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Old 02-12-2015, 08:32 PM   #1
Phreaky Phil OP
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NZ's Clarence River Valley. Does ADV riding get better than this ?

For 3 years I have wanted to get into the Clarence River Valley reserve in New Zealands South Island but for one reason or another have not made it, so this year I planned a special trip just to do it.

So a plan was hatched for a trip south on Waitangi weekend (Feb 6th a public holiday) Our group consisted of myself and Dawn on our Airhead Beemer, Colin on his 1100 Beemer. AL on his 990 ktm and newbies to Adventure riding but no stranger to motorcycles, Dean and Sue on their new KTM 1190. We headed South on Thursday afternoon after an early knock off off work for a windy ride to Levin where we stayed the night.
The next morning we had a power cut in Levin so without even a cup of tea we headed for Wellington to catch the Ferry.

The bikes at the ferry terminal


I must ask Colin what he was doing to the KTM in this shot


Tying the bikes down on the ferry



It was a rough crossing and i'm not good on boats so I was VERY glad to get into the shelter of the Marlborough sounds without getting seasick.. Many didnt !!

Once off the ferry in Picton it was a couple of hour ride to Kaikoura where we had booked to stay for 2 nights. Of course a stop on the way at "The Store" at Kekerengu for a late lunch.


Our Home for the next 2 nights. The Pier Hotel


The view from the hotel across the bay. Stunning !


Our destination for the next day. Behind those mountains in the photo above
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Old 02-12-2015, 09:00 PM   #2
Phreaky Phil OP
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Saturday morning we got a fairly early start and filled up with gas, food from the bakery and plenty of water and headed for the Clarence. We found the turn in point with no trouble
The DOC sign boards confirming we had the right spot





and rode the dry riverbed to the locked gates


Heeding the landowners warning about the lock coming to bits I carefully opened it and we were IN


After a short time you start climbing, UP THIS

PIc borrowed from Clint





It was only about 8.30am at this point and as we climbed the temp dropped.
When we stopped at the saddle Dean commented that he got an ice warning on his 1190 dash.



Not a bad view eh ?

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Old 02-12-2015, 09:03 PM   #3
gregdee
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How come the ladies are standing out in the wind while the blokes are inside the shelter?

I've been on that ferry a few times. Did the crossing over Cook's Straight in a rented camper van once but never on a bike. I so need to get back down there - with a bike. I really like that part of the world.

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The bikes at the ferry terminal

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Old 02-12-2015, 09:11 PM   #4
Phreaky Phil OP
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Originally Posted by gregdee View Post
How come the ladies are standing out in the wind while the blokes are inside the shelter?
It says bike riders shelter, doesnt mention pillions
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:25 PM   #5
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Overnight rain was a surprise as most of the South Island has just been declared a drought area, having had almost no rain in months. We were surprised to be allowed in at all as the Rainbow and Molesworth Roads (2 of NZs best ADV roads ) had just been shut due to the extreme fire risk.





This pic shows the valley we were about to descend into







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Old 02-13-2015, 12:46 PM   #6
Phreaky Phil OP
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Once we hit the valley the road/track followed the riverbed for several km with heaps of river crossings











We had a break at the track junction. It was already starting to get warm compared to the near 0 degC at the top of the pass.



We continued on the track to Quail Flat with the Clarence river coming into view


The Historic Quail Flat Homestead





DOC have put up some intresting sign boards to show the history of the area.




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No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

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Old 02-13-2015, 01:22 PM   #7
Phreaky Phil OP
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We continued on towards Goose Flat


We took an alternative track that followed the river and was meant to join the track to Goose flat




But at about this point I missed the track turning to the right and we ended up in the riverbed at a dead end



Al decided to cross the river to check out the tractor on the other side.
I think this is the main access crossing point to the Muzzle Station Homestead.



Then he had to come back.


So we back tracked to the Goose flat sign and continued on. The track took us high away from the river.


The view down onto the Muzzle Stn Homestead. The long thin strip on the right of centre is the airstrip.






We had lunch in the shade of the Goose Flat hut.

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Old 02-13-2015, 02:07 PM   #8
Phreaky Phil OP
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After checking out the maps we decided to continue on as far as the track would allow. This track cant get very much use as it was rougher in places than the track in.




End of the road !


By the time we got back to the turn by Goose Flat hut it was HOT and the last layers needed striping out before the ride back to the track junction on the far side of Quail Flat


The view on the way back.
Beautiful country !
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Old 02-13-2015, 02:13 PM   #9
RedDogAlberta
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Wonderful stuff. More please. I'm reminded of the British Columbia interior in western Canada.
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:29 PM   #10
Phreaky Phil OP
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When we got back to the main track junction, Dean and Sue decided not to come with us to Palmer Hut. Without removable liners in their riding gear they were overheating and need a swim in the creek. So Colin, Al, Dawn and I headed on the track towards Palmer hut. This track climbed high away from the river.
When this came into view I thought the river we could see was the Clarence river and I was wondering about the track on the other side.



But it wasnt the Clarence, it was Gore Stream and we had to cross it and ride that track.



Al an Colin crossing the riverbed. Not a drop in it






This one's got some water in it. Must be the Clarence





At one point the track drops into a creek and you ride down the creek for a couple of hundred metres


The very new and plush Palmer Hut



The view from Palmer hut.


The track goes on a little further from here but it was time to head back.
A few pics on the way out



You can see the track through the pass in the top right of the pic










On the long decent back to the main junction I boiled the rear brake so a "cool down" was necessary at the bottom


From there it was a blast back up the river bed we had come down in the morning and climb back up the main 1200m range






The view back out to the coast





Starting back down the last hill. Shadows were getting long. We got to the locked gate around 6pm







On the 27km ride back to Kaikoura I was thinking that this had been one of my best days riding
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Old 02-13-2015, 03:52 PM   #11
paturoa
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Awesome trip report!
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:40 PM   #12
innathyzit
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Great RR and pics guys.

Gotta get in there soon.
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Old 02-13-2015, 04:55 PM   #13
Diggers99
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Great country and a great RR and pix too. I didn't know such a cool ride was lurking behind the seaward kaikouras. Better get an adv bike sometime soon and start exploring the back roads of our great country!
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:16 PM   #14
advNZer?
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Its now a 50?? payment to the station owner?I have been on a o/nite 4wd club trip in through the clarence and through muzzle and Bluff?? stations.Its like the clarence molesworth and rainbow all rolled into one!
I love that counttry down there,its not "beautiful" to me,maybe spectacular but it soothes my soul
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Old 02-13-2015, 05:30 PM   #15
Box'a'bits
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Epic ride report Phil & Dawn. Nice to see you got good weather for it. I'll be able to show Mandy what she missed in the murk when we went in there.

That 0 degree morning was probably good in the end. It gets massively hot in there.

Was the track to Palmers rough? Last time we went there'd been cattle through. They'd pugged up the ground when it was wet, & then it'd dried like concrete.

The cost per bike is still $25 Paul. The $50 charge is for 4WDs.
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