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Old 02-27-2013, 02:57 PM   #16
ADVGD
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Originally Posted by Haroon View Post

A special remembrance for the Lada Niva- Once upon a time I sold Lada cars for a living. Oh boy, they were hard to sell….


Many have been sold here in New Zealand, in regards to their reliability, they are widely known as the finest heavy-grade paperweights in our country

I am enjoying the pics and vids, looking forward to the next installment
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:15 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by ADVGD View Post
Many have been sold here in New Zealand, in regards to their reliability, they are widely known as the finest heavy-grade paperweights in our country

I am enjoying the pics and vids, looking forward to the next installment

Thanks ADVGD.
Heavy grade paperweights. The Niva was indeed built like a tank, but the car made for Russian summers & winters was having a tough time in a place with ambient temperatures of 45-50 deg C for about 5-6 months in a year- Sultanate of Oman, making my selling of this car a tough act!
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:19 AM   #18
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Day-4 18 December (Queenstown to Coronet’s Peak to Queenstown)



Assorted ride videos from Day 4










The original plan today was to do a long ride to Tea Anau and visit the 12000 year old caves and the view the luminous shimmer of the thousands of ‘glow-worms’ that reside inside. If time permits also planned to ride further to Milford Sound. HOWEVER, all plans were paralyzed as we learnt from a tourist guide that the road in that direction has been temporarily closed due to falling debris/small landslide. Ofcourse, with another glorious sunny day awaiting us, after a ‘handsome’ breakfast at the Mercure, armed with a backpack, drinking water and other stuff we decide to turn regular ‘tourists’ and first take a gondola (cable car) ride up the mountain for some breathtaking views of Queenstown that is nestled between mountains on one side and the massive Lake Wakatipu on the other.
















Going up on the Gondola



The standard curios shop on the peak








Replica Gondola…






For some more serious adventure








We then visit the adjacent bird park to view the local NZ birds. The star attraction is the famed Kiwi bird, but being a nocturnal creature its under a dim red light in a dark enclosure we get to see it (seems they are blind to the color red!). Naturally no photography allowed. With a variety of other birds, we also get to see the dreaded Kea parrot that has an innocent look but a famous reputation in the NZ Alpine region for tearing up motorcycle seats & car wiper blades etc....I was forewarned normal motorcycle insurance does not cover this winged hooligan’s destructive hobby!




Tearing up motorcycle seats is his favourite hobby- The Kea Parrot.













After our fun with nature, we return back to Queenstown city center for a nice lunch of Turkish kebabs in one of the malls there. A relatively busy mall in NZ, forgot the name.


Making full use of the ‘Reserved Parking’ for our sweet Naomi close to a Police Station












After lunch we were planning to do the nice ride to Arrowtown, when Farzana surprisingly locates “Coronet’s Peak” on the map which is on the same route and asks me why not go there. Although she is frightened of heights the biker in me said shhhh if she missed thinking about the consequences of the ride, I better not remind her now!!! Wicked me… So I instantly accepted her wonderful offer. Mr GPS however seemed unhappy and would just not recognize such a place. I said, lets do it the old fashioned way and followed the map heading on the scenic route 6 we pass the high adventure jetboat ride spot and a few kms later deviate left to Coronets Peak. The road starts to slowly wind and climb thru thick foliage, but gradually the tree canopy vanishes and the real beauty of the ride begins with beautiful vistas of the valley below to the right.



Another rider on the S10




















The crazy jet boat that does 360 deg turns during its blasting run thru the river


















The ride down from Coronet's Peak










As the pics & video here are evident, with each twist and curve the ride just got better & better. I was lost in an absolutely marvelous bit of interaction between man & machine, while the picturesque mountain road provided the all inviting playground. Leaning & weaving back & forth with each curve, counter-steering, down shifting, high revving, curve after curve, switchbacks, the RT was simply like aladin’s lamp eagerly waiting for my every command. It was an electrifying ride on a beautiful sunny day. Suddenly I realized the intercom had gone silent….oh oh I knew someone must be feeling why she went and voluntarily became the sacrificial lamb! As we reached the top, the large look out is not paved and hence I had to ride the RT carefully on the lose gravel and park it. Being a ski-resort, the place is deserted in summer. As we are enjoying the spectacular views of the plains below, I asked my lieutenant about the ride, and she softly replies, I knew it would be tough for me but I did not want that to hinder your enjoyment factor. Now isn’t that an understanding wife….Thank you dear.





















After spending some time there we start our return journey downwards. The ride is again a delight to the senses but one has to be careful due to the general nature of NZ tarmac which is loosely compacted, thereby leaving small debris on curves & switchbacks which can take away the much needed traction. We come down and merge onto the Rte 6 and head to Arrowtown, built on the banks of the Arrow river, which was a gold mining town back in the day with a rich historic past, but now is a quaint & charming hamlet. We visit the local Lakes District Museum that is packed full of intriguing information revealing the early social & cultural history of the Wakatipu region. At the basement studio, Mrs & Mr Adventure also have ourselves snapped in the bygone era!



































This nice lady sold some of the best ever tasting garden fresh cherries







We head back to Queenstown thru Arthers Point on some wonderfully well manicured tarmac of Rte 6 with nice curves & long sweepers. End the day with a mouth watering veggie dinner at a nice Indian restaurant called Tandoori Palace in downtown.







With 3 million people & 60 million sheep in NZ, another obligatory pic














New Zealand’s finest..









Short riding day- So distance travelled 84 kms

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Old 02-28-2013, 05:28 PM   #19
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I am very much enjoying the ride report. Thanks for posting.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:42 PM   #20
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While living in NZ I was always startled by how few bikes you encounter on those magnificent roads. South Island is just wonderful riding country. Excellent pics!
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:43 PM   #21
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Haroon


So pleased you and your wife had a fantastic holiday here!



Shane
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by riverman View Post
I am very much enjoying the ride report. Thanks for posting.
Thanks riverman. Glad you are enjoying it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YukonTracker View Post
While living in NZ I was always startled by how few bikes you encounter on those magnificent roads. South Island is just wonderful riding country. Excellent pics!
Thanks YukonTracker. You are absolutely right. South Island is pure riding country with empty roads. And we only saw about 10 bikes all thru our 7 days of riding, of which 2 bikes were from the same rental outfit we rented from, they were Aussie riders.

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Haroon
So pleased you and your wife had a fantastic holiday here!



Shane
Thanks Shane. You have an absolutely beautiful country and more importantly I & wife were blown away by the warmth & simplicity of New Zealanders we met everywhere.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:47 AM   #23
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Day-5 19 December (Queenstown to Fox Glacier)



Assorted ride videos from Day 5










After another heavy breakfast, we tank up the bike and leave Queenstown & its wonderful memories behind to move north westerly and make our way towards the west coast of the South Island. We have to backtrack to Wanaka climbing the steep Alpine Route.


















After Wanaka, we continue on Rte 6 and branch left onto another scenic road where Lake Hawea gives us company on the right for some distance after which the picturesque Lake Wanaka accompanies us on our left. The twisty curvy road along the lake is a bikers delight, however there are bold warnings in place specially for motorcyclists due to the very high crash rates recorded on this beautiful but treacherous stretch of asphalt. Infact, I & wife said a prayer or two at the start of this section of road to make sure the fun remains under control at all times. On many of those tight & twisty stretches, while its enjoyment mode for me as the rider, I could imagine it would be a different experience for the pillion rider who has to lean & weave with the rider, with no handlebars to hold on and an increasing heart rate means its hug-your-hubby-tight mode for her!!
















Now thats not a warning you want to take lightly!

















Minor Landslide and another roadside attraction









Proceeding further we break for a quick Italian lunch pit-stop at a roadside café in Makarora, where there is a private airstrip right across the road from where we parked. We continue further thru lot of thick beautifully wooded area and subsequently tackle the amazing Haast Pass after which we have a good number of really long arrow-straight stretches where I blast open the throttle inspite of being aware NZ’s finest have an almost zero tolerance for speeding during the Christmas season.



































We continue to cruise on before we briefly come face to face with the blue waters of the mighty & magnificent Tasman Sea on our left. After that our Rte 6 deviates a little inland passing Lake Moeraki, Lake Paringa & Jacobs River before dropping us off into the small & silent town of Fox Glacier, our base for tonight.


















The trademark leaf of the Kiwis










Some tourists seem to have left a ‘lasting impression’!
















We check into the Westhaven B&B and quickly unload our panniers and immediately head to see the glacier (or what is left of it now). Its just out of town, but the last 300 odd meters is pure gravel to the parking area and I am careful with the RT with so much of Tupperware to take care….. I look around and fortunately don’t see any signs of the dreaded Kea Parrot a.k.a Mr. Seat shredder…From the parking lot its an interesting 2-3 km trek by foot thru rocky terrain to the base of the glacier surrounded by bare razor sharp mountains on all sides. Its a scene to behold. Here we ask a Japanese gentleman to take our picture and soon learn that he, Mr. Sato is the tour guide of a visiting Japanese group. More on Sato-san later…










Warning against two different kinds of crooks

















The glacier, rather what is left of it after global warming…







From the glacier we head to the nearby Lake Matheson which is renowned to produce the perfect mirror image of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman in its still waters. There we came across some professional photographers with their high-tech DSLR camera equipment, filters, heavy duty tripod, insect protection masks etc trying to get the most crispy pics of the place, but Mrs & Mr Adventure decided our simple point & shoot camera should do it for us. They gave us a funny look that reminded me of an old Indian Fevicol adhesive ad where a classy gentleman with high-tech fishing gear is waiting with bait but no catch, while a simpleton nearby applies some adhesive on a stick, dips it in water and pulls it out with some fish stuck to it and walks away a content man…











Its closing time and as we prepare to leave, Mr. Sato-san and his group are also here! Anyways, we bid farewell to him, watch a magnificent sunset near Lake Matheson and hurry back into town and settle for a nice local dinner at this restaurant with wonderful ambience called the ‘Last Kitchen’.










Its been a long tiring day and naturally we just drop flat into bed and call it a day.

Distance travelled 364 kms
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Haroon screwed with this post 03-02-2013 at 09:39 AM
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:27 AM   #24
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Very nice Haroon, excellent report from you 2 as usual.
I like you keep on renting the 1200 RT, that bike really grows on you, doesn't it?
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:32 AM   #25
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Very nice Haroon, excellent report from you 2 as usual.
I like you keep on renting the 1200 RT, that bike really grows on you, doesn't it?
Thanks panzerrocket. Nice to hear from you. Its been a while since our Alps trip. Time flies.

The love affair started a long while ago with my own R1100RT and it has only got stronger with the 1200. Incredible machine for our riding/touring needs. Although the K1600GTL we used for the US trip was like a hot mistress, the RT is my true love
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:36 PM   #26
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Day-6 20 December (Fox Glacier to Greymouth)

Assorted ride videos from Day 6










After a simple breakfast served in the room, we loaded up & fuelled the bike and made a late start. We continue to head northwards along the west coast accompanied by an old friend- the Rte 6, which is determined to stay with us for a while.














Along the way we pass Franz Josef, Whataroa, Harihari with lots of beautiful & thick foliage flanking either side of the road. The roads are mostly straight with a few twists & turns thrown in to make up for an enjoying ride for yours sincerely & his long haired general who is busy with her cameras.



































We continue further and land at Ross where we stop for a quick bite at the Roddy Nugget Cafe. While I was busy looking at the menu, Mrs Biker suddenly whispers, “you are going to really like the adjacent place”! I turn around and to my surprise I see thru a locked glass door a nice collection of old British bikes, WOW! Sadly the place is closed, but I try and take as many pictures I can thru the glass door. The old classics were a feast to my eyes. Some restored, modified, chopped, some work in progress and some left alone. Seems half my hunger was already fed!












Bikes from Great Britain













After a ‘hearty’ feast on food & bikes, riding further we pass Hokitika, an elegant little town that looked like one big perfect Hollywood movie set. Rte 6 continues ahead taking us to the town of Kumara, where it crosses over the Taramakau river thru a unique narrow single lane bridge sharing space with a functional railway track running thru its middle!! Naturally the train has a right of way and you better watch out for any oncoming train before entering the bridge… With the wide sidecases of the RT, I decide it’s a better idea to ride bang in the middle of the rail track rather than the sides. But with wet tracks due to the rain, it was a careful maneuver to get the bike over the slippery railroad track into the middle of the rail track.
















The unique single track rail & road bridge!







A few kms after Kumara we take a side trip to the right to Shantytown, which is a re-creation of an old gold-rush town from the 19th century with attractions including a running steam train, gold panning, chinatown, sawmill, holographic theater, museum and church.
































After a good hour of living in the past, we get back on the saddle and head further north to Greymouth. Although it’s the halt over point for today, we cross Greymouth and continue on another spectacular piece of tarmac hugging the mighty Tasman Sea on the left with some jaw dropping vistas and a ride to remember for a long time.
















After crossing Greymouth, this heartwarming ride takes us thru Runanga, Barrytown and deposits us at one of the prominent attractions of the southern hemisphere - The Pancake Rocks & Blowholes. After parking our bike, whom do we see again…? Mr. Sato and his merry band!



































Video of the ride from Greymouth to Punakaiki






We soon embark on the 20 minute well marked pedestrian loop walk that takes us thru this attraction. The spectacular rocks look like giant pancakes stacked on top of each other, while the blowholes are a series of rock cave formations thru which at high tide the water gushes & splaches creating a blow-up effect. The sights & sounds of this place is a heavenly treat to the senses. From the high vantage point, simply watching the massive Tasman Sea in all its glory itself is so gratifying.

























After this soul soothing experience, we head back to Greymouth on the same beautiful road (it was like one giant action replay) and check into the Kingsgate Hotel in Greymouth.












We end another wonderful day with a nice dinner from Room Service. While my lady enjoyed a Fresh Garden Salad, yours sincerely got adventurous and feasted on a yummy Venison Pie (for those not familiar, that’s deer meat). Yeah in India, deer being a game animal I can be arrested for that! Off to bed zzzzzzzzzzzz.





A standard fixture in many hotels we stayed. One tap for hot & one for cold. I still don’t get it, how do you mix them!!!!






Distance travelled 279 kms

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Old 03-02-2013, 04:58 AM   #27
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Day-7 21 December (Greymouth to Christchurch) Last day & final leg



Assorted ride videos from Day 7






At the breakfast table we are again surprised to see Mr Sato and I am sure he was equally intrigued by this cat & mouse game…After a simple breakfast, we check out of the Kingsgate Hotel. Well the King & Royalty have long gone from the hotel’s services and this hotel was one big disappointment. Old rusted fittings in room, exorbitant internet charges coupled with rude behavior of staff made it a terrible choice on our otherwise very enjoyable trip. On our global trips, I & wife stay in a variety of accommodations, mostly decent budget ones with an occasional luxury selection as well, so we are normally very accommodating, but this place really sucked.

To make a louzy mood even more louzier, there are dark & heavy clouds all across the sky! Today’s highlights were to include tackling the astounding Arthurs Pass climbing more than 900 meters thru the scenic Arthurs Pass National Park and then making our descend back to the Canterbury region and slowly inch our way back to Christchurch. However, the rain gods had other plans…they decided to throw around their weight (at the wrong time for us!).

The route took us back thru Parao and then crossing the Taramakau river on the unique single lane railway-on-road bridge. By now as anticipated there is a small drizzle. From Kumara Junction we branch left on Route 73 that will take us towards Christchurch. We then pass the town of Kumara, which used to be a prominent gold mining center in the late 1800s but now stands as a bleak reminder of its glory days with very few inhabitants visible today.



















As we are progressing on the ride I see the drizzle getting heavier with every passing kilometer while the ambient temperature is also significantly dropping. A suddenly look at the dashboard reveals that my lousy mood in the morning has contributed to another unwarranted concern- I forgot to fill up my tank and the RT’s fuel gauge is telling me ‘dumbo find a gas station soon’! After leaving Greymouth I haven’t seen a single gas station and the map does not show much civilization ahead till Otira which is still a long way off. I am a little concerned but keep it to myself. A few kms later suddenly I spot a gas station and stop but things don’t look too promising- firstly its a self service pump where another couple in a car are already having difficulty as the petrol filler meter’s screen has gone kaput. Secondly there is no premium gas…wonder how nice it was back in the day when there was just PETROL!! As I am wondering my next move I get a calm question on the intercom from the missus ‘Are we very low on gas?’ Now tell me, since I goofed up due to my bad mood this morning a monosyllable answer of mine will still attract some more ‘uncomfortable & anxious’ questions from her, right?? So I diplomatically say, just making sure……which is met with a long silence and that tells a lot! Anyway, with no other choice, I just ride on in the rain, thru a scenic route though, for another 50kms before we reach Otira. As we enter this village, we see a few folks sitting on the porch of a café enjoying the rain I guess. We decide to stop for a hot coffee. We learn the café and the whole village of 40 houses & attached farm lands are for sale! Sorry thanks, if the village or anything else is even given free to me today, all I am concerned for the moment is gas!!













We get back on the bike and soon start our ascend onto the spectacular Arthurs Pass amidst pouring rain. With tight bends, switchbacks and steep ascends, I had to be careful on the wet road, but that did not stop me from enjoying the ride with our ever trusty RT, which surely is a fine sport touring machine. The scenery was mind blowing, but the low light conditions as well as some water on the camera lens coupled with fog in parts of the pass sadly washed out our pictures completely. Anyways atop the Pass we find a gas station, café & store at the tiny town of Arthurs Pass but they have a funny procedure. First I have to give them my passport or ID card as security. Then they switch open the pump. I go & fill in and then get back to the store & pay them for the gas and take my passport back! whatever, I better not complain today..….




















With a full tank we then start our downward descend and as we are now heading thru some more scenic surroundings towards the plains of the Canterbury region, we are getting a moving glimpse of typical New Zealand weather where one can experience all 4 seasons in a single day! Across the plains far ahead we can see the sun slowly shinning its way towards us with clearer skies, while one look behind us and the dark clouds are still as intimidating as it has been. So New Zealand weather is dancing gangnam style I guess!!














As we are riding into sunny side of new Zealand, we see an oncoming rider & his pillion on a BMW F800 heading towards Arthurs Pass and as I give out the customary biker wave to them, my wife murmurs on the intercom, ‘We have two more riders who are going to see a wet & foggy Arthurs Pass, so feels much better now’. As we rumble along, the roads for the next 30-40 kms are again a bikers playground with long fast sweepers, rolling hills, farmlands on either side, streams (with the typical one-way rule bridges of NZ) and to top it all, we have beautiful sunlight on & off glazing everything around us.
























Some more kms of blissful riding brings us to the town of Springfield, where we stop for lunch at the Yellow Shack Café feasting on some seriously delicious homemade chicken pies & pastry. A few minutes later we are joined by a riding couple and to our amusement they were the same riders on the F800 whom we had waved earlier. They are the father & daughter duo of Paul & Katherine from Australia touring the South Island. Surprisingly they have also rented from the same place we rented our darling RT Naomi. We had a good chat on touring & other aspects of biking in NZ & Australia and then went our separate ways.




















Aussie riders, Paul & daughter Katherine






We cruise along further on Route 73 passing Sheffield, Kirwee & Yaldhurst getting closer to our approach to Christchurch. The Canterbury region is mostly flat with lots of farming along the road. The green carpet on either side of the road is a treat to the eyes and very soothing.



















Since the International Antarctic Center is located out of town, wifey suggested why not finish that today since we still had some time on hand and anyway have the bike at our disposal. Mr GPS faithfully takes us there. In all our riding gear, Mrs & Mr Adventure could have easily been mistaken for authentic Antarctic researchers and hence we decided it was best to hire a locker and leave our gear there! We take a bargain ticket that enables us to visit the displays with the limited time available. Especially with the amount of untiring research happening on that continent in hostile weather conditions, it was a thoroughly entertaining & educational experience with the Blizzard Room which mimics the brute force of mother nature in sub-zero temperatures in Antarctica making it the highlight. Although our blizzard experience lasts a few minutes, the actual thing sometimes lasts non-stop for upto 3 days on the icy continent. Well worth the visit.










Yes, the last one on the wish list is my hand writing!













With specially provided clothing for the Antarctic Blizzard experience








This is the permanent US aircraft hanger at Christchurch airport (opp the Antarctic center) from where man & cargo are transported to the icy continent








Continues in next post.....
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Old 03-02-2013, 05:00 AM   #28
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Continued from previous post






From the Antarctic center we head for The Grange Motel, which is our final accommodation in Christchurch. But as we entered downtown, there were lots & lots of detours (due to the reconstruction of downtown Christchurch after the earthquake), the GPS went into tipsy mode & took us on a merry go round trip bringing us back 3 times to where we started!! Always remember ‘Man was not put on earth to ask for directions”!! So we ignore the GPS and somehow manage to hop, step, jump and cross the finish line reaching at our Motel! A special moment indeed as that’s when the soul satisfying & hallucinating ride in the South Island of New Zealand has successfully culminated for me & Farzana. Later we went out to a nearby mall, had our dinner & picked up some groceries from the supermarket for our cooking needs for the coming 2 days and finished and this day with a high level of contentment.












Earthquake effects- This building like many others are being pulled down for safety reasons




The Grange motel

















Now you know the BMW RT can also be used for grocery purchases…..






Yes, thumbs up on completing yet another wonderful dream ride





Ofcourse, for me the trip is not complete as I still have another 25kms of riding enjoyment to return the bike to the rental shop, which I do the next morning. As a bonus, Mike as promised earlier gives me the keys to their Triumph Bonneville T100 that belongs to his wife Carole, to take it for a nice ride outside their place on the countryside. The bike really impressed me inspite of the fact that I was just coming off an absolutely marvelous sport touring bike like the RT. With Triumph planning to set up a factory in India, I think I will sometime in the near future add a triumph Bonnie to my stable. A very enjoyable steed.


My smile should say it all for my short rendezvous with the Bonnie T100




Bye bye my sweetheart Naomi (she was a wonderful companion on this trip)





With this we conclude our dream ride in New Zealand. It has been our pleasure to share this with you & thank you for coming along on our journey. Pulling the curtains down and here is team ‘Ride for Passion’ signing off.

Ride safe.

Haroon & Farzana
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Old 03-02-2013, 06:54 AM   #29
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Great report!

Thanks for taking us along on your adventure! I was in New Zealand two years ago - EXACTLY two years ago, come to think of it (see RR in sig) - and I've been hoarding my frequent-flyer miles so I can get back there. Looks like we hit several of the same spots, though in opposite directions. You were luckier than I, weather-wise, at least for Mt. Cook and lots of the other attractions. But rain or shine, NZ is the place to be.

Thanks again!
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Old 03-02-2013, 11:34 PM   #30
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Thanks for taking us along on your adventure! I was in New Zealand two years ago - EXACTLY two years ago, come to think of it (see RR in sig) - and I've been hoarding my frequent-flyer miles so I can get back there. Looks like we hit several of the same spots, though in opposite directions. You were luckier than I, weather-wise, at least for Mt. Cook and lots of the other attractions. But rain or shine, NZ is the place to be.

Thanks again!
Skyguy, many thanks and glad you liked our ride.
Absolutely spot on. New Zealand is surely one among the best motorcycle destinations except for the loooong flt from most parts of the world. Your trip was absolutely fascinating. I & wife just went thru your RR all over and you have a brilliant writing style with good dozes of enjoyable humor thrown in. BTW, we also use the Wolfman Rainier tankbag as in your pics- a fantastic piece of touring luggage. As for homeo medicine, we are big fans of it.
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