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Old 03-17-2008, 03:53 PM   #1
clintnz OP
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The Gerbil Gang - Reloaded: Upper South Is NZ

Last year I didn't go to South Island on a motorcycle for the first time in a few years. That sucked. So we got organised a while back to do a weeks touring down there this month. Unfortunately due to blowing all his brownie points on a jetboating & hunting mission last month Paul's contractual obligations as house kitchen bitch meant he had to stay home. Rosie! however was just starting to get the hang of her new Super Sherpa & was ready to be inducted into the gang for her first Sth Is bike trip.

I had to be in Auckland on the Friday morning for work, so my trip south started with a 3 hr drive back to Rotorua. We then got saddled up & started clicking off the 470km to Wellington on Hwy 1, stopping for a few breaks, including here, on the Desert Road, under the volcanos of the Tongariro national Park:



We stayed at a mate's place in Wellington then caught the 8am Bluebridge ferry over to Picton & the Mainland. Then it was the gloriously twisty & scenic Queen Charlotte Drive around the Marlborough Sounds, this starts only a few hundred metres from where you roll off the boat & is a great way to begin the trip:




We stopped for lunch in Havelock, & learned that Mike, who was to meet us there, had found a locked gate 3/4 of the way down the Rainbow road, & had to make a huge detour back to Hanmer, so we wouldn't see him until that evening. So we parked up at the Slip Inn & devoured Pizza & a big plate of the local speciality, greenshell mussells...mmmm....



Then we decided to head out towards French Pass & sample a little gravel, there were some awesome views out over the Sounds & D'Urville Island:



We rolled back to the main highway through Okiwi Bay:



We then made our way to Rosie's parents house & Nelson & settled down to a few ales & a BBQ with some Nelsonian friends & Mike who had finally got in after a big day of riding.

Tomorrow: Golden Bay

Cheers
Clint
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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:36 PM   #2
Marvin the Martian
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Awesome

Very nice pix, keep it coming.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:36 PM   #3
funhouse
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NZ Ride Report

Clint: You've got a tough assignment: every view seems to be beautiful in NZ so the bar is set high for Kiwi's sending in reports.......good pano's but you're riding on the wrong side of the road! more please....Bruce
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Old 03-17-2008, 08:35 PM   #4
warewolf
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clintnz
So we parked up at the Slip Inn & devoured Pizza & a big plate of the local speciality, greenshell mussells...mmmm....

The Slip Inn is a regular haunt of mine. Heck we scoot over there just for an evening ride and dinner!

Keep 'em coming, I want to see the pics of Golden Bay. Did you know that Nordie and a couple others were out there the same day?
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:28 AM   #5
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:49 AM   #6
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Nice pics Clint especially of the bike next to the mountains.

Remember you and Rosie have a bed here in the "Naki" when you want.

Mike
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:34 AM   #7
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Beautiful NZ.... thanks for the posting
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:17 PM   #8
Mark_S
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we are waiting ....

we don't like to be kept waiting
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:45 PM   #9
clintnz OP
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Cheers Guys

Quote:
Originally Posted by warewolf
The Slip Inn is a regular haunt of mine. Heck we scoot over there just for an evening ride and dinner!

Keep 'em coming, I want to see the pics of Golden Bay. Did you know that Nordie and a couple others were out there the same day?
Yep, a sunny day, Queen Charlotte Drive & a big plate of mussels definitely gets any Sth Is holiday off to a pretty good start. It seemed like every rental BMW on the island turned up while we were having lunch too.

We did see Nordie & co at the Anatori, I said hi but didn't realise who it was. Doh!

Uploading pics for day 2 now.

Clint
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.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:51 PM   #10
Rosie!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warewolf
The Slip Inn is a regular haunt of mine. Heck we scoot over there just for an evening ride and dinner!
I need to move back to the South Island
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Old 03-18-2008, 01:52 PM   #11
clintnz OP
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Day 2: Golden Bay & Whanganui Inlet

The Sunday dawned clear & fine so Mike & I headed off for an assault on Golden Bay, west of Nelson. Rosie stayed in town to catch up with friends & family, so the boys were off the leash

I've swiped some of Mikes pics from the next couple of days, so there's a few of the KTM in action.

Breakfast & coffee were consumed in Motueka at the foot of the Takaka Hill, then the peg draggin blast up over the 27 km of steep twisty tar began. We were having way too much fun to take any pics . After gassing up in Takaka we continued on around the bay & crossed over to the west coast at the base of Farewell Spit. The gravel road around the convoluted shore of the Whanganui (or Westhaven) Inlet is a great ride:


South of the inlet there is a cafe that is intermittently open, we had a snack there & a yarn with a bunch of airhead riding locals who were also out for a ride. Then we rode south to the Anatori River:



We duly proceeded at our own risk, & made it across without any issues:





From there we carried on down to the Turamawiwi River. While we could have crossed there, the track goes onto the beach after that & it was high tide so there wasn't much point. If the tide is right it is possible to get right down to Kahurangi Point on the beach but there are a couple of treacherous river crossings to negociate. I went for a blast up onto the dunes before we turned back:



We then retraced our path back up the coast:







& crossed back over to Golden Bay:


We turned off at Collingwood to go for a look up to the end of the Heaphy track & called in for a beer at the Naked Possum on the way, the local crew we had met up with before were also there so more yarning about adventure bikes ensued. We eventually carried on up the road. I was barrelling along at a good pace when I got amushed by a concealed ford & parked the KTM in the bushes on the other side. Re-enactment pic:



After straightening out my handguards & levers we continued on out & after stopping in at the Mussel Inn for another of their award winning Captain Cooker ales buzzed back over the Takaka Hill to Nelson.

Next up, the West Coast via Rotoroa & the New Creek - Denniston track.

Cheers
Clint
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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:58 PM   #12
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Great pics! I'll be down that way (just north of Anatori) for our annual Easter getaway, it's fabulous country. There's caves in them thar hills. Normally I take the bike and go for a blast up the beach each day; at mid-low tide you can ride from the Anatori 18km up the beach to the Patarau R, only one point requires a bit of easy rock-hopping. This year we will take 24 hours out to drive the 4wd to where you turned around (Turamawiwi) then walk to the lighthouse hut for an overnighter.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve McQueen
All racers I know aren't in it for the money. They race because it's something inside of them... They're not courting death. They're courting being alive.
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:42 PM   #13
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Day 3: Rotoroa, Denniston & the West Coast to Blackball

Day 3 started with attempts to contact the farmer about access to the New Creek to Denniston track we wanted to do that day. The ph number I had was out of date so after calling several different contacts with no answers we decided to roll west anyway & enquire further on the way. We bid goodbye to Rosie's parents & made our way out to Lake Rotoroa:







Next up was the Braeburn Track to Murchison, a neat little backroad through the forest & farmland:



Then we stopped for a bite & a coffee at the Rock Snot Cafe just before Murchison on the edge of the Buller River:



Next stop was the information centre in Murch to find out about track access at New Creek. I got a big blank look when I asked about it, but after some explanation the bloke made a couple of calls & produced a ph number which I tried. The landowner informed us that he'd got tired of opening the gate for people, so it was now unlocked; "just put 5 bucks in the honesty box on the way past mate" Result!

So at Iron Bridge on the Buller Rosie took the low road to enjoy the curvy tar of the Buller Gorge, & Mike & I took the high road from there to Denniston, not quite sure what was ahead apart from a decent river crossing part way through. The track proved to be pretty good, quite steep in places but dry & rocky. When we got to the Mackley river it looked daunting, but after walking it it didn't seem to bad so we carried our gear over:





We rode across one at a time with the other walking beside as a catcher in case of mishap, & made it over no problem.



There were a few more stream crossings & a steep rocky climb up onto the Denniston Plateau:



We emerged from the forest into the wasteland of the old Denniston coal fields, complete with burning mine:



In 1878 a few of the Coast boys decided to have a go at getting all the coal from the Denniston Plateau, down the hill so they could get it to Westport & ship it out. They built the Denniston Incline, a rail system that dropped the coal carts 518m over 1.7 km, the steepest of its type in the world. it started running in 1880 & was used until 1957. The top of the incline has been partly reconstructed & there are lots of old relics & informative signs to see:



Then we descended down an awesome twisty little paved road to Westport then down the great Hwy 6 along the coast to Punakaiki, where we met up with Rosie & downed a beer at the pub:



More great riding was had as we travelled south down the coast:





Just before Greymouth we turned inland to Blackball, & our stop for the night, The Formerly The Blackball Hilton:



Then it was a few beers, a great feed of the locally made sausages, & a few whiskies & off to bed.

More tomorrow.

Clint
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The wilderness, the desert - why are they not crowded
.................................................. .....with pilgrims?
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Old 03-18-2008, 09:23 PM   #14
Shaggie
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Bloody great stuff Clint!

(altho you'd better NOT have come thru CHCH and not PM'd me..... )

Shane
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:52 PM   #15
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Airhead

Great pics Clint, will post some of the above mentioned "Airheads" when i sort through the camera. Cheers for the quick ride on your KTM at the Naked Possum Cafe.
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