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Old 03-27-2014, 02:12 PM   #1
Three Dawg OP
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New Zealand, South Island

After three amazing trips to southern Africa it was time for me and Mrs Three Dawg to catch up with the folks in New Zealand (for Mrs 3D is a Kiwi) Was I going to go all that way and not get any biking in? No chance!

So we booked a bike for seven days from City Motorcycle Rentals in Christchurch, who were really helpful- ask for Andrea- and mapped out an anti-clockwise loop of the southern part of the island. The plan was first to head west through the centre of the island to the west coast via Arthur's Pass to Hokitika. From there we would ride south to Haast and Queenstown via Wanaka. The next bit I was really excited by because we found out that it was possible to put the bike on the steamer The TSS Earnslaw which plies Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown to the Walter Peak sheep station (more a dude ranch/tourist trap these days I think). We'd then ride the Von Road through the southland back country and possibly the remote 4x4 only Nevis Road back to Queenstown. From there we would loop back to Lake Tekapo and Christchurch via several more unmade passes hopefully without falling off. Because that is bad on a rental bike.

It's a hell of a long way from Scotland to Christchurch, but after 5 flights (not consecutively, thank gawd) we were there. We had a day before we were to pick up the bike, so friends who live there took us on a tour of what's left of the city. Big chunks of the centre of Christchurch were damaged in a huge earthquake three years ago and many of the buildings in the centre of town have had to be pulled down if they didn't fall down in the quake. Progress is being made, and the plans for the new city look great, although things seem to be moving a bit slowly with lots of vacant land around. They're probably arguing down at City Hall, as they do.





185 people died in the quake. There is a temporary memorial made of chairs painted white on a vacant lot. It's surprisingly affecting.



The front of the existing cathedral fell off, so they have this rather elegant temporary one; the so-called Cardboard Cathedral.





Life goes on though- there are funky shops made from shipping containers in the middle of all this and the rebuilding job is creating loads of work and boosting the economy of the entire nation.



The following day we picked up the bike, a Yamaha Super Tenere. City Motorcycle Rentals had to move out of Christchurch because of damage to their premises, but they will happily come and get you from town if needed. I went for the Yam because it was cheaper than the big GSs on offer, and it turned out to be a really good ride. The front fork is a bit stiff on rough ground, but I liked the 'twisted twin' 270 degree parallel twin motor.


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Old 03-27-2014, 02:27 PM   #2
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:17 PM   #3
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Welcome to New Zealand :-)
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:44 PM   #4
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great place to ride here, will look out for you around queenstown
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:43 PM   #5
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Soon enough we were heading over Arthur's Pass, a beautiful Alpine route which I didn't take enough photos of...







Strange extinct wire birds



Civil engineering



Stationary trains blocking the road for bloody ages about 2 miles from our overnight stop and a beer.



All in all, a straightforward (if scenic) day with only
a few kilometers of dirt towards the end. Mrs 3D at the office. I can't be trusted to reply to emails happily for me.



Hokitika has a fine 'black' beach (about 100 metres from our cabin) and enough driftwood to cook an ox. Whole.





There were some charming buildings in town, but it seemed that there was only one restaurant open in the entire place. Dunno why, there were plenty of people about.



There were opportunities to add to my collection of disused or rural gas stations







Nice sunset.


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Old 03-28-2014, 01:07 PM   #6
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Very nice pics indeed - brings back fond memories of my ride there in 2000. We went the other direction Hokitika - Christchurch one day. Chucking down with rain as we set off, shorts and flip-flops when we arrived. Lovely place NZ but as you say: a fucking long way away.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:22 PM   #7
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Queenstown's area is so nice. I was there for two weeks in 2000 for a photoshhot and only have good things to say. I was impressed then how the government was working hard to make sure that visitors were satisfied with their Kiwi trip.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:29 PM   #8
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Thanks everyone. Lots more pics to come.
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:55 PM   #9
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Subscribed, so I can come back here to help make plans for a trip there too.
Beautiful!
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Old 03-28-2014, 11:59 PM   #10
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Old 03-29-2014, 05:49 AM   #11
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Incredibly, the next day looked great weather wise. Last time I came this way (24 years ago, heading north) I was on an XJ650 and the water on the road was up to the top of the crankcases. This time the weather was considerably kinder.



The Southern Alps form a barrier between the sea and the majority of the island to the east of them. These rise up to something like 12000 feet. Properly big mountains. This is of course why it's so wet here.







In the hamlet of Hari Hari we came across a small shed with a life sized model of a biplane and pilot inside. Unfortunately we couldn't get in, so the pic is through the window.



The pilot was one Guy Menzies who, at the age of 21, became the first person to fly solo over the Tasman Sea from Australia to New Zealand.



He went seriously off course and landed upside down in a field of flax. He didn't live to see old age sadly, as he was killed in the second worl war.



Next we went up to Franz Josef Glacier. It's receding (aren't they all?) but is still impressive.





The coastline continued to delight.







We arrived eventually at our overnight stop at Haast Beach. Cue Ry Cooder guitar noodling...



Gas stations. Love 'em.



I think when you catch your missus taking pictures of your bike she's enjoying it!



Haast Beach. Crowded.



One more day until the bike gets dirty.

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Old 03-29-2014, 10:24 AM   #12
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Beautiful photos!
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Old 03-29-2014, 12:49 PM   #13
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From Haast Beach we continued south towards the tourist hotspot that is Queenstown. No sign of rain. Unreal.



Going through the Haast Pass I was quite surprised to see a helicopter parked up. They are doing loads of work here to repair the road after a major washout. A young couple on their honeymoon got caught in the flood and their camper was washed into the gorge. The found her, but he's still missing. :(



The bush was thick on both sides of the gorge. It's is almost primeval.



Lake Hawea



Mrs 3D rustling up something tasty in Lake Hawea township. You'd never know it was the height of the tourist season, it was very peaceful.



Lake Wanaka





This could be the Highlands of Scotland.



After Wanaka township you climb up over the Crown Range. This is a great road. Sealed now, last time it nearly shook the por old XJ to pieces.

Dunno what this was all about.



At the top is the historic Cardrona Hotel and store







Nice to see ale on handles, although the Guinness is of course not. Had a quick half of the hotel's own. The barman was from Stirling in Scotland.





Like being in an English pub, I felt right at home



Where do people who own pubs get this stuff?



When we came out we found this rather tasty Mustang about to leave. Cool car.



The road down from Cardrona. Great fun to ride; those Heidenaus are surprisingly grippy.



And so to Queenstown. More Chinese tourists here than I've ever seen in my life, and I've been to Hong Kong about ten times.



Tomorrow the bike gets (a bit) dirty as I demonstrate that I can ride a large motorcycle through a small stream. Oh yes.


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Old 03-29-2014, 12:57 PM   #14
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Great pics and nice report! I was there in 01 and did the North Island tour for 3 weeks,love to go back and do the South.

Thanks!
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:09 PM   #15
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Cheers! Next few pages have more off tarmac stuff to whet your appetite.
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