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Thread: South to Wellington

  1. #1
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    South to Wellington

    5th February 2017

    I had plenty of time yesterday afternoon to sort all my kit out into a more logical order.

    So I surfed the internet and sent emails instead...

    I sleep fitfully, but eventually surface just after 0700 to a beautiful morning. I have a long way to go today, so I quickly ablute and then ram everything in the room into a variety of bags - using the criteria "Will it fit?" as the sorting template.

    I notice someone has managed to sneak a thin bike alongside my fat one in the hotel car park...



    I stuff bags into various panniers and boxes - this would have been an ideal task to do yesterday...

    Eventually I get everything to fit.



    I set out at 0808, into a cool, bright morning with the sun still low on the horizon...



    The initial part of the route is on dual carriageway. There is a blanket 100kph speed limit on New Zealand roads, and Brian gave me some dire warnings about what can happen if you ignore it...



    Today is about getting used to being on the bike for an extended period again - and in this regard it's going to be a bit of a leap into the deep end...



    Brian emailed me the route I carelessly left on his desk yesterday, and I have it programmed into Bettie. She says I will get to my hotel in Wellington - at the very south of North Island - at 1650. I intend to stop for lunch and coffee, so I expect to be running later than that...



    It's a Public Holiday weekend and - in common with everywhere else I have been - this brings out the classic cars. Anybody care to have a stab at this one's identity?



    The sun popped out from behind a cloud at exactly the wrong time for this one - so extra points if you can get it!



    Bridge fans can relax - saw this multi-span near the splendidly named Whatawhata...



    I have put a series of towns in as 'stop points' on the route, so Bettie generally steers me down the main street so that she can 'tick off' the town in her algorithm.



    Noticed this old girl flagrantly selling herself at the roadside - she had a fair dent in the offside rear door, which can't have encouraged buyers...



    The bike's running really well. I'd done a major service on it before shipping it, so I'm confident that it will behave itself...



    Bettie turns me towards Otorohunga and the roads get smaller and bendier...



    It's warming up nicely, but I notice a big difference if the sun goes behind a cloud...



    Good advice...



    We start to climb into hill country and the cloud cover increases, causing a noticeable drop in temperature...



    There's virtually no traffic and the roads are well surfaced and good fun to ride...



    Remarkable what you see at the side of the road...

    At Te-Kuiti, Bettie tells me to turn left. It's obvious to me that this will just be a 200m detour to visit the town centre and then a U turn, so I decide to ignore it and follow the extended route. This proves to be a mistake, as Bettie tries harder and harder to get me to turn around and bend to her will. In the end, I delete the original route and re-route towards Taumarunui - where I am going to fuel up and stop for lunch, and this seems to resolve the issue. I end up riding three or four miles of well made gravel road to regain the route...



    I notice a lot of police cars - almost all (like this one) ticketing some unfortunate motorist...



    Following Brian's advice, I keep my speed below 110kph - which is actually a pleasant speed to be riding these roads - and has the added bonus of making the Adv much more economical...



    The countryside is beautiful, but the weather is still closing in. At one point I feel the lightest of misty rain, but it soon passes...



    What a beautiful part of the world...



    I'm enjoying the first real day of the trip. Ted Simon's quote about the interruptions being the journey is a fair one - but you can have too much of a good thing...



    I grab lunch at Taumarunui...



    ...and meet Max, who's out for a ride on his Suzuki.



    I refuel and - after a break of an hour - set off on the second leg of the journey, heading initially towards Raurimu...



    ...avoiding local wildlife as I do...



    The scenery just keeps getting better and better...



    ...and I catch my first glimpse of snow-capped mountains...



    The local wildlife seems to be getting restive...



    A quick bonus bridge shot - over the shoulder...



    ...and then it's into more beautiful hill country...



    The road coils its way through the hills, often following the river at the base of the valley...



    I come across the first of ten or so washouts...



    I later learn that there was a massive flood in the area in June 2015 - the water level rose 17 meters above normal...

    ...all of these washouts are a result of that flood. The road gangs are still working at repairing the damage, mostly by using wooden pilings and concreting behind them, by the look of it...



    The cloud has cleared now, and the day is starting to reach its full potential - I'm drinking almost continually from my Camelback...



    Keeping my speed down on roads like these is becoming more of a challenge as the day progresses...



    Man cannot live by lukewarm water alone, though...



    So I stop for an indulgent scone - and quite the best cup of coffee I can remember - freshly made by Barista Val...

    Onward!



    The boost to my blood sugar has helped, but it is already feeling like quite a long day - and I have a couple of hours riding ahead of me...



    Definitely a good bridge day today...



    Big pencils. Don't know why...



    Dorri the Morri...



    I've got about 65km to run now - but traffic, which has been light all day, is starting to build - presumably as day trippers return home to Wellington...



    It makes the last hour's riding quite tiring - I won't be sorry to see my hotel...



    ...the road starts following the coast...



    ...and, eventually, I'm steered onto an urban motorway, complete with variable speed limits...



    The car in front is making me hungry...



    Eventually Wellington comes into view and, in no time, I'm parking outside the Quest Apartments...



    Where I am shown up to my beautiful little studio apartment...



    It's spotless - has tea and coffee available and - most importantly of all, a brilliant shower...



    I log onto the (very fast) Wi-Fi and start uploading today's 260 pictures. By the time I've had an epic shower, they're done and I start on the journal. I'll be getting an early night tonight - I need to be at the ferry at 0700...

    Great day

    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  2. #2
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    Top pictures and write up Mike,
    Lot,s of ppl will be following you as meander your way around...
    Mike..

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    We're off again, old cars, bridges no pictures of serving staff yet though. Got the makings of another good one.

    Got your fire extinguisher close to hand this time?
    Any spelling mistakes, punctuation errors or missuse of capitals are intentional and are designed to wind up the doughnuts amongst us.

  4. #4
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    Great stuff Mike !!

    So what's the plan ?

    You heading down to Invercargill or similar to work your way north ?

  5. #5
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    A splendid read on a cold winter day in the Northern Hemisphere

  6. #6
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    Mike,

    Looks like you made a good choice to ride south on Sunday as it was sweltering from here in Auckland north (and the traffic this long weekend would be relatively heavy). People will think from your photos, that there's no-one at all, out in the country areas - of, I forgot, the whole nation is a 'country area' compared to the UK!

    Good luck with the ferry this morning and ride safe - those 1-way bridges that proliferate the South Island can be bothersome.

    Best regards....

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsey View Post
    Great stuff Mike !!

    So what's the plan ?

    You heading down to Invercargill or similar to work your way north ?
    Like I ever have a plan...
    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  8. #8
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    Mike, If you DO make a plan and that involves going north from Auckland, send me a PM and we'll find room for you to bunk up for the night. I live in Devonport, North Shore and you can even get an ocean swim at the end of your day, or before breakfast! (I'd make the same offer to Arsey but I know his firm doesn't have a bus route down here!).

    Safe riding through Marlborough wine country....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kitsilano View Post
    Mike, If you DO make a plan and that involves going north from Auckland, send me a PM and we'll find room for you to bunk up for the night. I live in Devonport, North Shore and you can even get an ocean swim at the end of your day, or before breakfast! (I'd make the same offer to Arsey but I know his firm doesn't have a bus route down here!).

    Safe riding through Marlborough wine country....
    Not yet but I keep hearing rumours that we might soon using the Dreamliner.Bloody hope so !

  10. #10
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    Enjoying this, looks fab
    JohnnyBoxer



    So many roads...........So little time......

  11. #11
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    Some stunning scenery there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsey View Post
    Not yet but I keep hearing rumours that we might soon using the Dreamliner.Bloody hope so !
    Arsey, It's getting a little crowded:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/n...ectid=11795048

    I think that in all honesty, your 787 is more of a wish by flight crews, rather than a reality....The new-entrant Chinese airlines are ripping the snot out of fare margins and as today's new service indicates, the Gulf carriers won't be easy to beat. (United, with all of their resources and sales distribution network/membership database, can't make a go of it ex-SFO-AKL - at least, not year 'round. And the local incumbent is always keen for a scrap.....).

    You might just have to settle for a bit of a side-trip on leave, ex-SYD.

    Could be worse - but pick your timing: best weather is Feb/March.

    Anyway, you might decide that it's just like Chile - but with craft beer and sheep!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Nutty GSER View Post
    Some stunning scenery there.
    Nutty......And no bloody contrails, either, to stuff-up your photos! (Arsey: ! )

  14. #14
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    Mike O you have just ridden my favourite route to Auckland.
    I used to commute (by Range Rover) from Eastbourne to Auckland for work quite a bit and leaving Auckland at 0500 driving south away from SH1 was always a pleasure.
    Nearly ways saw touring bikes at Otorohanga, dont know why!
    Back up that way tomorrow then home friday
    When I got fed with that road after Te Kuiti I would run down the Awakino Gorge and stop off at New Plymouth for a cuppa then home.
    Looking good

    Adrian

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    I'm so jealous...i Grew up in Wellington and spent most of my miss-spent youth riding around that part of the country including the top half of the south Island..enjoy..

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