Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Coromandel for dinner and Colville for Breakfast


We set off late afternoon from Auckland and we do a double take just before the Thames turnoff.
The scene reminds us of state border crossings in Mexico 2012.



The police call us over.
What's up? Bailiffs?

"Please may I see your drivers' licence?"
My driver hands his over.

I ask "Why are the police here, today?"
Seven motorcyclists have died on these road in the last two weeks. Several did not have motorcycle drivers licences. Hence this check.

The other reason is for Bailiffs to check for outstanding fines. My guess is that if you can't pay up you get to forfeit your vehicle.



 Late afternoon sky over Long Bay, Coromandel.
 We stay at the Mountain View B&B with Ursula and dine at Peppertree. A reminder of our ride in the USAwhere meals of ribs and baked potatoes were generous.

 We head north to Colville for breakfast.
Fibrolite holiday homes face the sea.
 Tree ferns, woolsheds, lush green paddocks and then...
 back to the coast.



The breakfast at Green Snapper Cafe was wonderful.
A keen wannabe rider in Colville.


Then homeward bound, safely escaping rain from the threatening storm clouds


 All down the coast people are out fishing from the beaches. Gas bottles and barbecues ready.

We stop at the Bugger cafe and chat with John Gourley who has transformed the Pipiroa cafe into a new thing.


  We ride north to Miranda and the bird filled beaches.



And home.
79,977km in 2 ½ years
Where to next???

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Round trip - Queenstown to Milford Sound and Bluff

One month ago we were cruising into Milford sound on Celebrity Solstice.
It was a day just like this…
Today we arrived by motorcycle from Queenstown.

This ride is one of the best in the world.
In encompasses components of the highlights of all our rides.
I am using my iPhone as a camera today.
Mitre Peak at the head of Milford Sound.

Flight check before departure at 8.00am...
 The sun came out as we rode up the Eglington Valley.
 The Homer tunnel entrance in the rocky Darran mountain range.
We wait for the lights to change to green and ride down the steep grade.
The last time we rode through here was only my fifth day riding pillion. Thank goodness someone has swept the loose gravel off the tunnel road surface since the last time we were here.
 An avalanche shelter protects the portal on the west end of the Homer tunnel.
 The spectacular Cleddau Valey welcomes us.





  The Hollyford river in the foreground.
The Routeburn track traverses the mountain face in the distance.

Meadows along the road back to Te Anau.

 We stayed overnight at Manapouri and set off next day for Queenstown via Tuatapere, Bluff, Gore, Raes Junction,  Central Otago and home to Queenstown.
 We stopped at the Yesteryear cafe in Tuatapere. We love this cafe.
Jim Reeves welcomes us with 'Roses are red my love...'
Helen has collected together a marvellous trove of domestic treasures that remind me of my childhood. So do the food goodies in the cabinet.
We leave with raspberry, apricot, blackcurrant jam that Helen has made from fresh fruit using Aunt Daisy's recipes.




Then to Bluff and the southern end of state highway 1. (46' 36" 54sec south  168'21'25 sec East).
We have motorcycled to the end of the road in Argentina, Australia and New Zealand.  The only other southernmost destination in the Southern hemisphere for us to ride to is in South Africa.


We head north and stop for Dick to buy some fresh Bluff oysters.
The Foveaux Strait Bluff oyster season opened last week.
His happiness is complete.

We stop at Hubbers emporium in Invercargill and then ride home to Queenstown
the long way round.