Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Day 1: The start of Team Kiwi's ride from Bluff, NZ to London, UK 2019

In the beginning...
From Stirling Point, Bluff
The southern-most tip of the South Island, NZ

Here is a map of our tentative  Proposed plan.  
It is essential to have a plan but we know that anything can happen to cause changes. 
We leave NZ for Tokyo on 8 May and ride in Japan for two weeks, then go by ferry to South Korea. We'll ride there for a week and then take a ferry to Vladivostok and ride north west.

But first we will be riding north to Auckland in the days following Easter.  
Along the way we are gathering memories of this beautiful country.
The lakes, the mountains, the food, the people.

We are blessed. 

Mitre Peak, Milford Sound.    Fiordland National Park
Te Wahipounamu-South West New Zealand World heritage area

Lake Hauroko, Fiordland National Park.

Lake Monowai, Fiordland National park.

At Lake Manapouri.
Blue cod for me and a beer for my driver

Autumn is on its way,

and so are we.

Monday, 31 December 2018

Team Kiwi heads home.

Another great day for a ride, 
Riding in glorious sunshine
The Queen Charlotte Track is quiet in the early morning.

We ride through Reader country, Havelock
Through the Pelorus valley to the Foresters Cafe at the Rai
To Nelson for our obligatory stop at the Suter Gallery, a gem of a gallery with a great cafe.

South to Murchison and  Beeches Cafe, another of our favourites 
Through the Lewis Pass. 
The majesty of the scenery in the Southern Alps always blows us away.

So does the extent of the road works
‘They’ mightn’t be fixing your favourite piece of road but 
‘They’ are busy  everywhere else. 

Foresters are busy milling pine forests in the Rai, Golden Downs, and lots of other places,
There is a mountain of logs at Shakespeare Bay in Picton 
Dwarfing the huge cruise liner Celebrity Solstice berthed there

All is quiet in Hanmer
It’s almost as if everywhere is on ‘pause’
Waiting for the holiday influx.

Next morning we choose the inland southern scenic route
With that we choose gusting winds
Windwhistle is aptly named.

Another wonderful family welcome and sumptuous lunch with Jude and Joe
Gardens to explore, raspberries galore
Reminiscing to be done

On our way through lupins along the roads, turquoise lakes, clouds getting lower...
We hesitate at Omarama at 7pm 
Our first rain, its Dicks birthday

We decide to stop for the night, 
and then the weather begins to clear.
Too late we are committed 

Next morning we ride off 
It was  around 10° most of the way to Queenstown
As it was when we set off two weeks ago.

Grove Arm, looking across to Outward Bound at Anakiwa. 
I am  enjoying challenges of the long rides because of my Outward Bound Course  in 2004 

Pelorus Sound from near Cullens Point on the Mahakipawa Rd.

The tide will be in again soon.

The Rutherford-Pickering memorial (a repurposed memorial - it was originally the memorial to those lost when the Ronga sank of Cape Campbell in 1906). Ernest Rutherford and William Pickerin(NASA, JPL) went to Havelock School and so did our family.
Behind it is the Havelock War memorial bearing the names of  two Readers who died in WW1. That’s where our father and other returned servicemen marched for ANZAC Day. I found Anzac services very somber affairs when I was young. No celebration involved, no glorification - just awful melancholy.

Each time we ride to Nelson we stop at the Foresters Cafe just the Rai Valley Township where there used to be a forestry workers camp.
Always a lovely welcome, good coffee and a scone.

The Suter Gallery in Nelson beckons, too.
First lunch in the Cafe and then a look at the marvellous  Steve Fullmer  retrospective ceramic exhibition.
Oh, and a little shopping.


Road works, orange cones throughout the country....

Over the Lewis Pass to Canterbury and an overnight stop at Hanmer.

To Pleasant point and Jude and Joes amazing gardens.

Lake Tekapo, lupins and some clouds.

Lake Pukaki.

And a happy birthday to my driver.

Home again tomorrow.

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Team Kiwi wanders south from Auckland to Wellington

After three full days in Auckland catching up with friends and a memorable afternoon tea at Pt Chevalier with Mary and friends, it was time
Time to head home
South via Paeroa, Hubbard territory

To Waihi Beach for lunch with cousin Marie, and on to cousin Brian in Ohope.
Arriving just as the fisherman arrived home with his bag filled with flounder, my favourite.
Fresh fish for dinner and dawn-caught flounder for breakfast...

Then south through the Waioeka Gorge,
We were lucky because flooding had closed the road the day before.
For us the sun was shining, the road was cleared, hallelujah.

Through myriad types of landscapes
Farm scapes
Seas scapes and threatening cloud scapes

To Masterton for the night
An early start, over the Remutakas (the new road signs spell it this way)
Over the Hayward Hill to cousin Margaret and Jim at Titahi Bay

To Karori to catch up with Team Kiwi originals Shirl (Ken was away fishing)
Down the hill, past the Beehive the NZ seat of government
To the InterIslander Ferry terminal and another calm Cook Strait crossing

Pimms to follow a marvellous Sri Lankan Dilmah afternoon tea with Mary and friends - most of whom have been blessed to have been on food tours to Sri Lanka with Mary at some time. 

Brian, the fisherman. It doesn’t get fresher than this. Turmeric and lime fish fillets prepared by Donna. The Lauraine Jacobs recipe is a treat. 

Waioeka Gorge, slow, winding road, gorgeous views. 
Lovely stop at Matawai for coffee. EVehicle charging available here. 
A fascinating conversation about what’s happening in the Manuka Honey industry and the impact on small bee farm operators. Not all good.

Many examples of land use. Sheep farming dairying, cropping and vineyards.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

Team Kiwi rejoices...

Wherever we ride around the world we love to meet family and to meet friends, new and old.
This time we get to meet family and friends in various parts of NZ.
Sometimes we remember to take photos, sometimes we forget.

It’s all a bit of serendipity because we are never quite sure where we will be and when.
Sometimes when we call ahead folk are home
Other times we just miss seeing folk.  Next time, Ken.

The Redhead takes us to places where there are plenty of summer flowers
Especially red pohutukawa, lavender, and lupins. 
And my all time favourite, peonies.

Flourishing vege gardens, almost a family trait
And lovingly tended flower gardens, too
With Loving Memory rose to remind us of those who have loved us.

Friday, 28 December 2018

Team Kiwi rides north.

It feels wonderful to be on the road again.
People to meet, places to see, time to contemplate
Food to eat.

From Wellington along the coast 
Traffic is quiet, maybe it’s a Sunday 
I have already lost track of what day it is.

A charming new Cherry Cottage  cafe in Bulls caught my eye.
It was the pearl clad models who lured me in, 
But it was the cupcakes that were my undoing.

Onward to Whanganui, Stratford for fuel.
It’s 4.30pm no cafes are open
Along the Forgotten World Highway to Whangamomona

Through lush farmland and regenerating bush
Is that a Grader leaving town?
A beer, a delicious meal and a good rest at the Whangamomona pub, any motorcyclist’s favourite.

Next morning we get to ‘enjoy’ the work of the grader driver.
Reminds us of a similar experience in Patagonia.
Squadrons of angels come and keep us upright.

Such a delight to stop at Lauren’s Lavender farm near Taumaranui.
The sun is out. Farmers are making hay and the woolshed yards are bleating with sheep waiting to be shorn.
Its only 25°C but there are patches of soft tar on the road.

A wonderful welcome at Taupo from Judy and Dave
Time to catch up and to rest for the night.
My driver is doing well at delivering me to friends and family.

On our way in the morning.
Through dairy farms carved from the felled forests
To Putaruru and coffee with longtime Niue friends Brian and Shirl.

Heading to Auckland
Highway 27. The Patetonga Cafe is no more.
But we find another. The Native Tree Cafe. It’s a good find.

Refuelled and ready for Auckland.
Glad we are on the northbound motorway and not the slow moving  southbound.lanes.
A  safe arrival and a lovely warm welcome at the Savills at Mt Eden

Cherry Cottage Cafe, Bulls.


Thursday, 27 December 2018

Team kiwi rides from Queenstown to Auckland and return

We are on the road again.
We wanted to test our mettle with a ride with some long days because we are planning to ride from Japan to London 2019.
We rode to Auckland and back to Queenstown over a ten day period in early December 2018.
The weather forecast for ten days in early December looked good. 
Day 1 525km Queenstown to Hokitika via the Haast Pass 
Day 2 560km Hokitika to Koromiko  via Arthus Pass and  the Kaikoura coast road
Day 3  465km + ferry Picton to Whangamomona
Day 4 215km Whangamomona to Taupo
Day 5 280km Taupo to Auckland. A three day stopover.
Day 6 310km Auckland to Ohope via Paeroa and Waihi Beach
Day 7 623km Ohope to Masterton via the Waioeka Gorge and Gisborne.
Day 8 167km + ferry Masterton to Koromiko via Titahi Bay
Day 9 457kmPicton to Hanmer Springs via Nelson and the Lewis Pass.
Day 10 475km Hanmer to Omarama via the Inland Scenic Route
Day 11 170km Omarama to Queenstown

386km Average/day 

Blue skies
Friendly welcomes from family and friends who hosted us along the way
An opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with our beautiful country.

Road works galore. Plenty of evidence that petrol taxes are being spent. 
Repairs to storm damaged roads and new construction.
Occasional freshly graded gravel to test us, hot tarseal, too.

Farmers at work making the most of the fine weather.
Shearing, baling hay, mustering, tending grape vines, picking fruit.
Laden forestry trucks on both the south and north island roads.

Here are route  maps for our trip north and south and some photo collages of the first three days.

Our route south from Auckland

Leaving home, 
Yes, a map book to augment the GPS 
The Cardrona Valley and Pub
Clutha  River.

Haast Pass

Hokitika, Arthur’s Pass with a cheeky kea.

Kaikoura road. There were a few stops along the road. But not for the tourists on the train. 
The loose rubble cutting tells us why slips often close our roads.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

An overnight ride to Haast, South Westland. 465km

This week we responded to the call of Haast on the west coast of the South Island and set off on a planned ride with John and Cath.  

Dick's usual good planning brought us a wonderful ride in glorious weather.
A wonderful ride with friends, Cath and john.
Its the first time we have ridden with company for a long time.
Am thinking of rides with Radioman and Ken and Shirley.

While the rest of NZ seemed to be facing thunderstorms we enjoyed warm and dry conditions.
The recent lack of rain in southern Westland meant that the breeding patterns of sandflies and mosquitos  had been interrupted.  We encountered none.

Whitebait patties, salmon and venison for dinner at Haast.  Plenty of conversation.
Photos of the Haast road builders at work helped us appreciate the road we had just ridden along.  Bridges built, rocky bluffs blasted, and lives lost.

Next day we rode to Jackson Bay.
Whitebait stands have been raised at season's end.
Crayfish pots are stacked ready for next year.

A day of blue.
Turquoise rivers looked docile. They can unleash torrents in flood.
Tasman sea  gently lapping the beach fronts.
The sky an azure blue. More blue than the roof of the Cray Pot Cafe.

We shared the road on the ride home with lots of touring motorcyclists.
A great day for a ride.

 Lake Hayes,  Amisfield vineyard.
Along the shores of Lake Hawea
... and Lake Wanaka

Up the Makarora Valley the gates of Haast
The Haast river relaxes at the foot of the valley
The sun sets at the end of a lovely day.  

A very good breakfast at the Prickly Gorse Cafe at Haast.
 Whitebaitseason is over... the stands have been raised.

 Jackson bay around the corner.
Photo: Cath Gilmour
While Dick and John are doing what all motorcycle riders do best Cath and I go exploring.

We muse on who might have lived here.
A 20 minute walk takes us all to Wharekai-Te Kou, the ocean beach
 Homeward Bound.

 The Clutha River near Hawea.

As we leave Wanaka we follow a group of 12 BMW riders up the Cardrona Valley.  
The brief light drizzle cools us down as we head over the Crown Range for home.