A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: MKaye

HANMER SPRINGS to MOANA to CHRISTCHURCH : 10 & 11th APRIL

Lewis Pass, Arthur's Pass and that's all for now !

Yesterday was a rather leisurely start, being Sunday we had a sleep in and then ventured over to The Stag Restaurant for a very generous buffet breakfast. On the road a bit later it was rather crisp but lovely and sunny.
Somewhere over Lewis Pass we stopped for a photo session.
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Aitch loves to take a photo of his bike, sometimes with Jo as well. This one was rather precariously balanced on the edge - all in the name of a good pic.
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Lewis Pass was very chilly and our fingers were frozen by the time we reached Reefton for morning tea at the Bakery. A favourite biker stop, we had a chat with quite few riders some who were doing the Lewis Pass/Arthur's Pass loop from Christchurch.

We rolled into Moana mid afternoon and went into town for a look. It's a really quaint little village overlooking Lake Brunner. 274B9EBC07F9CC167D2874389DD5D9B8.jpgIMG_0722__1024x683_.jpg

Back at our Motel at Lake Brunner Golf Course we relaxed and enjoyed the Pinot Noir Steve and I purchased at the Brancott Estate winery.
This one was very good and only available at the Cellar Door. Great way to celebrate our journey.
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Entertained by the Weka feeding her chick it was a very relaxing afternoon.
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The Pub has a courtesy bus so we were transported back into town for dinner at the local pub.

Today (Monday 11th April) is our last day.
We started with the last of our Muesli outside overlooking the very pretty golf course.
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The ride through Arthur's Pass was spectacular, a great way to finish our trip.
First stop was overlooking the Viaduct - currently with road works in progress.
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And the road just winds up into the mountains - motorcycle heaven.
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We were "invaded" by some German motorcyclists on a tour - loved the helmet but I am not quite sure if it's legal !
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We stopped to Hug a Mug at the Arthurs Pass café, across the road was the Wobbly Kea café - I think this little girl has had a drink or two in her time -
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Around the corner the scenery was stunning again - huge rocky mountains over picturesque valleys - just stunning to ride through.
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Here come's Aitch & Jo after another one of "those" photo stops -
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We stopped at a lake just to have a look and Steve got followed by some old "ducks" - his fan club !!
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Final stop was at the Kura Tawhiti Stones.
They are Sculpture in Stone - Natural outcrops of soft limestone.
Absolutely stunning.
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Then we rode into Christchurch to drop our bikes back and make our way to the Airport Hotel for the night.
Of course now we have to re-pack and get all that gear back into suit-cases, not a lot of fun.

It has been a fantastic trip full of brilliant roads and spectacular scenery.

That's all for now.

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Posted by MKaye 00:56 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

PICTON to HANMER SPRINGS : 8th & 9th APRIL 2016

Marlborough Wine Region !!

Early morning sunshine in the harbour - great start to the day.
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The Interislander - on yet another voyage across to Wellington
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When in Marlborough one must take note of this sign and adhere !!!
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Steve and I decided a tour of Marlborough Wineries was an absolute must !
Photos from here are taken by my IPhone so apologies for the quality - there is a reason.
We visited Wither Hills and tasted some really great wines and then moved on to Brancott Estate - I have been looking forward to visiting this Winery since we started planning our trip. So we stopped in the car park and there was the courtesy bus to take us up to the Heritage/Restaurant Centre. I got so excited I totally forgot to get my camera.
There are vineyards for miles - this was taken from our lunch table overlooking the vineyard.
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And a truly wonderful experience it was too - Delicious Lunch and a very attentive waiter who insisted we kept tasting until we decided exactly which one we would like to enjoy with our lunch - who are we to argue ??
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They even have a book with photos of all the pet dogs from the local wineries - and of course there was a West Highland Terrier just like our Maggie at home.
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Now after lunch and quite a few wine tastings perhaps we should test our alcohol level - Steve went first !
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and the reading was - oh dear !!!! Here we are at a Winery and the only way home is on the bikes (my reading was exactly the same)
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Luckily for us we made it without being apprehended, that was pure luck, we saw 3 police cars on the way home !

Back in the Picton harbour there are quite a few luxury boats - perhaps they belong to Winery owners.
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Today we left Picton in sunshine but quite chilly conditions. Back through Blenheim to Kekerengu where we stopped and enjoyed Morning Tea on the terrace overlooking the Sea.
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Aitch went wandering around looking for the perfect photo -
Nearly starred in it himself -
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Spot the Aussies -
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Further along we stopped to check out the Seals sunbaking -
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And the famous Nins Bin where the aroma of fresh crayfish was overwhelming - I really wish I was hungry enough to sample one - they looked delicious.
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Renovators delight spotted on the edge of the railway line which incidentally runs along the coast between road and sea.
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Fuel at Kaikorea and then up into the Amuri Range we went.
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The road winds on through the hills - stunning scenery and a great riding road.
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A very pretty view from the bridge over Waiau River at the Thrillseekers Canyon -
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We will park those bikes almost anywhere so we can get the photos-
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We arrived at Hanmer Springs mid afternoon in time for a walk around the village (some great shops if only I had more Pannier space!)
The afternoon light was stunning on the Autumn leaves.
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Dinner at The Stag Restaurant (with a Wild Boar head mounted on the wall behind us) and that is it for today.

Posted by MKaye 01:48 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

NAPIER to MARTINBOROUGH to PICTON : 6th to 7th APRIL 2016

Longest place name in the world and the best B&B

The sun was shining as we rode out of Napier, would have loved more time here, this is an interesting City.
We diverted on the Old Coach Road to Porangahua and on to the Longest Place name in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records.
The road was long and winding (I think that's a song!!) until we came across "it"
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Here's Aitch doing a Panoramic shot to get it all in -
Here goes - hope my spelling is correct :-
Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu
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and there is absolutely nothing there except a sign - ridiculous.
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Next stop was Wimbledon - The Tavern had just opened and was ready for business - not exactly rush hour !
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We continued on through the Puketoi Range - quiet back road with some loose gravel on the corners and a smelly sheep truck or two just to keep our senses "alert"
I am quite fascinated by the ridges on the hillside where the sheep and cattle graze -
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I checked this out later at the bar with the "local" who told me the ridges are caused by sheep continuously walking across the hillside making tracks and eventually causing a ridge - I am not convinced yet!

We arrived at our B & B mid afternoon (Aitch & Jo had stopped at the Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre)
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The Martinborough Connection B&B - just gorgeous - and our hostess Barbara was charming.
We settled in and discovered we have a lovely big lounge with open fire, Cheese Biscuits & Wine all included. What more could we ask for ?
Steve and I walked into the town centre, sat on the corner, sampled a local wine or two and just relaxed watching the world go by.

Later we decided to get Fush & Chups take away and relaxed back in our comfortable lounge. So nice are being on the road for a while.

This morning (7th April) we were treated to an unbelievable spread for breakfast, all inclusive. I have to say this is the best value I have ever had at a B & B (and she charged less than originally quoted)

Leaving in beautiful sunshine this morning we rode over the Rimutaka Crossing. As Australians we tend to forget that New Zealand also fought in the First World War. 30 to 35,000 Infantrymen undertook the Rimutaka March across this valley destined to serve on the Western Front with the NZ division. This would have been in very harsh conditions and worst was to come.
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Its a bad photo (of a photo) but you can see the row on soldiers like ants crossing the hillside.
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Today its a sealed very smooth bitumen road winding its way around the cliff edge. Great riding if you don't get stuck behind Grandpa like we did.

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We arrived at Wellington in time for a discovery tour of the Retail Sector (that's me of course with Steve in tow) and a photographic journey around the harbour (Aitch & Jo)
Then we boarded the Interislander for our crossing back to Picton where we are staying for 2 nights.

Posted by MKaye 01:48 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

GISBORNE to NAPIER : 5th APRIL 2016

Wet and slippery ride !

It rained and rained and bucketed down overnight!!!! Lucky for us it cleared this morning.
We left Gisborne in light rain with fingers crossed for sunshine down the road.
Our ride today was through Tiniroto to Wairoa, and then on to Napier. Brilliant road on a sunny day this would be a spectacular ride.
The countryside is amazing, we were able to stop and get a few pics of the view.
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Riding on through drizzly rain and on slippery roads was challenging but fun.

Another stop found a cow who thinks the grass is greener on the otherside - of course it is !!
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The Native Feather Grass is looking rather amazing today -
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Steve waiting patiently on the side of the road -
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This road would be amazing on a sunny day!

We arrived at Napier early afternoon in time for a walk around.
Napier was rebuilt after an earthquake in 1931. Art Deco was in fashion at the time and so the City Centre is reminiscent of this era.
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And the odd Bronze Statue in the Mall -
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Wall Murals on the foreshore - great artwork - shame its actually on the toilet !
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And tonight we get to sample Hawkes Bay Wines - well when in the region this is what you have to do!!!

Posted by MKaye 22:45 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

OPOTOKI to GISBORNE : 4th APRIL 2016

Gorgeous Gorge !!

There is 2 ways to do this - Aitch & Jo decided to do the long way around the coast, we chose the Waieoka Gorge version.
First we decided to go through Opotoki and have a look at the Ocean just in case the sun had disappeared by the time we got to Gisborne.
Good idea as that is exactly what happened !

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The Waieoka Gorge road is fantastic, long sweeping bends following the Waieoka River alongside towering cliffs covered with Silver fern trees.
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First stop was at the Historic Tauranga Bridge - a single span harp suspension bridge spanning 60 metres is one of only two remaining in New Zealand. Currently under renovation.
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And a great place to dry your laundry !!
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Steve found a Silver Fern -
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We passed a couple of guys on their way down - here's what was in their trailer - "Oh Deer" !!!
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Next we came across the Manganuku Bridge and camping area.
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Soon after the road starts to climb out of the gorge and wind its way up over Traffords Hill, at 725metres the high point in the trip.
Fabulous road, nice sweeping bends with very dramatic scenery.

We were able to stop just over the top for a photo - stunning !
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At Matawai we turned toward Motu, small road winding through farmland.
I am quite fascinated by the river flowing through the farm land, it looks like the land just collapsed and made a bed for the river !
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We found what remains of this old bridge on what was previously the Gisborne to Auckland Rail Line. Construction commenced n 1900 with a vision to open up the isolated East Coast. Not successful the bridge is now a stark reminder of what could have been
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Encountering dirt roads we had to turn back to the main road to Gisborne. (Bikes are not insured for off road use - unfortunately !)
The country is so stunning I had to keep taking photos (I grew up on a farm and so this countryside is interesting to me !)
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We arrived in Gisborne in time for lunch and a walk around town to check out the statues.

This is the point where Nick Young spotted land on 7th October 1769. The sighting was claimed by Captain James Cook.
Ahoy - I see land !

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Captain Cook sailed three Global Voyages of the world. 1768-71, 1772-75 & 1776-79. The map of the world was now substantially complete.
On landing here in Oct 1769 the traditional greeting between himself and the Maori chief was misunderstood and the Maori were killed, not surprising if it was the Haka !!
Due to this unfortunate event the ship then sailed with no provisions and this bay became known as Poverty Bay.
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There are a few quite dramatic Murals around town - discovered on our afternoon walk.
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Aitch and Jo have arrived and we are going to compare notes over dinner and a glass of red of course - it is New Zealand after all !!

Tomorrow we leave for Hawkes Bay.

Posted by MKaye 22:15 Archived in New Zealand Comments (1)

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