air, I would like to say "being at one with oneself", but I think that is a bit to hippie for me.

So crowded....sigh

I stopped again to take pics of seals basking in the morning sun, judging by the size of the fellas it looks as if there is no shortage of food around.

Kaikoura I stopped for coffee.  Kaikoura is famous for its whale watching and fresh cray fish, which you can normally purchase for road side huts.  I had visions of a freshly cooked Cray for Christmas lunch, but unfortunately nothing was open.

The ride form Kaikoura to Christchurch is another superb road, fast corners and just great riding.

I used my IPhone to guide me to Andrews place just South of Christchurch, it took me down some very back mm....actually tracks would be the more the term I would use.  I wondered where the hell I was, but i got there eventually.  There is a moral in this story some where.

Right road, wrong bike.

I got into Christchurch early afternoon and enjoyed a leisurely wine and later in the evening a outdoor bath (heated by a fire underneath), where i spent a ridiculous amount of time looking at the stars and adding cold water cause it kept getting a wee bit hot.

Andrews Homestead in CHCH
Here is a taste of day 3...