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Thread: Invercargill

  1. #1
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    Invercargill

    10th February 2017

    I sleep well, and wake to the sound of heavy rain at 0500. The forecast isn't good - I turn over and get another hour, by which time the rain has stopped, but it's a heavy overcast morning that greets me as I open the curtains...



    I'm riding to Invercargill, where I have a motel booked this evening. This means climbing the Haast Pass - which is not going to be too much fun in the rain...

    I go to the restaurant and carb-up at the breakfast buffet...

    ...then return to my room, get dressed in my wet weather kit and get on the bike just before 0900. I usually fill up at the end of the day, but they were queuing four-deep at the pumps when I arrived yesterday, so I zip over to the garage and fill up with 95 Octane.

    I'm on the road at just gone 0900 and heading towards some fairly ominous looking clouds on the horizon...



    There's mist lying in the valley below the pass...



    ...and it's cool - under 50° F...



    ...which doesn't stop it being beautiful - in a stark sort of way.



    I start climbing into the edge of the valley - the pass is 60 kilometres or so from here. The road surface is wet, but there's hardly any rain, just the occasional misty drizzle...



    After 30 minutes or so I reach a bridge at the imposing sounding "Gates of Haast"...



    ...where there are some spectacular rapids...



    I keep climbing and then - just after the top of the pass...



    ...the rain stops and blue sky makes an unexpected - but very welcome - appearance...



    I'm soon riding along a glacial river valley in warm sunshine - the temperature has risen to just over 70° F and it feels great...



    I stop at a café to warm up the inner man...



    ...and order a flat white, from a thoroughly disinterested youth...



    ...then fall into conversation with Mina and her boyfriend Fu (I hope I have that right), who are on holiday for about two and a half weeks from mainland China. Mina's English is excellent, and she does most of the translating - I get the impression Fu understands quite a lot, but is happy for Mina to take the strain. Mina is a schoolteacher and Fu arranges expedition-type travel (hiking - called 'tramping' here, by the way - and the like). They are about to catch one of the helicopter flights to the top of one of the glaciers. They are a great couple - Fu reveals he is a real gadget-man (I already knew - it's like an international brotherhood ), by producing this little device...



    ...which, in a couple of minutes (and after a reboot ), produces...



    ...a credit card sized print - how cool is that?



    They give me the print and I give them the web address for the ride report - what a nice couple...

    Sufficiently re-caffeinated, I get re-kitted and get the Adv heading south again.



    The road runs for several miles along the east shore of Lake Wanaka, that well known typing error...



    It is just beautiful - I am so glad the weather cleared. The deep blue of the water looks almost artificial and I can see for ever...



    For the first time on this trip, I am having to watch my speed. The road conditions and sight lines are so good that I continually find it creeping up. Bettie colours her speed indicator amber when it reads between 101 and 104kph - and red when above. I try to keep it in the amber zone...



    Meanwhile, the views of the lake and the surrounding hills continue to unfold to my right...



    It's about 75° F and I'm probably as happy as I have ever been on two wheels - it's all the better for being unexpected, as I anticipated riding through murk all day...



    I stop for a breather and to take some pics off the bike...



    ...and snap a dozen shots...



    As I walk back to the bike, I step over the crash barrier...



    This design of barrier seems to be used throughout New Zealand. As a motorcyclist, it scares the crap out of me. I know that Armco barrier isn't going to do me much good if I hit it at speed, but I can't help feel that this stuff is just going to dice me...



    The road heads east over a col and we leave Lake Wanaka behind...



    ...to almost immediately join the west shore of Lake Hawea...



    ...with a road that reminds me of some of the ones in the West Highlands of Scotland - and my speed starts to creep up again...



    What a wonderful part of the world...



    ...it's just great - not much traffic, good road surface and an ideal temperature...



    I'm grinning behind the visor...



    Eventually we run out of lake, and I continue south on the A6. Travelling through a town I notice...



    This beauty sunning herself. Her owner, Jason, is just about to start wax polishing the body work - I should imagine that'll take a while...



    It's not the only American metal he has...



    He and his mate use them, but also rent them out for weddings...



    Not too challenging - make/year/model?



    Onward - I've still a way to go today...



    The views are not as spectacular as I ride through land used primarily for sheep and cattle farming...



    ...but - hey - I'm not at work...



    Now there's something you don't see every day...



    Hundreds of bras stuck on a fence...



    It's a display for breast cancer awareness - a subject close to my heart, so I stuff all my NZ change into the collection box...



    The road is looking more and more like it's in the West Highlands...



    Though, thankfully - without the West Highland midge, which makes my life a misery every time I visit...



    Any guesses as to the identity of this old girl being used as an advert?



    I climb the top of a pass and - quite suddenly - the most fantastic view opens up in front of me...



    To my left...



    ...and straight ahead - where I can see Queenstown laid out like a map on the valley floor...



    Right - let's get going...



    I take a spirited ride down the A6 towards Queenstown...



    ...keeping carefully to the speed limit on the approach to a large town...



    ...and obeying them rigidly in any town I ride through...



    Remarkables Ski Area...



    I'm starting to feel in need of another coffee and maybe some lunch...



    ...so decide to stop at the next café...



    ...but I have to ride some more of this first...



    At Kingston Corner, I stop for some lunch...



    ...in the form of a flat white and a chicken salad sandwich - which had about a quarter of a chicken in it...



    After half an hour or so, I get kitted back up for the final section to Invercargill - about 80 miles distant...



    ...when all of a sudden...



    Bugger!

    113kmh in a 100 - not crime of the century, but enough to get a ticket...



    He's a nice chap and it costs me $80 (about £40)...

    I continue south and he returns to the shade of the trees he was concealed by...



    A little further down the road was a pair of newly built suspension bridges - apparently for a walk/cycle way...



    I'm about half an hour out from Invercargill now - and the weather abruptly changes. I notice it getting colder - in fact the temperature on my thermometer drops by about 15° F in a couple of minutes. There is a sudden wind from the east and it starts to drizzle. Whereas I'm used to this sudden change of weather when travelling in a mountainous region, it's a new experience to me on the flat bottom of a glacial valley. The rain lasts about 15 minutes, after which I'm obviously through the squall and the temperature starts to rise again...



    A few minutes later and you'd never know it had happened.

    Bettie directs me around the edge of Invercargill, before steering me directly to my hotel, booked last night...



    It's a nice old fashioned layout, allowing me to park directly outside the room...



    Has a lounge area and a separate bedroom...



    ...as well as a kitchen area, fridge and microwave. I unpack and get the pics uploading on the fairly wheezy WiFi, then take a walk to the "Liquor Store" (Off Licence) on the corner. I'm looking about for where the cooled beer is, when I realise that there's a chilled room - easily the size of the lounge in my motel - full of beer. I eventually choose a six pack of Amstel and take it back to my room to drink whilst I write up today's journal. I run out before the journal is finished...

    Best day yet...

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

  2. #2
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    Mike,

    Lovey account of a great day - thanks!

    You must be exhausted, battling that heavy traffic?

    And you're right about the dreaded 'cheese-cutter' on-the-cheap crash barriers......they have been proven to offer a gruesome end to more than one motorcyclist in New Zealand.

    Sorry to see that despite your careful riding, you picked-up a ticket...

    Ride safe.

  3. #3
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    Hawea Lake? That named by a Geordie then? No wonder you let loose a bit. Those road surfaces are close to perfect and put ours to shame. Lots of Scots connections too - Cardrona, Invercargill etc. Thoroughly jealous!

  4. #4
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    Beautifully crafted vlog, very enjoyable read.

  5. #5
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    Brilliant reading Mike, as we have come to expect

  6. #6
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    Brilliant run ,👍

    Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Beaky Farkler Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Loving this

  8. #8
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    Thanks very much for posting Mike!

  9. #9
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    Great stuff Mike, as ever..

    Spent one of the best months of my life touring NZ back in 2005. Was in a rental car at the time though with young kids and the GS was back home in the garage. This has brought it all back to me. What a wonderful place...

  10. #10
    R/C Hello pilot ;-)
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    Glad you enjoyed the Haast Pass in good weather, I most certainly did when I rode through in 2001, although the "cheese-cutter" barriers weren't there when I went over. I stopped in Queenstown to enjoy the adrenalin rush of the Fly-by-wire ride and the Shotover river ride.

    https://youtu.be/AzhAMscTxyc

    https://youtu.be/eutcMmRwaTE

  11. #11
    I'm not like all the others Click here to find out how to Subscribe
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    Lovely pics.. did Bert Munro live in Invercargill..?
    2001 Silver R1150GS,
    (Owned by me since new. Before Ewan got his.)

  12. #12
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    ^^^^^ yes, so you must visit the Museum Mike.

    Excellent RR as ever - you give the armchair explorer the feeling that we're there with you.

    I can't help feeling you're going too fast - will you return to Queenstown? BTW the Remarkables is a mountain range, hence the Ski Area. If you do go back that way, don't miss the excellent car and aviation museum at Wanaka. Or are you going east via Dunedin?

    Snowing here......

    A

  13. #13
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    Great write-up, following this

    Looking forward to reading about any Burt Munro related encounters.

  14. #14
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    I love your ride reports and am so jelous of this trip i smiled at the rain and the speeding ticket ( i believe that they are sticklers on speeding there )

    As said brilliant RR and pics keep it coming and I hope there is no more rain for you
    Just a Prospect at the moment

  15. #15
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    Did you pay the ticket ?
    I got one in the camper van, binned it.
    They sent letters to me twice when I got back home, never paid it.
    The copper looked like Magnum.
    It was on the way to Milford Sound.

  16. #16
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    Click here to find out how to remove these ads

    That Chinese bloke looks small compared to a, err, regular sized Englishman....................

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