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Thread: Kaikōura

  1. #1
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    Kaikōura

    3rd March 2017

    I sleep well and wake just before 0800. I can hear a vaguely familiar droning noise and shuffle over to the window to see three Tiger Moths in formation flying over the town...



    I take a couple of snaps, but without a shoulder-launched telephoto lens, they are just going to be dots...

    I think about this as I get showered and kitted up - I had assumed that seeing this country by motorcycle was probably the best way possible. I feel my ace has been trumped...



    I pack the bike - it's a short trip today, over to the east coast to the town of Kaikōura, which was subjected to a large quake in November last year, which took out the coastal road and led to all the congestion and road repairs I have been experiencing.

    On the way out of town I see this old boy on the back of a trailer...



    I can remember my Dad driving home in a brand new one in about 1964 or so...



    I saw one heading the other way a few days ago, but wasn't able to get the camera out in time to take a snap...



    I turn up a gravel road towards the grass airstrip that serves the town - this little tail-dragger was taxying to take off...



    A pair of Tiger Moths, with a Cessna (camera plane, most likely) is flying over, but - alas - they don't seem to have plans to land here.



    I watch the little tail dragger take off and then continue on my route...



    This is new country for me and it's spectacular from the start...



    ...quite different from the soft hills and valleys of the Lewis Pass...



    Hey look - same type of old bus I saw yesterday, but converted into a motorhome...



    The hills are more angular and the vegetation is mostly grass, by the look of it...

    I know you'll get bored with reading this before I get bored with typing it - it's a perfect riding day again...



    There's no wind...



    ...and the temperature is perfect...



    At the splendidly named Mouse Point, Bettie turns me left...



    ...and steers me towards Rotherham...



    I like the groupings of traditional Maori names with a random British name interjected in the middle - it's something unique to New Zealand...



    The Rotherham Hotel catches my eye...



    ...and I get a pot of tea and a spot of breakfast...



    Suitably refreshed, I set off again and find myself on some minor roads, twisting through some beautiful hill country...



    The irrigators are working full tilt - the farmer is clearly expecting a dry and warm day (he is not destined for disappointment)...



    I stop on the bridge on the approach to Waiau and try to capture the epic panorama from there - as usual, photos are a poor substitute for witnessing something yourself.

    Apart from those photos taken by specialist cameras designed to inspect the inside of sewer pipes. I imagine they are an excellent substitution for seeing that for yourself.



    My 'old car' antennae are twitching and, sure enough, I find a rich seam of nostalgia at a garage in Waiau...



    This is a garage where Lindsay (standing), the owner and head mechanic, fixes things - rather than just fits new parts. This type of garage used to be common in my youth in the UK, but they are dying out. Lindsay has a lot of old cars in the back yard...



    On the 'easily reclaimable' pile is this Escort - I used to drive one of these as a Panda Car as a young copper in the mid 1970s...



    Lots of points available for anyone who can identify anything else!











    On my way out of town I pass this odd-looking church



    It's fenced off and must have been damaged in one of the earthquakes - it looks in a sorry state...



    I'm now headed for Parnassus and Cheviot, south of Kaikōura, but still on the eastern coastal highway. The road climbs briefly out of Waiau and there is a good view of most of the town...



    The temperature is climbing nicely - still no wind, though...



    This is quite a difficult road to ride, as there is evidence of a lot of recent work, which has left irregular and unpredictable areas of loose gravel on the surface. The only way to negotiate it safely is to cut your speed and pay very close attention to the road surface...



    Now and again I stop to get some snaps of the views...



    ...and then continue bumbling down the valley roads...



    ...encountering very little traffic...



    ...and managing to avoid...



    ...nearly all of the gravel...



    I'm turned left onto Highway 1 heading north...



    ...and, after some great twisty bits...



    ...eventually catch sight of the Pacific...



    Just as the road is about to run along the coast, I come across the first evidence of the earthquake damage from November last year - I am diverted from the normal over bridge, which is being rebuilt...



    I continue north - noticing that several hotels and cafés seem to be closed. Whether this is just normally off-season or a reflection of what the lack of access from the north has had on businesses, I don't know.



    There's a fresh, briny smell on the wind (not that there's any wind) and it's a very pleasant ride...



    The railway line, which runs inshore of the road, is covered in rust and clearly hasn't seen a train in months. The entrances to the rail tunnels are blocked off...



    In fact, the rails themselves are buried further on...



    Road tunnels are open, however...



    I saw a lot of ISO containers in Christchurch - there are loads more here. They have become the go-to solution for quick, transportable emergency storage and shelter - and also (I think in this case) providing protection from an unstable hillside...



    The traffic is stopped for ten minutes or so while a crew knocks down a few big rocks and then clears them from the road. I spend the time taking more pics...



    Kaikōura comes into view - it's built on Half-Moon Bay...



    I follow Bettie's directions to the motel, arriving at about 1230.



    I'm way too early and the room won't be ready for an hour. No problem - I check in and then continue north...



    About 10km north, I come across a helicopter operations site on the right hand side of the road. It is extremely busy, with several landings in quick succession...



    The helicopters are carrying water buckets - so I assume there is a brush or forest fire nearby. There is no sign of any smoke, though...



    About two or three kilometres further up the road...



    ...the Road Closed sign marks the start of the major construction going on to remake the coastal road. I ask a contractor if I can get any closer to see the damage, but it's off limits for safety purposes - fair enough...



    I make my way back into town and fill up with fuel. I meet Kelvin, who rides a Triumph Explorer, but seems a good chap otherwise...



    He gives me a pointer to a good pub overlooking the bay to go and have lunch. He's about to knock off for the day and go and get on his bike - he says he might see me there...



    I follow Kelvin's directions, turning left through the centre of town...



    ...which has nice civic artwork...



    ...and a strange basket-like building...



    I take a slow ride along the seafront...



    I find the Pier Hotel and settle down on an outside table with a chilly pint of lager shandy (don't judge me), and watch the world go by for a bit...



    It's a nice spot...



    After a while (no sign of Kelvin), I finish my drink and take a long slow ride back through town to my motel. My room is small, but perfectly formed. I turn the AC to eleven and start uploading 300 pictures.



    Wi-Fi is a bit slow - this is going to take a while - might go out for a pint or two...

    Pretty good way to spend a day, I reckon...

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

  2. #2
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    From Young1 on ADVrider:

    Quote Originally Posted by young1, post: 31679913, member: 48905
    The helicopters with the monsoon buckets are being used to try and wash the unstable rocks etc off the cliffs above the road. These are the cliffs that have had major movements in the quake and are quite unstable. By using helicopters and water it is a lot safer than trying to do it from the road.
    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  3. #3
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    I suspect those Tiger Moths have a close association with Mandeville Airfield - you probably rode close by it a few days back!

    http://www.croydonaircraft.com/CAC.html
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  4. #4
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    The Rotherham you nearly visited is certainly nicer than "our" Rotherham
    Just a Prospect at the moment

  5. #5
    Really enjoying these !

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by redrick View Post
    The Rotherham you nearly visited is certainly nicer than "our" Rotherham
    The girl who cooked my breakfast said every customer from the UK says this... 🤣
    We will never be here again - have a good look around

  7. #7
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    Fantastic ride report, both pics and words, you really bring it to life, thanks. I've just spent all my spare time from the past couple of days catching up on all your threads from this trip so far, brilliant stuff.

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