Mad Bastards on Bulldozers - South Is NZ

Discussion in 'Epic Rides' started by clintnz, Jan 22, 2013.

  1. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,618
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    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.

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    Then in Blenheim I met up with McCardigan & we swept down the coast road to Kaikoura.

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    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.

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    The track is steep in places & requires a bit of concentration but the views just keep getting better.

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    The track was put in in the 70's. Well done that mad bastard.

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    Spot the dot-motorbike :D

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    The blue borage was flowering nicely.

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    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.

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    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.

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    It was a very pleasant evening & a few rums followed the red wine down nicely :1drink

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    Stand by for more.
    Clint
    #1
  2. Kokopelli

    Kokopelli Yeah, right!

    Joined:
    May 2, 2003
    Oddometer:
    4,741
    Location:
    Rapaura
    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
    #2
  3. Bruce H

    Bruce H Bruce H

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2006
    Oddometer:
    161
    Location:
    Oregon Coast
    WAY NICE! I'd like to ride there.
    #3
  4. poolman

    poolman Gnarly Poolside Adv.

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    Oddometer:
    757
    Location:
    Darnestown, MD
    Amazing scenery, looking forward to this one!
    #4
  5. Radioman

    Radioman Moto rider

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
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    Location:
    HOME (at least for now)
    Thanks for sharing.... Will be landing in NZ in just a few weeks! looking forward to it!

    :ricky
    #5
  6. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    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
    #6
  7. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,618
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    Cheers guys.

    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    Then it was up & up around the bluffs & switchbacks to Blind Saddle again.

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    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:

    Clint
    #7
  8. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,910
    Location:
    AUS


    MAGIC!! Great yarn and fantastic pics.
    Thanks for posting!
    #8
  9. young1

    young1 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2007
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    792
    Location:
    Taranaki New Zealand
    Like!
    #9
  10. Russ

    Russ . Super Moderator

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    Sydney Australia
    Great stuff Clint keep it coming :thumb
    #10
  11. driftinglobo

    driftinglobo Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2012
    Oddometer:
    27
    Location:
    S.I. of Kiwiland
    Hi

    Awsome report and pictures! Thanks for sharing. :clap

    Lobo
    #11
  12. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,618
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    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.

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    I crossed over the Lowry Peaks range on Kaiwara Rd which is a neat wee diversion & do-able on any adv bike.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

    Cheers
    Clint
    #12
  13. cooneyr

    cooneyr terra firma rider

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    520
    Location:
    Christchurch, NZ
    Keep it coming Clint.

    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).

    Cheers R
    #13
  14. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2006
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    1,910
    Location:
    AUS
    Yo, same spot again....sweet little cut-across from the coast :clap

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    #14
  15. Squishy

    Squishy Positively charged...really!

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
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    Location:
    PNW
    Good RR, SWEET scenery!
    #15
  16. grizzzly

    grizzzly The Pre-Banned Version

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    Apr 29, 2007
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    Location:
    socorro NM 505-five five zero-2583
    i am digging that country :clap
    #16
  17. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    3,618
    Location:
    Rotoiti, New Zealand
    Cheers guys!

    The next day I cut south to Fairlie to meet up with Chris (a different one) All the rain in the hills had shut down most of the tracks in the area we were thinking of exploring so we headed for the Ahuriri valley access which is largely river crossing free. First up it was over MacKenzie Pass to the Haldon arm of lake Benmore.

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    From Haldon arm we followed the Tekapo river upstream. Much of the track would have been better navigated in a jetboat!

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    But it was a warm day so we had fun splashing up the track/river. Chris almost drowned the 690 in one section, somehow I managed to waddle through ok.

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    It's a neat trip up here & would be an easy ride with normal lower summer river levels.

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    We popped out in the back of Tekapo village & grabbed a late lunch before continuing south on the highway.

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    Just before Lindis Pass we turned off up the Ahuriri.

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    Most of the trip so far has been in the relatively arid eastern side of the South Island but here we are getting into the mountains of the Main Divide & closer to the west coast, where the prevailing westerlies dump all their rain on the way over. We reach our destination for the night, Ahuriri Base Hut.

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    We settle into a couple of beers & some dinner & watch the light fade from the hills.

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    It rains most of the night but is clearing up by morning.

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    Note white stuff on hills that wasn't there yesterday. Gotta love the scorching South Is summer :lol3

    We head up the valley a few km to take in the view from the road end. The track gets a bit rougher up here.

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    We backtrack to Omarama & shoot into the clay cliffs for a look.

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    After a coffee at Twizel we take the scenic route up the side of Lake Pukaki.

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    Most of the lakes around here are glacier fed, hence the spooky blue glow. The gloom in the hills doesn't bode well for our afternoon plans for a ride up the Macaulay river, so after a pie in Tekapo (& a trip back to Twizel for me cos I left my backpack behind:doh) we continue to Fairlie. Chris's parents have a very nice place on the edge of town & I was lucky enough to stay there for the next few days, thanks guys! We review some footage, watch the rain fall in the hills & kick back on the couch.

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    Next up: Offroad in the Orari.
    Clint
    #17
  18. cooneyr

    cooneyr terra firma rider

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2005
    Oddometer:
    520
    Location:
    Christchurch, NZ
    Umm, "normal lower summer river levels is a bit of a misnomer. In those parts the spring/early summer snow melt and rains means hydro lake levels are usually very high come the new year so hydro dams spill water down the normally dry river beds hence the water you found. I had to cancel a leg up the side of the Pukaki Riverin 2011 because Pukaki dam was spilling. 2012 had Benmore spilling during the DB as well.

    Subject to localised rain, autumn or winter are are probably better times to explore the Tekapo and Pukaki rivers.

    Cheers R
    #18
  19. Aidan1150

    Aidan1150 Call Me The Breeze

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    271
    Location:
    South Armagh, Ireland
    Cracking picture that Clint.

    NZ is a place I'd dearly love to go ride in. Some day.

    Thanks for this report.

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    #19
  20. Two Moto Kiwis

    Two Moto Kiwis Homeless Somewhere

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2007
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    Location:
    Wanaka, New Zealand, Currently RTWing
    Heya Clint

    For the first time on our trip I feel a l m o s t home sick .... looking at those pics brings back all the memories of home ... loving it mate !!! :clap :clap
    #20