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Thread: I'm off in the morning...

  1. #1
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    I'm off in the morning...

    I have been given permission, the bike is legal so I'm off in the morning. I'm heading down to the very south of the South Island of New Zealand, before heading up to a friend in Te Anau.

    I shall try taking lots of photos, including the all important breakfasts...

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster Area View Post
    I have been given permission, the bike is legal so I'm off in the morning. I'm heading down to the very south of the South Island of New Zealand, before heading up to a friend in Te Anau.

    I shall try taking lots of photos, including the all important breakfasts...
    Good one .... enjoy

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  3. #3
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    Nice one... will be touring the South Island from mid January... but in a wobbly box with swmbo and my lad, who is in ashburton... looking forward to the pics.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster Area View Post
    I have been given permission
    You need permission to ride in NZ ?
    Or are you just one of these modern men who can't fart without first checking with The Wife ?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arsey View Post
    You need permission to ride in NZ ?
    Or are you just one of these modern men who can't fart without first checking with The Wife ?
    I'm playing the long game: I could go without permission, but....

  6. #6
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    Pictures, lots of pictures pls.

  7. #7
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    Enjoy

  8. #8
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    Sounds like a expert speaking,

    Quote Originally Posted by Arsey View Post
    You need permission to ride in NZ ?
    Or are you just one of these modern men who can't fart without first checking with The Wife ?

  9. #9
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    I think I'm read to go...

    Right, here we go.
    Much as I hate to admit it, this is the first multi day trip that I have done on my bike. I've been riding for nearly 25 years and have yet to live the dream of slinging some stuff in the panniers and heading for the sunset. This realisation leads to a few nerves: I have no idea if the campsites will be busy - the week before Christmas in the most beautiful part of the most beautiful country on Earth, why should scenic, cheap, easily accessible campsites be busy?

    The weather looks OK, I just need to stop to get some earplugs, petrol and possibly a gel seat cover.
    Wish me luck...

    p.s. photos will be taken on my Samsung phone. I have no real idea how to upload them, but will try my best.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Disaster Area View Post
    Right, here we go ....

    ..... I have no real idea how to upload them, but will try my best.
    Just go .... and do your best

    Report back here soon please ...

    Adventure.GS
    Tours, training or custom made earplugs ... it's all here.

    "If you want the rainbow then you have to put up with a little rain" Dolly Parton

  11. #11
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    Good on ye mate you go for it. Lovely place to ride in Gods own Country!
    Be looking forward to your story and fotos


    Verzonden vanaf mijn iPhone met Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    Day One

    I'm going to do this in stages, just in case I spend ages typing only to find that something has crashed or not loaded.

    Day 1 was spent following the Southern Scenic Route (https://www.southernscenicroute.co.nz/)

    I didn't set off until about 11 am, mostly because I didn't intend to do a huge number of kilometres every day, instead allowing myself time to stop and enjoy the scenery. I knew where I was going to spend the first night, so packed my sleeping bag, sleeping mat and tent, along with my stove and pots and for some unknown reason, my Swiss Army knife - more on that later.

    The first leg was only about 4 km - I stopped at McIver and Veitch, which has just been given the BMW dealership. This is great news as the previous main dealer was Christchurch, a five hour ride away. The reason for the stop was to invest in a gel seat cover which I had seen a couple of days before. This is probably the second best biking related purchase I've ever made - the first being a Sena headset. So, I fitted the gel seat on the forecourt, casting envious glances in the direction of the new 800 Adventure, fully kitted out with farkles galore, and then set off properly. To the petrol station.

    Stopping for petrol became a bit of a morning ritual. I wasn't too sure where I would be able to get petrol along the route, so figured that starting each day with a full tank would be the way forward. Tank topped up I hit the motorway and then joined the Southern Scenic Route.

    This is effectively a coast road that runs down the southern edge of the South Island. I have done the first bit before, albeit in the opposite direction. We actually take our students down to this beach as part of their geology field trip. My accompaniment for this first leg was a few episodes of Desert Island Discs that I had downloaded. The SSR winds its way down the coast to Taieri Mouth before cutting inland to Milton. Milton is a bit of a local joke - The Milton Hilton being the medium security prison. Its a one horse town that only exists because of the watersports on Lake Waihola.

    From Milton to Balclutha is a deadly dull stretch of highway. The weather was nice, the bike was humming along, the podcasts kept coming so all was good with the world. I stopped at Old Sod Cottage - partly to stretch my legs, partly because I had the citizens of UKGSER in mind. The cottage is kept as a museum of what conditions were like when Otago was frontier land and it was being farmed for the first time. Photos taken it was back on the bike to head into Balclutha for lunch.

    This is where I feel like I start to let down the readers. I had intended to regale people with tales of slabs of steak and chips you could surf on, but a slight miscalculation involving finances (the gel seat was more than I expected) meant that I went to the supermarket and got a packet of crisps. Still, crisps are good, so I was happily back on the bike for the rest of the afternoon. I took a diversion to Nugget Point, which has a fantastic lighthouse and seal colony, but it this is a 1 km walk and seeing as I was in bike gear and the sun was shining, I just went up to the viewing point which showed neither. Then back on the bike to Owaka (the place of the canoe). Here I faced a dilemma. Owaka has a couple of nice cafes, and is the nearest 'town' to where I would be camping, so should I buy some dinner and take it with me, or ride back into town?

    In the end, I bought some peaches, a ciabatta and a tin of spaghetti. Then I set off in completely the wrong direction, despite having been here at least four times. After about 10 km I hit the first gravel road of the ride. Considering how clueless I am on gravel I was taking it easy and caught up to a shepherd taking what seemed like hundreds of sheep for a walk. I followed along behind, quite grateful for the low speed over the rough surface.

    The campsite is one that I have used when taking Duke of Ed groups around this area, so I set up the tent and was grateful that I'd brought dinner with me, instead of having to go 15 km back down the gravel road. It was at this point that I realised that I had bought a tin of spaghetti without thinking about how I was going to open it. Then I remembered that I had thrown the Swiss Army knife into the pannier. Then it was into my sleeping bag, out with the Kindle and off to sleep.

    Although the day was on roads that I have done before, the ride was great. The weather was warm, roads quiet and I have to say that having a gel seat made the five or so hours in the saddle a pleasure. I stopped quite a few times to take photos - when I work out how to post them properly then I'll add them to the thread.

  13. #13
    I went there a few years back in a renta car. That crossing to Stewart island was rough. Love to do it on a bike one day. Have a good ride. Looking forward to seeing some pics.

  14. #14
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    Enjoy the rest of your holiday, you’ll soon learn that you can reduce the amount of crap you take by at least 50% when packing for longer trips in the future.

    As for posting pictures, I use Tapatalk and it’s totally pain free and reliable.

  15. #15
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    I spent six months in NZ last winter (here). Absolutely loved it. Sent my bike there (KTM 1190R) and just rode around with wifey. South Island and Skippers Canyon

  16. #16
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    Day Two

    If day one was a lovely day spent biking in the sunshine, then day two would turn out to be its evil twin brother.

    I was woken up at about 4 am by the rain hammering down onto the tent. That's not a problem as I am confident in my tent erecting skills, but it didn't escape me that it was a very small tent with no real room for getting changed into bulky biking kit. So while the rain continued to hammer down I dozed a little more before admitting defeat and reading my Kindle.

    The imagination can play tricks on you when you are hoping for the best, so I was reluctant to admit that the rain was easing, but sure enough, by about 9 am the sun had come out and I emerged into the day. I put on my kettle for some water and packed everything away. When I was sure that the sun was out for more than 10 minutes, I unpacked my tent and let it dry off a bit in the sunshine.

    I left the campsite about an hour later - reading my book whilst eating instant oats seemed like a civilised way to start the day, rather than rushing and disappearing into the distance in a haze of petrol fumes. Having mentioned that I'm not that confident on gravel, I took it very easy on the wet gravel as I tried to find my way out of campsite. I should mention at this point that my phone had no signal so my entire navigational resources was a slightly soggy pamphlet pinched from a tourist information centre. This had all of the main roads on, but covered the whole of the south of the South Island so the scale didn't lend itself to micro navigation. Eventually I hit the main tar sealed road and using my almost infallible sense of direction, turned away from Owaka, towards Papatowai.

    Papatowai is a tiny coastal village where I spent a week with the in-laws two years ago. I recognised the place immediately and after donning my wet weather gear I filled up with petrol. There is an expression that says 'There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices'. Well I was in for some bad weather. My riding gear was leather trousers and textile jacket. I wondered at the time of purchase why the jacket was so much cheaper than the others, and my curiosity was satisfied the first time I wore it in the rain. Using my boy scout training I had brought along my Mountain Equipment Gore Tex jacket so I put this on underneath the textile jacket and I can say that my bodge job worked exceptionally well.

    I filled up with petrol, or rather I tried to fill up with petrol. The small villages in NZ tend to have card operated 'pay at the pump' machines so that people can get fuel 24/7. I tried my bank card several times, before realising that I had another 24 hours until I got paid so it had to go on the credit card instead. With the tank topped up I set off again, heading south.

    The Southern Scenic route follows the coast very closely. When the sun is shining and the birds singing, it is a breathtakingly beautiful road. In the driving rain it is a slippery ribbon of a nightmare. It follows the coast so that you get breathtaking views and glimpses of a crystal shimmering sea that make the heart sing. However, when a gale force southerly is blowing, it makes your arse twitch every time a gust of wind tries to hurl you sideways into the path of oncoming stock trucks. Being the tip of the South Island, the next land mass is Antartica and southerly gales have plenty of time and space to gain energy and by the time that they strike landfall they were gusting strongly. At several points not only was I fearing for my life, I was also worried about my helmet blowing off as I could feel it being lifted off my head and pulling against the chin strap.

    I didn't stop until I got to Fortrose. The only thing in Fortrose is a cafe. My fingers were numb and I was shivering so I stopped and went in. I bought the largest coffee that I could and then sat there wondering how long I could sit before being asked to leave. Eventually the sun did come back out, so I used the facilities and girded my loins for the next installment of defying death on the road. I can't remember much about the ride into Invercargill, I suspect that I will need hypnotic regression therapy to uncover the suppressed memories but I pulled into the information centre and started to defrost and to let the adrenaline subside.

    Invercargill has two claims to fame. It is the home of Burt Munro and Bill Richardson's Transport World. I took the obligatory photo of the Burt Munro exhibit and had a wander around the Tuatara enclosure. Tuataras are native to NZ and are reptiles that look at you as if to say "I haven't evolved in 350 million years and I'm not about to start now". There were a couple basking in the sunshine - I could tell that they weren't stuffed as occasionally they'd move their heads, following you around the room, but I have to admit that I quite liked them and their evolutionary reluctance to leave the Pleistocene.

    The thought of spending the night in a damp tent with damp biking gear didn't really appeal so I used the free wifi to find a back packers in a small town called Tuatapere - the town which bills itself as 'the sausage capital of New Zealand'. This might conjure up images of ruddy faced butchers mixing their own unique Hillary Briss ways, but no, there isn't. In another stroke of navigational genius I borrowed the free map book and took photos of an alternative inland route to get there. I figured that the wind would be less life threatening the further I went from the coast and so I meandered through Groper's Bush to Otautau before turning down through Pukemaori and Piko Piko and reaching Tuatapere.

    I sauntered into the reception/restaurant/chip shop/bar to get the key to my room. I had booked a bed in a 4 bunk room so was expecting to share with German backpackers, but the lady said that she couldn't find my reservation. I did wonder if the reservation could be found in the same place as her missing teeth, but it turns out that I had booked the room for the following Tuesday. Not to worry, they had plenty of spaces and I ended up with the room to myself which was quite pleasant.

    After settling in - putting my panniers in the room - I went for a wander around the town. About three and a half minutes later I was back at the accommodation. There was nothing for it, but to buy some tinned spaghetti from the local shop and settle down to read my Kindle.

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