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Old 01-02-2007, 01:57 AM   #1
Oaters OP
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Location: Awakairangi, Aotearoa
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Thumb NZ - Blenheim to Havelock the long way round

I had originally planned to do some gravel road riding over the days between Christmas and New Year. My thinking was to travel from Lower Hutt to Waikaremoana on to Opitiki and back to Lower Hutt around the East Coast of the N.Island. My wife pointed out that riding around Waikaremoana on the narrow gravel roads over the holiday season might not be the smartest thing to do – the prospect of meeting camper vans and other vehicles towing boats being heightened over the holiday.

Flattered at my wife’s concern for my safety I quickly hatched an alternate plan – to travel across the Cook Strait to the top of the South to visit my daughter and her partner in Havelock. I decided to incorporate a couple of favourite rides of mine into the journey.

On Thursday 28 December I caught the 8am Bluebridge Ferry to Picton. By 1pm I was heading into the Awatere Valley and the Molesworth Station. Despite the unseasonably cold and wet weather that has plagued much of the country this summer, I experienced beautiful sunny weather for both days of my travels.

I reached Hanmer Springs around 6pm filled up with petrol and headed North again and into the Rainbow Station via the St James Station.

I travelled into the Rainbow in beautiful sunshine making camp around 8pm that evening at Lake Tennyson. I shared the DOC campsite with a few other folks, mainly trout fishing enthusiasts. Watching the sun set over the lake whilst sipping a Cab Sav before turning in for the night was a great way to end a perfect day.

Friday 29 December dawned bright and clear with Lake Tennyson as calm as a mill pond. When I began to prepare breakfast around 6am I could see there had been quite a frost overnight!

Despite evidence on both the Molesworth and the Rainbow roads of slips as a result of heavy rain this past winter, both roads were fine for travelling on a GS fitted with TKC80’s. I had one ‘moment’ in the Awatere Valley where the road surface changed from hard pack gravel to a patch of sand and the front wheel almost washed out. The beemer seemed to ‘stand up’ again as I increased the power – I’d like say ‘instinctively’ but I think it was more good fortune than skill!

Travel through the Rainbow and on to St Arnaud on day two was uneventful save for a ford at the point where the Molesworth Station joins the Rainbow. This ford which was not particularly wide was sufficiently deep and with a number of large rocks in it that I decided discretion was called for and chose to ‘paddle’ my bike across with my feet down on the bottom on either side to steady the bike as I rode through. Following are some images – many taken from the bike – as I travelled through these two high country farms. Happy New year and safe riding - Aslan

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Old 01-02-2007, 04:01 AM   #2
In the flow...
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How beautiful that place is...

All the best
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Old 01-02-2007, 05:28 AM   #3
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Gorgeous country, great pics and super ride report!
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:37 PM   #4
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Geez, I think a trip to NZ is on the cards. Looks great
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:00 PM   #5
Greg the Aussie
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Every time I see a photo

Every photo from every trip in NZ is spectacular. They never seem to run out of landscape or road.
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Old 01-02-2007, 04:24 PM   #6
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Nice photos Aslan

And looks like a great trip. I plan to travel through there on my way to or from the SI Safari. Hopefully summer might have arrived by then
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Old 01-02-2007, 11:03 PM   #7
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great report Aslan

Hey this ford you mention, did you encounter it on the way to Hamner as I am doing the same route on the way to SI safari weather permitting.
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:25 AM   #8
Oaters OP
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rainbow road

Originally Posted by K Slider
Hey this ford you mention, did you encounter it on the way to Hamner as I am doing the same route on the way to SI safari weather permitting.
Hi K Slider (and thanks to all who have commented) - the gnarly little ford is the last ford in the Molesworth as you travel North from Hanmer, Lake Tennyson - just before you pass from the upper Molesworth into the Rainbow Station - has a name something like 'Dead Man's Creek!'. Anyhow - the guy who mans the gate at Rainbow Road end is hoping to get up there and improve the crossing by removing some of the rocks - good guy!

Apparently there's a suspension bridge (foot only) that's worth seeing in the upper Rainbow (St Arnaud end) - ask him for directions.

Happy riding fellow ADVers - Aslan
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:08 PM   #9
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Wicked Its a fairly good road (most of the time)

I did this trip two years running, both times on a Royal Enfield Bullet 500. Easy riding if you take your time. Great views, good accommodation at both ends, St Arnaud (northern end) and Hanmer Springs(Southern end)
Nice hot pools at Hanmer and very nice Hotels/Motels to choose from and not too expensive. Moteliers are motorcycle friendly for the most part. Winter mornings can be bloody chilly, but who cares when you are up to your chest in a thermal pool soaking away your cares with a stubby in one hand and the old girl in the other. Godzone it definitely is.
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