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PUNAKAIKI to TAKAKA - 29th MARCH 2016

Sunrise, Apples & Orchards, fantastic twisty roads.

Sunrise this morning was a lovely start to the day.
Punakaiki Beach was amazing, pink sky, blue sea and black sand. Nothing like our Aussie Beaches.
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The Tavern and our room - drenched in early morning light.
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It was a crisp start to the day but great riding along the West Coast, its like the Great Ocean Road (Vic - Australia) but better road, no rocks, great views and we were lucky there was very little traffic.
The thing we have noted is how courteous most drivers are, they pull over to the left and give us room to pass with ease - rarely does that happen in Australia.
Our first photo stop was at Kilkenny Lookout on the Buller Pass, great views of the Gorge.
Part of the road has been sculpted out of the cliff edge.
Here comes Harold -
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The other thing we have noted is the Road Kill - Possums - lots of them. This poor little fellow barely made it on to the road this morning, died with a smile on his face - never saw it coming !!
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Next stop was the Old Ghost Road Suspension Bridge at Lyell which leads to New Zealands longest continuous singletrack purpose-built for mountain bikers and trampers. The 85km long Old Ghost Road provides access to wilderness Outdoor lovers dream about. Harold was drooling at the thought of being able to ride it on his Mountain Bike. Not appropriate at all for us in our Motorbike gear though.
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Never trust Jo when on a Suspension Bridge - she loves to rock them !!
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Next stop was at the Buller Gorge Swing Bridge - $10 to walk over and explore the otherside - not for us today in bike gear.
We did find a lovely little 1956 Ford Zephyr called Susie Darlin in the Car Park.
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We stopped a bit further along at Murchison for Lunch at the Beechwoods bakery, Fuel and continued riding.
Before we knew it we were riding through Apple and Pear Orchards - you could literally smell the apples. Lovely sunny day too !

Next stop was a little picnic area where the Autumn leaves were lovely.
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Then on through the Arthur Range toward Takaka, great riding on long sweeping bends, tightening up they became challenging twisties much to our delight. Luckily there was not much traffic to contend with and so we all had a very good time, stopping at the Ngarua Caves turnoff for a break and look out toward the Tasman Sea.
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Back down the range on long sweeping bends into Takaka completed a fantastic day on the road filled with all things Motorcyclists love.

Takaka has been very entertaining, rather Nimbin like with hippies in the street, rather "strange" smells wafting out of a camper van parked in the main street, local park full of zen like people congregating and the supermarket was an experience in itself.

We decided on the Dangerous Kitchen for dinner, rather hippie looking but the Pizza aroma wafting into the street won us over.
It was a great decision, best pizza and free entertainment thrown in Local group of hippie types sharing a joint or two on the bench out front, bare feet, dreadlocks, one guy in a towel with a hole in it worn as a shirt - you had to be there for that one! Hanging out helping themselves to lots of water, finally they shared one pizza. Then collected all their mobiles etc they had been charging and went on their way. Steve thinks they are the local young professionals in disguise......

Posted by MKaye 00:34 Archived in New Zealand

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Excellent photos and a great account of another fantastic day on the South Island of NZ. Aitch loved Takaka Hill😄

by aitchnjo

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