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Old 03-12-2006, 03:39 PM   #1
clintnz OP
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The Gerbil Gang Goes Deep - South Island NZ

After previous years short forays across to the Mainland, this time we decided to do it properly & take a couple of weeks for a proper look around. I'd travelled some of the classic Otago back tracks like the Nevis in my 4x4 a few years ago & I was very keen to try out the KTM down there. I had never before motorcycled around the roads of the lower 1/2 of the South either but having driven around down there I knew I could look forward to some great road riding also.

I've gathered up everybody's pics, & there are plenty of good ones, so here's the beginning of a day by day account:

Day 0: Taupo - Wellington

The preliminary leg of the trip was an uneventful run for Paul & I down highway 1, marred only by Paul’s brand new visor breaking after he got a drop of petrol on it while refuelling at Waiouru, nothing that some duct tape couldn’t fix however.

Day 1: Wellington - Westport

We had a good sailing over on the new ferry, the Kaitaki, apart from when we reached Picton & were smugly waiting astride our bikes next to the vehicle deck doors, ready to be first off as usual. It slowly dawned on us that the action was down the other end of the ship - the bloody thing has doors at both ends!
Of course for the advrider heading west from Picton there is only one way to go: The Queen Charlotte Drive then the Maungatapu Track to Nelson.


Then it was down the sinuous Buller river gorge road to Wesport, all tarmac but fantastic riding, & then the Denniston Dog pub for a feed & a few coldies.

Day 2: Westport - Haast

Ones of the finest road rides in the world lay ahead of us on day 2: Highway 6 down the West Coast.



We met with Mike on the Dakar in Hokitika & continued down the coast. The West Coast is renowned for its wetness so we were ecstatic to have a dry run all the way to Haast. We made a few side trips:
Gillespie’s beach:



One of the many lakes that dot the sliver of land between the sea & mountains on the coast:


And to this beach south of Lake Moeraki:


This Crayfishing boat used to be launched off a skyline running out to an island off the beach. There used to be several like this down the coast as there are few harbours & this was the last operational one. The cable has now rusted through & the boat stands like a monument to the west coast hardmen who fish these rugged waters:


more soon...

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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-12-2006, 03:49 PM   #2
Ayrshire Bull
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Clint - great start ....


keep it coming!
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Old 03-12-2006, 04:17 PM   #3
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Keep the pics comin'!

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Old 03-12-2006, 05:51 PM   #4
clintnz OP
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Day 2 continued

Once installed in our cabin in Haast we grabbed some beers & motored out to the ‘World Famous on the West Coast’ Craypot Café at Port Jackson for a great feed of fish & chips:




We nipped up the JacksonRiver for a quick evening fish, with no luck, then it was back to the Haast pub for some light refreshments.


Day 3: Haast - Queenstown & Macetown

HaastRiverBridge:


As we were gassing up in Haast Greg the Aussie pulled in on his hire F650, he was also heading for Queenstown so we invited him to join us. When we paused at the Gates of Haast after an enthusiastic ride up the Haast River Greg caught up & remarked “Sheeet you guys go haard!”

The Gerbil Gang: Mike, Paul & Myself


Over the Haast pass at Makarora we stopped for a coffee & admired some nearby jetboats & aeroplanes:


We cruised through Wanaka & then up to the Cardrona Pub for lunch


We persuaded Greg, who hadn’t done much riding on gravel, to follow us up the road to the Waiorau Snow Farm. This road is used for NZ’s equivalent of the Pikes Peak hill climb, the Race to the Sky:






Then it was back down & over the twisty Crown Range Road to Queenstown:




We dropped our gear in our cabin at the Frankton Motor Camp then saddled up to go into Macetown, an old goldmining ghost town out the back of nearby Arrowtown. When we mentioned river crossings Greg rode off rapidly in the other direction muttering something about having to go sailing. It was a warm afternoon & we had great fun splashing up the Arrow river:


& exploring the old town & gold workings:










Back at the camp we had a wash, met up with Greg again & ambled across the road to the newly refurbished Frankton Arm Tavern where we had a few beers & a great meal, a few more beers, a few ports, then decided to just buy a bottle:




Paul discovers the port is getting strangely clear & tasteless…


…so we ordered a few whiskies & it all gets a bit hazy after that…

Day 4 & more tomorrow

Cheers
Clint

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Old 03-13-2006, 03:54 PM   #5
clintnz OP
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Day 4

Day 4: Thompson’s Track & the Nevis

We started with the very pleasant road ride to Cromwell were we had breakfast then continued to Bendigo, once the site of a bustling gold mining town.




From there we continued on over Thompson’s Track (note: readers should not confuse this with the similarly named 15 km boghole in the North Island)



Then it was off to the St Bathans pub for lunch & a pint


An unexciting run down the main road took us to Clyde, where we gassed up then got into the good stuff again, taking the rocky shortcut over the hill to the Nevis:




Behind Bannockburn we got onto the Nevis proper:




Halfway down the Nevis, in middle of 100km of nowhere we came across an old Range Rover propping up a couple of Southern Men taking in the evening air. We pulled up and were immediately offered a beer, then a plate of delicious whitebait fritters was passed around. Speight’s & whitebait is basically the South Island equivalent of Dom Perignon & caviar so we quite quickly came to the conclusion that these guys were top blokes. Jack helped run the 65 000 acre Ben Nevis Station we were riding through, & his brother had a crib in the valley so they had a few good stories to tell.


We shot the shit for a while then continued up the Valley, where both Paul & I had a bit of fun with a concealed water crossing that we hit at speed, got very wet in & narrowly avoided going over the bars into the drink. After that we kept an eye out & the many fords were taken at a more sedate pace:




We descended down the hill to the Garston pub for dinner:


Then it was a pleasant cruise along the curvaceous Wakatipu shore in the last remaining light back to Queenstown. Then, well, see the end of day 3 above…

Stay Tuned...
Cheers
Clint
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.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:00 PM   #6
GB
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lookin' good

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Old 03-13-2006, 04:25 PM   #7
Stuart T
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I'm trying to figure why I'm not coming over to NZ to spend a month touring around..... apart from needing to pull the finger out, can't think of any good reason. See you in the next couple of years.
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:51 PM   #8
2whlrcr
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Why are you guys riding on the wrong side of the road?

Nice pics.
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Old 03-13-2006, 04:59 PM   #9
clintnz OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2whlrcr
Why are you guys riding on the wrong side of the road?

Nice pics.
'cos all the trucks do too

Thanks for the compliments guys.

Cheers
Clint
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.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-13-2006, 05:02 PM   #10
Smith898
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My Nevis Pass Trip- Nov-Dec

Hey clintz I was there in Nov and i missed ya in Rotarua. This is bringing me back about Toddy & I trip. Those Fords sneek up on you and are quite dep if you are not careful. I stalled 2 times. Here is my best pics of that run.


A few more of that day:




I am definately comingf back to NZ fow another 20 or so day so hopefully i will not miss out on that 400 km gravel ride next time.
Good Picks bringing me back.

Not trying to hyjack you post so i will catch ya later.
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Old 03-14-2006, 03:10 PM   #11
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Day 5: Skippers, The Remarkables & Adventures getting home from the Pub

Thanks Smith898, we'll have to get a bit better organised next time & meet up.


Day 5:

As Mike had to leave us to go home early in the morning, Paul & I decided to rise early also & beat the traffic up SkippersCanyon:


In 1862 a prospector swam across the Shotover river to rescue his dog, & found the hound sitting on a glistening beach. The prospector & his partner panned over 9 kg of gold there that very day & soon after the rush was on. With the later rise of quartz mining heavier equipment was needed & the road was completed in 1890, a major engineering feat in its day.



Beyond the bridge the school and an old homestead are all that remain of a once bustling community. All along the road are little signs naming parts of the road & landscape: Big Ben, Pinchers Bluff, The Devil's Elbow etc. This is Hell's Gate:



Breakfast was beckoning so after a quick look at the view we continued back to Queenstown:


After brekky we went for a blat up to the Remarkables skifield:


We got back just before the rain started & holed up in the pub for bit. By late afternoon the weather looked to be clearing down the lake so we decided to strike out for Glenorchy, 50 km away along the lake, & have dinner at the pub there. The trip there wasn't too bad:


On the way back the rain became torrential as the daylight swiftly faded, and then we came across a campervan doing a 16 point turn across the road. The driver informed us that 'Ze road iz closed'. 'We'll see about that' Paul said. Around a few more corners we discovered a tree square across the road:


We shifted a few branches & managed to squeeze the bikes under one end & avoid going back & spending the night in Glenorchy. It would have been a dark night too as the tree in question had also taken out the powerlines - the lights must have gone out soon after we left the pub. We splashed back to the cabin in the still pouring rain & dried out ready for the next day.

Cheers
Clint
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:36 PM   #12
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Day 6 Queenstown - Mavora - Te Anau + the Borland


The day before we had gone down to the travel office to book on the Earnslaw, the old ship that goes across Lake Wakatipu. We were informed that as the lake was low they could not fit motorbikes down the ramp into the hold. Despite our offers of bottles of whisky & suggestions that the bikes could go on the passenger deck between the seats we were told no. So it was back down the side of Wakatipu to Kingston for breakfast. Just before there Paul discovered he had lost his backpack & went back to search for it, without success, he had slung it over the back of the bike as he was suiting up then forgot about it & rode off.
We turned off the main highway before too long & headed for the Mavora Lakes, yet another Lord of the Rings location.


We left our luggage with some campers at the end of the road then rode up the 4x4 track around the edge of the lake:


We called in at Careys Hut on the edge of the North Mavora Lake & had a yarn & a coffee with a couple of fishermen who were staying there.



Past Careys Hut the riding gets a little more challenging. There are a couple of river crossings, I got across the small one with difficulty, the bed was large slippery boulders, so we decided to turn back & I had to ride it again:


We rolled up the other valley over to Boundary Hut:


After strapping our bags on again it was off back down the road to Te Anau:


We rode into Te Anau, got installed in our cabin then decided there was enough daylight left for a burn into the South Arm of Manapouri, over the Borland Saddle. While we were gassing up a scruffy bloke in overalls wandered over & asked if I was Clint. Yep I replied. We had just met the famous adventurer Toddy (hondav2) He invited us round for a beer the following day & we set off for Manapouri. At Monowai we met up with the pylons & turned to off the highway to follow them:


Soon the gravel turned to hard packed dirt & we had great fun power sliding our way up to the top of the 988m Borland Saddle.

A multitude of zig zags & a deer sighting later we got down to the beach at the South Arm of Lake Manapouri:


After being attacked by sandflies the size of Robinson R22s we decided to go for a look up the Percy Saddle:


The road we are on was built to put the pylons into West Arm. The water in Lake Manapouri is drained from there through a huge underground powerstation then out to Doubtful Sound.

Note to the Adventurer: Many maps show the Percy Saddle road joining up with a track from West Arm & giving access over the Wilmot Pass to Doubtful Sound. As the crow flies it almost does. There is just the small matter of a 900m bluff between the first pylon on the Percy side & its mate at West Arm.

We saw the track up to the bluff at the end of the road & thought, thats bloody insane


Wed better have a go at riding it

We got a few zigzags up, Paul did better than I, but soon the impossible steepness & loose surface got the better of us. We vowed to return one day with proper knobblies, lower gears, & in Paul's case, his 200EXC, & headed back down. Of course the pics dont do justice to the sheer crazy steepness of it all, but they never do.


On the way back we discovered the absolute limit of the DRs fuel range, namely 230km. We gave it a couple of sips from the mothership (I was packing my 20l tank on the KTM) & made it back to Te Anau. The place for a late night feed there is The Moose pub so we had a go at that & a few beers etc etc.

Cheers
Clint
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Old 03-16-2006, 06:38 PM   #13
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Great reporting boys. Well, it is not just fun and games in Oceania as we see...
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Old 03-16-2006, 07:16 PM   #14
Burren Rider
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Great report . I am looking forward to the next instalment .
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:03 PM   #15
Eaglebeak
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Fantastic. Keep 'em coming !
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