Slartidbartfast does the South Island (New Zealand)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by slartidbartfast, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Y' know I had a funny feeling that wasn't right, but as I started reading the free guide book (you know, the ones where there are twenty pages of ads for every paragraph of useful information), it said that Auckland was established as the capital. I guess I didn't find the bit where it said the capital was moved/changed. Guess I'll have to take whatever's coming to me for my geographic ignorance, Philistine that I am :evil
    #21
  2. Mileater

    Mileater Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Slarti... don't tell them about the weather we are experiencing down here in the South right now :deal It'll make them feel homesick :lol3 At least you missed Wellington (the Capital), as they are having a miserable Summer this year :cry

    Take care on the roads and KEEP LEFT! Too many of or visiting friends have been victims of a little inattention and found something large travelling in the opposite direction in "their" lane! Take your time and enjoy.

    Cheers :freaky
    Allan
    #22
  3. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,824
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    NZ has had half a dozen capitals, even Nelson was in line for the job. The cathedral here is a monster for the size of the town, and is built from stone from all around the country to 'represent' the entire land as befits a capital. Unfortunately the capital went elsewhere, and the cathedral only has the lower storey built, which explains its odd shape.

    Auckland is to NZ what Sydney is to Australia.

    Wellington is to NZ what Melbourne & Canberra are to Australia.
    #23
  4. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    The city of Christchurch is much more my type of place - Smaller, more Bohemian, and friendlier (not that Auckland was in any way unfriendly mind you.) There is an idyllic river winding through downtown with banks lined by some impressive trees. Obviously I am not the first person to think about such places as Stratford upon Avon, or Cambridge, as a lot of the local place names evoke such British towns and cities.

    There are plenty of good coffee shops (including the obvious international brands - Ugh!) but much to my surprise, both Christchurch and Auckland seem to have quite a few surprisingly libertine businesses. It's not like walking down Bourbon Street in New Orleans, but I do get the feeling that Kiwis are generally pretty relaxed and don't take themselves too seriously.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [Note: Internet access in the hotels has been among the most expensive I have found anywhere but the public library in the city centre has free wi-fi. However, I can't access Kiwibiker.co.nz as it's blocked due to "offensive material" - Yet Advrider is apparently ok :oscar]
    #24
  5. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    #25
  6. keystiger

    keystiger rat on a roll

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2007
    Oddometer:
    372
    Location:
    Daphne, Al.
    :D Keep 'em comin' NEw Zealand is on my "bucket list" as well.

    I fear once I get there it will be very hard to leave.......
    #26
  7. Babysteps

    Babysteps 102° Rx = + /_\

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    765
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Hey Slarti

    It was nice meeting you yesterday, have a great time and keep in touch!
    #27
  8. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,824
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Came for a 3 year sabbatical, still here 13 years later with no plans to move back home.:lol3 I meet lots and lots of ex-pats, mainly from Pomgolia. The only ones who go back are in to nightclubs and shopping. Anyone with an outdoors interest loves the place.
    #28
  9. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    [​IMG]

    Oh Yeah!
    [​IMG]

    Babysteps in front of the Twisted Hop - Thanks very much for the chat and the travel information
    [​IMG]
    #29
  10. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Things got off to an interesting start this morning. While I was waiting for the bike rental people, I chatted with some members of the Afghanistan national cricket team, who were playing England in an international tournament today.
    [​IMG]

    At the bike rental place, I busied myself wiring up a power socket for my GPS (which I'm told I won't need) and heated jacket (which I'm told I probably won't need.):dunno Paperwork dispensed with I was ready for the road but the key wouldn't turn in the ignition. After fifteen minutes with one of the rental guys fighting with it, trying another key, spraying stuff into the lock, etc., one of the mechanics came out and showed us how it's done - A very common problem with Suzukis apparently. :baldy (I had another short struggle with it later in the day but I think I'm getting the hang of it now)

    I was told there are no straight roads in New Zealand - Well that's Bollocks! However, as I headed inland toward Darfield, the straight roads were passing through a gorgeous bucolic landscape, with a backdrop of mountains. The twisty bits were very good, curving up and down the hillsides and crossing numerous small bridges, many of them too narrow for two-way traffic. Shame it was overcast the whole way. I met a chatty Yorkshireman when I stopped to take photos at Rakaia Gorge, where the river flows a bright turquoise blue due to glacial sediment and dissolved oxygen. I helped him lube his chain and he showed me the damage from one of his panniers falling off when he hit a road cone. He has an R65 and is looking for pannier frames to fit it so if anyone knows where he can get some, I have his email.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The sun finally broke through just as I reached the gorgeous Lake Tekapo, which is also an unreal azure.
    [​IMG]

    A few miles further on at the town of Twizel, I turned inland towards Mount Cook. The road follows the shore of Lake Pukaki. As I made my way along, thoroughly enjoying the sweeping turns and rises and falls of the landscape, it began to rain. The Weestrom's screen does a surprisingly good job of keeping the worst off my torso but my legs and feet would have been soaked of it had kept up for long. Just as I was coming to dry roads again, Mount Sefton came into view and I had to stop and yelp into my helmet. The flashes of ice blue coming from the snowy slopes of the hanging Huddleston and Stocking glaciers as they caught the sun were magnificent.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After reaching the small village of Mount Cook at around 4:30pm and checking into the YHA there, I made an energetic three mile hike up to the foot of the Hooker Glacier. I'm going to feel it in the morning! :cry
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #30
  11. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    1,988
    Location:
    Fly over zone
    My youngest (son) is heading for the South Island in 2011 for a study abroad semester. He loves the outdoors.. How many college sophmores take their bow to school. (He hopes to get in a deer hunt before the season ends.)
    When he heads to NZ, hopefullly we will get him back!!

    The wife and I will make a trip over to visit. I will get one day to rent a bike and see the sights. This is great timing! I'm in for the whole trip! Be safe..
    Thanks,
    Jeff
    #31
  12. cockneykestrel

    cockneykestrel n00b

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6
    :ear Now that scenery makes me want to put NZ on my bucket list. Yes envy is a sin - I'm thinking of what fantastic plants are up in those mountains and in the edge of the moraines. Enjoy your rides and new friends and get home safely.
    #32
  13. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    Here's a couple of photos for you then:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #33
  14. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    [​IMG]
    #34
  15. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    The forecast had been for hard rain overnight. Other than a light sprinkling while I was walking back from the Hooker Glacier, it had not materialized last night. So there was some speculation that it might be raining in the morning.

    I awoke to find that the bunk bed I had crept into late last night after doing laundry was in a co-ed dorm room. I was the only male, surrounded by scantily clad young women, unconcernedly getting dressed and even wishing me good morning as they did so. Being a gentleman, I closed my eyes and pretended to be asleep until they had all gone.

    Stepping outside with a nice cup of coffee in my hand, I was greeted by a cerulean sky with fluffy white clouds. Snow-capped mountains all around, fresh air, and the warm sun on my back. "It really doesn't get any better than this!"
    [​IMG]

    After chatting with some of the other travellers over coffee, I loaded the Weestrom and hit the road. Just a few Km down the vally, I came across the local fire department, testing their pumps and equipment. What an outstanding place to work. This is for Pimpdaddy!
    [​IMG]

    The rest of the day consisted of 450Km of fast-changing landscapes and fabulous curving roads. I'm in no hurry and stop along the way more than a few times to grab a pie for lunch, or photograph the sights.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I am discovering that speed limits for the corners tend to be very conservative for the road surface and bend radius. However, many of the corners are blind and will also be the only places along the highway where loose gravel accumulates. Only once did my route skirt the edge of a heavy shower, but it was barely enough to put a few spots on the road and soon passed behind.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #35
  16. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    An impressive view in the USA is usually preceeded by several signs informing you of an impending scenic overlook. When you get there, you will find a well-worn trail to a spot which might be marked with an arrow showing you which way to face, and a sign: 'Take the best photo here.' OK, maybe that's a bit extreme and the Kiwis have a few marked viewpoints too but there are also just as often no indications of an impending magnificent vista. It gives you the sense that you might be the first person to find this particular view so awesome. This spot required a couple of quick U-turns and keeping the bike in gear, ready to move if anyone came flying over the hill behind me.
    [​IMG]

    I grabbed this one while parked tight against the crash barrier in a no-passing zone.
    [​IMG]
    #36
  17. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    In the afternoon, I passed mile upon mile of fruit farms, all with a roadside store selling cherries, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, etc. I started to fancy a fruit snack so stopped in for a snack of most delicious apricots I have ever tasted.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The weather was near-perfect all day - Cool enough to need jacket and gloves while riding but warm enough to want to remove them when stopped. Only in the last 25Km as I approached the Catlins coast, a cold, damp wind started up and I fumbled to close the vents on my jacket as I was riding.
    [​IMG]
    #37
  18. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    I stayed in the Thomas's Catlins YHA - an interesting old building with huge, heavy wooden doors and high ceilings. I was formerly and old-folks home apparently.

    The route for Day two:
    [​IMG]
    #38
  19. slartidbartfast

    slartidbartfast Love those blue pipes

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2003
    Oddometer:
    5,933
    Location:
    Southern Louisiana or Southern England or ...
    The weather forecast for the day sucks (or blows, depending upon your preferred vernacularism!). Locals told me it could clear up, could be damp and misty all day or it could piss down. Glad to see there's a clear consensus on what the forecast actually means :lol3 Still, that's typical of a maritime climate and no different to SW England for example.
    [​IMG]

    After a fortifying breakfast, I'm packed up and ready to head along the Catlins coast to Invercargill and beyond.
    [​IMG]
    #39
  20. Mileater

    Mileater Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    Oddometer:
    379
    Location:
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Hi Slarti... enjoying your romp through some familliar places. It is always nice to see the place through others eyes. :clap

    Regarding the Speed Advisory signs... yes, they do tend to be conservative, particularly for bikes but don't get too carried away :deal

    There are some (such as the one shown in your photo) that are blind but have a good entry point but others, marked with the same speed suggestion that do not set up well, can be quite tricky to get through at much above the posted number! Take care.

    Much more fun is to be had on corners where the tar seal (chip seal) has melted due to high temperatures at some point and then the cars and trucks have driven the stone chips down below the level of tar. When this cools off, you are left with a slick, smooth surface that offers almost no grip in wet conditions and minimal in the dry. These patches can (and will) give you a nasty fright if you are not expecting it. They are mostly found in or near the apex of the corners so beware of a blind turn and set your speed closer to the advisory if you are uncertain or cannot see the road surface all the way through the turn.

    I don't want to be a "Nanna" but we lose too many of our friends in single bike accidents. :cry

    Ok.. back to "Lurk" ( :lurk ) mode again.

    Cheers :freaky
    Allan
    #40