This report doesn't actually feature any dozers but it does show some of their works. This year's South Is trip was timed to take in one of the open weekends in the remote Clarence Reserve inland from Kaikoura, then the Dusty Butt 1000km ride in Otago the following weekend.
Unfortunately my girlfriend & usual riding partner Rosie had broken her ankle a few weeks before & had to cancel. Fortunately I found a few other capable (if slightly less fragrant) individuals to ride with along the way.
First up was a smooth sailing over the Cook Strait.
Then in Blenheim I met up with McCardigan & we swept down the coast road to Kaikoura.
At the Kahutara bridge we signed in with the nice bloke from DOC & rocked off into the Clarence Reserve up towards Blind Saddle. It's a huge area with about 100km of tracks but is normally closed to private vehicles apart from on a few weekends over summer.
The track is steep in places & requires a bit of concentration but the views just keep getting better.
The track was put in in the 70's. Well done that mad bastard.
Spot the dot-motorbike
At the top of the pass the rugged country of the Clarence valley unfolds before us. We have gone from not much above sea level to 1200m over a fairly short distance.
Eventually we get down into the Heron Stream & follow this down towards the Clarence River.
At the old Quail Flat homestead we stop for a chat with the ranger & fill our water bottles. The ranger said we had timed it right to be coming in mid afternoon as it had been scorchingly hot earlier in the day.
It's a remote place even today, with access at the mercy of slips, snow & river levels, but back in the 1800's when there were virtually no roads into here it must have been unimaginably isolated.
We struck off north down the river, the track got considerably more gnarly after the turnoff to Muzzle Station. McCardigan had a bit of a whoops on a climb but we got him going again with a push.
The blue borage was flowering nicely.
Our destination is in sight, the Goose Flat hut. It's about 25km down from Quail Flat but mostly quite slow going. It took us about 3 1/2 hrs to get in from the main road inculding breaks & photo stops.
There are 2 couples in 4wd's in residence already but there is plenty of room in the 12 bunk hut. We crack a cask of red & settle in to watch the sunset, enhanced by the Aussie bushfires it seems.
It was a very pleasant evening & a few rums followed the red wine down nicely
Stand by for more.