Mad Bastards on Bulldozers - South Is NZ
This report doesn't actually feature any dozers but it does show some of their works. This year's South Is trip was timed to take in one of the open weekends in the remote Clarence Reserve inland from Kaikoura, then the Dusty Butt 1000km ride in Otago the following weekend.
Unfortunately my girlfriend & usual riding partner Rosie had broken her ankle a few weeks before & had to cancel. Fortunately I found a few other capable (if slightly less fragrant) individuals to ride with along the way.
First up was a smooth sailing over the Cook Strait.
Then in Blenheim I met up with McCardigan & we swept down the coast road to Kaikoura.
At the Kahutara bridge we signed in with the nice bloke from DOC & rocked off into the Clarence Reserve up towards Blind Saddle. It's a huge area with about 100km of tracks but is normally closed to private vehicles apart from on a few weekends over summer.
The track is steep in places & requires a bit of concentration but the views just keep getting better.
The track was put in in the 70's. Well done that mad bastard.
Spot the dot-motorbike :D
At the top of the pass the rugged country of the Clarence valley unfolds before us. We have gone from not much above sea level to 1200m over a fairly short distance.
Eventually we get down into the Heron Stream & follow this down towards the Clarence River.
At the old Quail Flat homestead we stop for a chat with the ranger & fill our water bottles. The ranger said we had timed it right to be coming in mid afternoon as it had been scorchingly hot earlier in the day.
It's a remote place even today, with access at the mercy of slips, snow & river levels, but back in the 1800's when there were virtually no roads into here it must have been unimaginably isolated.
We struck off north down the river, the track got considerably more gnarly after the turnoff to Muzzle Station. McCardigan had a bit of a whoops on a climb but we got him going again with a push.
The blue borage was flowering nicely.
Our destination is in sight, the Goose Flat hut. It's about 25km down from Quail Flat but mostly quite slow going. It took us about 3 1/2 hrs to get in from the main road inculding breaks & photo stops.
There are 2 couples in 4wd's in residence already but there is plenty of room in the 12 bunk hut. We crack a cask of red & settle in to watch the sunset, enhanced by the Aussie bushfires it seems.
It was a very pleasant evening & a few rums followed the red wine down nicely :1drink
Stand by for more.
Wow, another place I haven't seen yet. Great report, I hope you will not drag this out like your main character does with his report :D
WAY NICE! I'd like to ride there.
Amazing scenery, looking forward to this one!
Thanks for sharing.... Will be landing in NZ in just a few weeks! looking forward to it!
I REALLY enjoyed my soujourn into the reserve a few years ago & had hoped to get in this summer. Oh, well, have to live vicariously...:D. Photos do not do the in road justice - it's steep, & the drop offs spectacular. All the little fords on the Clarence side around the Seymour & Herring Stream are a heap of fun too
The next morning I went for a spin down the remaining 6km of track to the North-East while Mccardigan relaxed at the hut. It was rougher again & had only seen bike & quad traffic for a while, no 4wds. I crossed Dubious Creek (yes I walked that one 1st :lol3) & got to Stony Flat, the end of the line.
I admired the mighty Mt Tapuae-O-Uenuku (Tappy to his friends) for a bit then buzzed back to Goose Flat.
We got on the track back out the way we had come. After cruising ahead a bit I realised I had lost Chris. The further I went back the more worried I got so I turned up the pace a bit only to have my long suffering panniers finally break a strap. After ziptieing them back on I carried on back & was relieved to find an upright McCardigan. The R80 wasn't in such a happy position though.
A bit of a wobble & a badly placed rut had shot it over the side & into a thorny briar bush. We removed some weight then after much pushing & pulling & sweating & revving got it upright & back on the track.
We followed a slightly different route up the first part of the Heron stream & I popped in to the historic Black Spur Hut for a look.
Then it was up & up around the bluffs & switchbacks to Blind Saddle again.
Looking at the showers moving into the valley below we decided we had timed our exit about right. Some of the steep clay sections of track we had done would be all but impassable in the wet.
After signing out at the road end we rode southwest on the delightfully twisty inland Kaikoura rd to Waiau. After a beer at the pub we installed ourselves in a cabin at the campground. The Waiau Motor Camp gets a special mention for the really friendly owners, priority motorcycle parking, great value, & nicely looked after facilities. Then it was back to the pub for a very tasty dinner & a few more ales. :1drink
More tomorrow :wink:
MAGIC!! Great yarn and fantastic pics.
Thanks for posting!
Great stuff Clint keep it coming :thumb
Awsome report and pictures! Thanks for sharing. :clap
The next day McCardigan split for Christchurch to get his laptop fixed while I made my way to my sister's new place at Stavely via the upholsterer in Woodend to get my pannier strap sewn up. I started out on the scenic route however, taking a few backroads south.
I crossed over the Lowry Peaks range on Kaiwara Rd which is a neat wee diversion & do-able on any adv bike.
On the eastern side the road was almost lined with wild apple trees. Mostly not quite ripe yet but I found some that were just nicely tart.
After Woodend & a beer tasting at the Brew Moon while my pannier was being fixed I cruised down the inland scenic route to Stavely where my earthquake refugee Sister & Bro-inlaw have just bought a cool house on a few acres. My Mum was visiting also so it was great to catch up.
My plans of exploring the hills in the area were washed out by the rain that came down in buckets all the next day, so I opted for playing with the nephews, reading on the couch in front of the fire (yes it currently is the middle of summer here :bluduh) & fitting up my new tyre that had been delivered to there.
It is the first Motoz tyre I have tried & the Tractionator HT performed really well for the rest of the trip & still has a ride or 2 left in it.
Was sitting here wondering where Lowry Peaks Range and Kaiwara Rd are so looked it up. Your bike is in almost the same location as my old 950 in my Avatar. On one of our favourite day loops we call the CCC (Cheviot, Culverden, Christchurch).
Yo, same spot again....sweet little cut-across from the coast :clap
Good RR, SWEET scenery!
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