2512 The key to unlocking New Zealands South Island finest roads

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by McCardigan, Jan 19, 2008.

  1. McCardigan

    McCardigan happy Budda

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    G/Day all<o:p></o:p>
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    Here is part 1 of my ride report of the South Island of New Zealand.<o:p></o:p>
    24 days, 7500kms (4700ms) over Christmas/New Year 07/08. Hope you enjoy as much as I did. <o:p></o:p>
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    I had a s**t year and decided I didn’t want to be in Melbourne over Christmas, and that touring the South Island would be the perfect fillip.<o:p></o:p>
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    After much researching, asking questions, I decided that I would hire a F650GS from Motorcycles New Zealand http://www.motorcyclesnewzealand.co.nz/ based in Christchurch.<o:p></o:p>
    I chose MC NZ because they had late model BMW F650GS’s (04 twin spark, 25 kpl), which I reckon was perfect for solo work around the Isle.The company had an unlimited kilometer policy, were not perturb about the roads and tracks that I told them I intended to ride, and were happy to fit a Conti TKC 80 to the front.<o:p></o:p>

    Flew out of Melbourne on Friday 21st of December, landing in Christchurch later that evening, and straight to a motel. Up early next morning to be picked up by Mike Hyde, the boss of MCNZ,
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    and to their office to sign the paperwork and collect the bike.<o:p></o:p>
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    After a thorough briefing by Mike, and taking the time to outline on my map all of the must do bitumen and dirt roads, I left at 9.am on a sunny Saturday.<o:p></o:p>
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    Into town to have a coffee and buy some helmet visor cleaner. Then briefly riding north up Hwy 1 till Kaiopi, turned left to Rangiora, and I was soon on a dirt road heading for Pyramid Valley
    and which brought me back on the hwy at the delightful and historical pub at Hurunui in time for an early lunch<o:p></o:p>
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    <o:p></o:p><!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> <!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p>where I was reacquainted with a pint of one of NZ’s finest beers, Monteiths Original, and a sandwich.
    A great pub to stay, cheap accomodation,($45 B&B), good food
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    20k’s up, the road splits, left to Hanmer Springs

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    which was my destination for that night. But I still had half a day’s riding left so I turned right which takes you over the Mt Lyford skifield on a great winding road called the Inland road towards Kaikoura on the east coast. <o:p></o:p>
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    <!--[endif]--><o:p></o:p>then I turned south on Hwy 1 and back to the turnoff for Hanmer.<o:p></o:p>
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    10ks before the town, you cross the glorious Waiau river where they bungyjump of the bridge<o:p></o:p>
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    Checked into the motel, had a few beers at the pub then a magnificent meal at The Laurels restaurant. What a way to start a holiday.<o:p></o:p>
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    The reason I was here was that just out of town, 2 of New Zealand’s finest dirt roads start. The awesome Rainbow and the majestic Molesworth<o:p></o:p>
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    These tracks are only open in Summer, in fact the Molesworth was not going to open because of the extreme dry conditions and threat of bushfires, but fortunately the area had just received 30mm of rain thus alleviating the bushfire risk, and it opened the following Friday the 28<sup>th</sup> and was closing before the end of January.<o:p></o:p>
    The Rainbow stays open longer, usually early December till early March.<o:p></o:p>
    Immediately leaving Hanmer, you begin to climb<o:p></o:p>

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    This takes you to the T intersection, left Rainbow, right the Molesworth,

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    I decided to ride the 20 k’s up the Molesworth till the locked gate, (turned out to be a chain across the bridge over the Acheron river).<o:p></o:p>
    The weather was superb, and the wattle was flowering.<o:p></o:p>
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    Returned to the intersection and headed up the Rainbow track.<o:p></o:p>
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    On both tracks there are plenty of gates to open and close<o:p></o:p>
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    and fords to cross
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    And BLOODY POWERLINES.
    Look carefully and almost every off road photo has a bloody power line somewhere in it. I tried but just could not get the mongrels out of the shot I wanted to take.

    <o:p></o:p>This amazing track follows the unbelievably clear Clarence river
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    to its origin at Lake Tennyson, a lovely camping spot complete with a toilet
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    Then you begin to climb to the summit of the track at Island Saddle (1374m), there is still snow on the adjoining peaks<o:p></o:p>
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    Through Hells Gate there are washouts, this one was about 2 ft deep, you wouldn’t want to come around that corner at speed.<o:p></o:p>
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    30 k’s from the end of the track is a farm where you have to pay a toll of $10 per bike to travel the Rainbow. (btw the Molesworth is free to travel).<o:p></o:p>
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    The delightful toll collectors, bloody lonely job though. This is peak season, and I was the last person through on Sunday afternoon, they said that they had maybe a dozen come through today.

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    The last ford crossing was deep, the bottom of the panniers were in the water, and as I was alone, I decided to walk the bike over the river<o:p></o:p>
    For the entire day, I had only passed a handful of 4wd’s and a lone bike, a R1150GS 2 up, all heading south<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
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    Just to remind me that I was in mountain country and that the weather can change rapidly, as I ended the track at the hwy between St Arnaud and Blenheim, the clouds and the rain rolled in from where I had just ridden!<o:p></o:p>
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    A sprint to Nelson (where I intended to stay for a couple of days) for a well earned beer or three<o:p></o:p>
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    To be continued<o:p></o:p>
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    Cheers<o:p></o:p>
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    #1
  2. chicky

    chicky BMW Rider

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    Keep the photos coming........

    Catch you at karuah rally

    regads chicky ......
    #2
  3. Andrew2

    Andrew2 Long timer

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    Wow,what beautiful countryside.Keep it coming Chris:clap.

    Andrew
    #3
  4. Paul_B

    Paul_B Been here awhile

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    Awesome post and pictures, thanks. Threads like this one are my favorite part of ADV.

    Paul
    #4
  5. TouringDave

    TouringDave Tri Moto Veritas

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    Beautiful pics Chris, what a fantastic country, reminds a lot of Tassie.
    #5
  6. dirtypumpkin

    dirtypumpkin "Monster Truck Bike"

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    Thanks for sharing, always wanted to get over there for a ride.:freaky
    #6
  7. Queen

    Queen Happy Camper

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    Same here.

    Very good stuff, thanks! :clap
    #7
  8. scottr

    scottr Banned

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    If I've ever seen pics of the S Island before ..... I don't remember them. Looks like mountain country in Nevada in the Spring. :thumb
    #8
  9. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    Fantastic!! We've seen many South Island reports on paved roads... yours is gorgeous adventure.. thanks for posting and keep it comin' :thumb

    :lurk
    #9
  10. rogerdodger

    rogerdodger Been here awhile

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    Aww fantastic photos keep um coming.
    #10
  11. xdbx

    xdbx Motorcycle Connoisseur

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    the landscape there is truly beautiful and it looks perfectly suited for an adventure ride to take it all in. Looking forward to taking it all in.

    Why so many powerlines?
    #11
  12. Postie

    Postie kiwi

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    Through Hells Gate there are washouts, this one was about 2 ft deep, you wouldn’t want to come around that corner at speed.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O /><O:p></O:p>
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    And when Alsan and I came the other way through the Rainbow I did indeed come round said corner too quick and had a close inspection of that same washout.:eek1

    Got through ok but there was a hell of a bang from the front end when it hit.:D

    Cheers

    Ian S
    #12
  13. davorallyfan

    davorallyfan Commonist

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    Good work Chris, top pics - keep at it.
    #13
  14. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

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    I love your work! Nice to see some good shots of my playground :evil

    The reason the powerlines get in every shot along the Rainbow is the same for the Porika and the Maungatapu... they are all power transmission access roads.
    #14
  15. Andy-Gadget

    Andy-Gadget Any bike can go anywere

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    Great report Chris, just one question, how did you cope with the unfamiliar task of chain maintenance?
    #15
  16. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University

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    Great stuff Chris!

    I'm very sorry I didn't catch up with you.

    Keep in touch eh?

    Shane
    NZ
    #16
  17. Stackator

    Stackator F800GS goodness

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    Awesome pictures, this thread is going to inspire me to go there too.

    Thanks for posting

    Stack
    #17
  18. McCardigan

    McCardigan happy Budda

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    G/day

    Here is part 2 of my travels.
    Buggar me dead, its bloody hard work doing a report:D
    But enjoyable:clap

    Monday morning was overcast and threatening to rain as I headed west to Collingwood, alas the rain started, sorry no photos, it rained all day.<o:p></o:p>
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    Still raining Christmas morning, but by lunchtime the sun appeared and we had a great informal barbeque at the backpackers lodge to celebrate Christmas. Its called the Bug, lovely spot.
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    <!--[if !supportEmptyParas]--> even better looking guests:wink:

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    Reluctantly dragged myself away from Nelson on Wednesday, hey I'm an adventure rider, I'm down here to ride a bike:D:D

    Left for the Marlborough and Queen Charlotte sounds, had a look at Cable bay, a taste of things to come.<o:p></o:p>
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    This is the turnoff for French Pass<o:p></o:p>
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    The track winds through forest till it pops out on top of a ridge. On either side you look down at this.
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    I was gobsmacked at the stunning beauty of the place.
    My first thoughts were, and I shed a tear or two, if only Sally was here with me. We were always going to come back to explore NZ.:cry
    But it wasn't to be.


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    Thats the way to French Pass
    BTW that white dot on the bay was a rather large motorboat heading the same ay as I was, at a fair clip.
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    It basically raced me to the end of the track about 30 kms away<o:p></o:p><o:p></o:p>
    French Pass has a B&B and a beach camp site which was packed<o:p></o:p>

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    I then had to turn around and head back with a detour to Port Ligar.<o:p></o:p>
    Emerged back on the hwy and headed towards Havelock , home to a large fishing fleet harvesting green lipped mussels.
    Decided to stop there as it was about to start raining again, friendly and cheap pub,with a good bistro, had a good feed of mussels for dinner.
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    Just down the road is the turn off to the Queen Charlotte Sound

    I could easily live here, although the cost of a house with a bit of land and with a view is in the million dollar+ range. Ouch! :eek1 and I thought Melbourne was expensive.
    But what hope do the locals have when the average hourly wage is $12 NZ?

    So endth the 2nd reading.

    More to follow dear brethren.

    Cheers
    <o:p></o:p>
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    #18
  19. McCardigan

    McCardigan happy Budda

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    #19
  20. McCardigan

    McCardigan happy Budda

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    What chain?

    Hey I'm a BMW rider, tried to check the oil in driveshaft, but them German engineers are clever bastards, they have hidden it:rofl

    Cheers
    #20