Aotearoa New Zealand on a WR250R

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by TuckerNZ, Nov 30, 2020.

  1. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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    It's been some time coming.

    I sat in the office for over a year now dreaming of a big ride. Bags loaded up, responsibilities disregarded, career on hold and just the freedom of two wheels and the trail ahead.

    The original plan was to criss-cross the USA utilising the BDR routes, TAT and CDT for my first big foray into ADVriding, but COVID, like for so many others, threw a spanner in the works. With international travel pretty much out of the option, and the relatively contained (at present) COVID situation in NZ, I decided I'd go for it. Travel my own country, see my own backyard.

    By way of background, I'm a 27 year old kiwi who enjoys two wheels and a throttle. I graduated from law school just over 4 years ago now and have been practicing since in commercial law. It's been a ride with plenty of ups and downs and long hours - and now it's time to get out and explore. Cut loose (for a bit). So I quit my job.

    Coming from a motocross/enduro background, I was drawn to the WR250R. Aside from being a Yamaha, it's lightweight, doesn't have too much power, but has just enough. I guess I'll find out if it was the right choice at the end of the trip.

    Given I've got no real constraints (just money), I'm going to be playing it by ear as far as route and destinations. As far off the beaten track as possible will be the goal - and to make it up, around and through both of NZ's beautiful islands.

    NZ has a pretty well established ADVriding community and I'm blessed that avid riders have prepared and shared many tracks across the country which I'll utilise. Cheers fellas.

    I'll post a few pics of the bike and gear up in the next couple of days/weeks as I'm prepping the bike before heading off mid December.

    Look forward to sharing here with you as I know for so many the freedom to get out and ride is infringed by the realities of life, whatever they may be.

    Hope you enjoy
    Cheers
    Matt
    #1
  2. Saso

    Saso Happily sporting the DRD4 gene Supporter

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  3. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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    It's been a busy few weeks preparing the bike. I can post up some pics of various modifications if that would interest anyone. I went out for my first run just before Christmas and will be heading off for good shortly after boxing day around the North Island first.

    Was good to get a couple of days in and see how everything held up. I'm having trouble with my exhaust heat shield on my pannier bags. At the advice of some others, I went and strapped a giant loop heat shield onto the stock heat shield. The stress from the hose clamp on the GL shield actually deformed the stock shield as it heated up, and melted into my exhaust pipe. I've wrangled it enough now that its somewhat usable, but its pretty beaten up. A stock heat shield is 8weeks ex-Japan according to all the Yamaha dealers, so not an option. If anyone has one they dont need or can spare for some $, let me know! I've ordered 2 more GL shields that happened to be for sale second hand, so three should hopefully do the trick when they arrive once I remove the stocker. If i'd known, I'd just have left it stock and not bothered.

    I'd also rigged up my USB charger for my phone, although it must be faulty as its drawing too current much and actually flattening my battery. I disconnected and went without for this recent trip. That's next on the fix list after Christmas.

    I stayed at Corner Creek campsite in the Wairarapa region, which just has a long drop toilet and small shelter for cooking. I rode in the pouring rain over the Rimutaka ranges out of Wellington and then out to Ocean Beach road, which I took all the way to the campsite and then the following day, right around the coast across to Wainuiomata. I got a absolutely soaked. Baptism by fire I guess?

    I was the only one at the campground, until about 11.30pm. I was taking a piss and saw a strobe light coming towards the site. I yelled out hello and it turned out an old fella on a mountain bike had been doing the coast track. It was pissing with rain and he was dead soaked, but he fired up his cooker and slept under the shelter. He was gone by the time I woke up. What a legend.

    The Dept of Conservation ranger came round in the morning, said I could make it right around the coast. I was a bit sceptical but though he would know better than anyone. When I got right around to the bridge over the river to the road out, they'd actually blocked the entrance to the bridge with a wedge which you could only lift a mountain bike over. No way I could get through, the river was way up and I couldn't cross it. And my fuel light was on, I probably had 2-3L of gas left, and wouldn't make it all the way back. Thought I was done for the day...

    Randomly a local rolled up and came over as he was coming towards his driveway - told me I was on private land and couldn't moto here. I explained the story, and he was all good with it but a bit pissed. He must have known the local farmer as he opened two locks to the farm gates and I was out back onto the road. Made it to the next petrol station with about a litre to spare!

    I also took a day trip out to Red Rocks in Wellington. You can see the "devils gate" in the background, which I took over and around the coast. Hard to see in the distance but its a decent obstacle for 4wds. I figured just gas and go and worked out all good. The rocks were grippy as.

    Beach riding on a loaded 250 is quite a challenge. Any sort of soft sand and she bogs pretty quickly. I dropped PSI for part of the day, but part of Ocean Beach road is extremely rocky and I didn't want to risk a flat with a loaded bike. Clutch it out and she came right through. Bit different to riding the YZ125...

    A few lessons learnt along the way as well. I had my MSR fuel bottle strapped under a rok strap with my tent. The bumps on the road ended up vibrating this loose and when I got to camp I realised it was gone. I backtracked to find it but couldn't see it anywhere. I came across a Toyota Hilux parked up on the river bed on the way back. He was waving me over. Turns out he'd picked it up and was smiling away as he handed it back to me. He was enjoying a glass of wine with his wife on the rugged NZ coast, an absolute character. I'll keep that one in the pannier bag from now on.

    I also have a dango designs gripper mount for my gopro, which is a grip attachment that can kind of stick to anything. I had this snatched onto my barkbuster, but without the safety strap wrapped on the bars. Same thing... although this time I found it within 30m of backtracking, but was lucky it didn't bounce loose crossing the riverbeds. Safety strap for good as well going forward.



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    #3
  4. Jeff Sichoe

    Jeff Sichoe ruddy bastard

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    A Wellington local, good to see! If you run into any issues sing out and I'm sure we can wrangle up some assistance :)

    Happy to help with any gpx / tracks in the North Island.

    -
    Thomas
    #4
  5. Nice one! Good bike.
    #5
  6. Kiwi Canuck

    Kiwi Canuck Been here awhile

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    Very cool, enjoy your trip.

    Your post brings back some great memories.

    I lived in Wellington from 1975 till 1980 and rode out to Red Rocks on motocross bikes quite regularly during the summers as we lived only a few KM's away.

    One day after coming back from a ride I meet up with a young teenager on crutches at the local corner store (dairy) trying to chat up the girl behind the counter, it turned out that young teenager was Robert Holden.
    https://amcn.com.au/editorial/robert-holden/

    After he was able to ride again we ran into a bit of trouble one time up past Red Rocks and the farmers cornered us and threatened to toss our bikes off the cliff, they eventually realized it was the guy riding with us who we claimed we didn't know had been riding on their property and leaving gates open, so they let us go, but not before scaring the bejesus out of us.

    We became good friends and ended up as Teammates racing Suzuki's on the Wellington Motorcycles Racing Team.

    Keep posting and those pictures you posted are brilliant.

    David.
    #6
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  7. griz2

    griz2 Adventurer

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    What's your planned route Matt ? Bed available in Kaihu ( half way between Dargaville and Omapere ) .
    #7
  8. danceswithcages

    danceswithcages Been here awhile Supporter

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    Beautiful country. Great pics too!
    #8
  9. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    I'm in for this one! Good on you @TuckerNZ for making the decision to do this; imagine it must have been a tough decision to walk away from your job (career?) and take this on? There are plenty of times I wish I would have said the hell with the rat race and taken a year or two in my late 20s or early 30s and traveled.

    Have logged a bit more than 10k miles on my little mule (WR250R) and it's been a good bike. Miss the power of it's predecessor (KTM 690), but not the quirky crap that drove me nuts. Interested to hear how your travels unfold on her, especially if you have to deal with sand. Trial-by-fire for me in Baja with a over-loaded 250 in deep sand; good lesson, but definitely wished for more grunt to get me out of trouble.

    Absolutely fantastic pictures; one of my bucket list items is to get to your country and ride/explore. Have a couple friends who have done so and said it's an experience second to none.

    Look forward to following along - keep the knobby side down.
    #9
  10. neppi

    neppi Long timer

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    Bed, shower, food, washing machine, garage and tools available in Tauranga aswell if you ever end up this way...

    Cheers!
    #10
  11. ahebron

    ahebron Been here awhile

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    Earlier this century I rode my old R80G/S over Devils Gate and round the coast a bit till I got to the sand.
    I dislike riding and driving in sand and paddling a boxer through soft south coast sand with the bike in 2nd gear was not my idea of fun.
    That track also shook the rear rack off the bike.
    Also how did you get through the gate round from Corner Creek?

    Adrian
    #11
  12. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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    Apologies for the delay. Been tenting every night have have failed to pull the laptop out. I have been documenting but not posting - will try and be a bit snappier with it.

    Thanks to all you Kiwis with the kind offers - will keep you guys in mind when I'm in your neck of the woods and flick a PM. Awesome community we have.

    I headed out to Cape Palliser lighthouse, and camped at the Putangirua Pinnacles. Did the hike up the to the Pinnacles which was great. I met a lad motocamping off his Ducati Scrambler at the lighthouse, and we caught up again at the campground. Was nice to meet someone doing something similar - and loved his bike.

    From the Pinnacles I headed to Sutherlands Hut Aorangi Forest Park. The gravel road in was decent and the track itself was pretty much trail riding. Bloody good fun an was glad I was on the WR. I got 3/4 of the way in and started hitting decent stream crossings. I hit a few and got to one. It was deep - I jumped off and walked it, my Sidi's crossfires are an MX boot so boots were drenched with water. It was a few cm above my knees and I thought it would be the end of my day. I was so keen to get to the hut I thought I'd give it a crack. I got through but I could hear the intake struggling through part of it, so was a bit sketch. I kept going but kept hitting streams that were deep. The third I checked and it was thigh high, and I gave into the rational part of my brain. I was gutted not to make it but it wasn't worth drowning the bike. There were deep mud puddles but the bases were solid which was a good rip.

    No Sutherlands threw my accommodation out for the night. I had to mish it to Mt Holdsworth campground where I camped for the night. The people around me were real friendly and gave me hot water for tea and invited me into their caravan for a yarn. Good ol Kiwis.

    From Holdsworth I took Admiral Rd and a some other gravel roads through to Castlepoint. Camped here for NYE. When I got in about 3pm he said they were booked out but he saw me on my bike and said hold up, and nicked me a small tent site they dont normally book out. Said his missus would get him in trouble for it but saved me heading back out on the road. What a bloke. I hiked up to the lighthouse and walked the beach before conking after midnight and after a random bloke came over and started asking about my bike. He had a GS1250 and said he had ridden in India. We yarned for a bit which was cool.

    The next day as I headed out I went to fill up at Whakataki Hotel (5km from my campsite). It's so remote and the boaties had been hammering it that the pump was actually out of gas. I had the gas light on but thought I'd enough to be sweet (and luckily was). I hit the farm roads up through Tinui to Eketehuna where I had a quick lunch stop and gas and then headed off on the Puketoi explorer loop. I was behind schedule and the seat time for the route was about 6 hours apparently. I was determined to tick it off so headed off.

    The loop had shit loads of gravel, which isnt really my thing but the views over the farmland and hills was great. Puketoi Road is an awesome track which 3km in there is a sign which says "Not maintained by Council", which is exactly what you want to see. I made it all the way out to the coast at Akitio and arrived about 6pm. I was knackered but wanted to finish the track. I ended up pulling into Kumeti campsite in the Ruahine Forest park about 9pm. There were 2 tents - and one group who looked pretty shady. I wasn't that phased on the situation but had no choice at that time of night. I waved and said hello but they ignored me (?). Fuck it, I pitched up, ate some food and locked my gear up as well as I could. Hoped for the best and it was all there in the morning thankfully.

    From Kumeti I hit the farm roads again out to the coast and Blackbeach where I took the beach up the coast before turning in land again, and then on to Napier where I'm pitched up now at the campground. I washed off in the surf just before it started raining for the night. The beach riding is amazing and the views were great. There were some awesome twisties as well and had to remind myself I had dirt knobbies on...

    I am heading off for the Waikaremoana loop road tomorrow if the weather clears.

    Thanks for sharing this David. What a great story. Holden is a legend - crackup how a friendship can blossom from a chance meeting like that.

    No planned route mate - but i have most of the NI gpx tracks in my GPS and picking and choosing from day to day. I'll be up that way for sure though, lovely part of the country, probably after I come back down from Cape Reinga.

    Thanks mate. It was a tough call. Without COVID I probably would have moved to London for a job and done that OE thing, and still may, but seemed a good time with summer here in NZ. Luckly enough to have a solid education and work experience under my belt, so should be employable when time comes again. My partners were pretty good about it at the firm and encouraged me to go for it which helped.

    I know what you mean about the power - any soft sand and I've bogged and struggled. Dropping PSI has helped but probably no substitute for power and momentum in the sand. Baja looks awesome,

    Haha I can only imagine - I have to say it wasnt that fun on a 250 either, but the coast is beautiful. A heavier bike would be a real handful. People have cut into the wire fence to the left of the gate - I literally just went through. I think people on quads etc must have cut it to get around. I didnt even know you weren't meant to be there. It seemed odd to me but the DOC guy really got me thinking it was a proper route.
    #12
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  13. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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    #13
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  14. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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  15. liv2day

    liv2day Life is about how you handle Plan B Supporter

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    Killer updates @TuckerNZ! Damn man, sounds like you've had a great time riding. Too bad the creek crossings were so deep and you couldn't make it to one destination; when water starts getting up past my knees, I question my judgement...more than usual...lol.

    Really great shots of all the scenery you've experienced thus far, what a beautiful country you have! As an aside, the news here in the States showed the NZ NYE celebration - so cool to see all the folks together bringing in the new year. Guess that's what happens when you have a government that actually knows what the f*ck it's doing :lol2 :lol2 :lol2.

    Curious about the rock formations in the last few pics you posted - any idea what causes that geology? Looks like it might be some kind of sandstone or limestone? Really like the canyon you got a shot in, frickin' cool.

    Look forward to the next update as you're able to post 'em; great to see another part of the world I might not ever get a chance to visit.
    #15
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  16. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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    So, it has been a pretty eventful week. Few ups and downs but some really great riding and scenery.

    Since my last post from Napier, I headed North to Lake Waikaremoana, where I did a loop around the lake through some forestry and the Te Urewera's. Lake Waikaremoana is a large inland lake in NZ and popular with hikers, as it is home to one of NZ' "Great Walks". The loop was a mixture of windy gravel roads and dirt forest track (which has way more grip and is a lot more enjoyable). It had just rained before I went through so the gravel was downpat which made for good riding.

    Unfortunately I thought I'd sorted my USB charge issue out, but I'd pulled over to adjust my rebound dampening settings on the shock and when I went to switch her on, she was dead. I was about 25km from the Lake campsite and pretty remote in the Te Ureweras on a gravel road. I thought it was just playing up but turns of they key a few times and nothing. I'd tried to prepare as best as possible for the trip - and was carrying a small portable charger, which effectively attached jump cords into a power bank. Pain in the ass was this was baried in my duffel bag and I had to untie everything. To add to it, the Kriega panniers are real pain to get on and off, and I had to remove the left bag and flip the base to get to the battery. Once I was set, I was sweating like hell in the sun and ready to give her a crank. Started right up, but I was scared to turn it off and it was 30 degrees, which isnt ideal to leave idling while you reload everything. Timer was on and I cranked and got loaded relatively quick and was off to the campsite. Once I arrived, I parked up for the night.

    I went to switch her on again later in the evening and she was right dead again - battery must have been pretty cooked. I got her jumped off a guys car and took a 30min loop ride to charge it up. Voltage went right up to 13.8, and she started in the morning, but the voltage would drop on an off as I rode. I figured I needed to make it to the next main town to get a new battery.

    After slugging the highway for awhile I arrived in Taupo, NZ's biggest lake which is actually a large volcano under water. I stayed at the backpackers in town and the receptionist lad was a legend - he let me roll my bike right inside by the front desk and leave it there overnight. I grabbed a cheap chicken burger and chips and watched the sun go down over the lake. Mint spot.

    Next morning I hit the Taupo Yamaha dealer. He only had shit Chinese batteries and not factory Japanese ones - so I had to make do but wasn't that stoked. Nothing I could do though, and I bit the bullet. Outside in the 30 degree heat, boots and pants still on I was changing the battery right outside the Yamaha store. had a good yarn with a couple of the lads who thought it was pretty funny and they were off down South for the NZ superbike series.

    Due to timing, I had a good mate who had come back to NZ for Christmas from London, so was due in Auckland and needed to slug my way there. I took a few backroads up through to Rotorua, had lunch by the lake then decided I was missing the dirt. I hit a local track that once I arrived realised gets hammered by the local 4WD clubs. You can see from the photos it was pretty gnarly and I was glad I was on the WR. I binned it after getting cross rutted at one point and holy shit you feel the weight of a loaded bike. It was a good outing and the bags took a hiding from the dirt.

    I crashed at my mates for two nights in Auckland, where we beach hopped on the Whangaparaoa peninsula. From Auckland I look the backroads up to Waipu, where I camped at Te Ureiti campsite. Its right on the beach and was a mint spot - had a swim in the surf and just chilled the heck out.

    From Waipu again I took the backroads all the way uptoward the Bay of Islands, which if you are visting NZ has to be on your list. It's one of the most beautiful spots in NZ. I was staying at the Puriri Bay campsite, which is pretty basic but I got a tent sit on the hill looking right out to the bay. Mad spot. Turns out ex Blackcap (NZ cricketer) Kyle Mills was camped next door. His wife was lovely and made me lunch and dinner and they invited me in for a couple of beers. Was great to have some company again and yarn. Puriri Bay is goregous and sheltered and I swam a few times and read a book. It had a great hiking track which I also took around the North Head, which was about 1-2 hours walk through some native bush with mean views of the bays around the area.

    From Puriri I've made my way up the coast of the North through the Bay of Islands to Taupo Bay, where I'm at the local campground. They've got surfboards for hire so thats the plan tomorrow. I really love Northland of NZ, the beaches just cant be beat and the weather is primo.

    Enjoy some photos. Since Auckland I've not had much battery left as no where to charge, so had been saving it.

    Yeah mate - be great to get out here and explore. I'd love to see the USA which was 1st on my list! Pity about the situation but lets hope it comes right as this vaccine gets around.

    I'd no idea on the rocks so I just googled. Apparently its called badlands erosion and the rock conglomerate is protected in areas by a cap of cemented silt or rock; so as it erodes the caps prevent it eroding away completely and it leaves the pinnacle shape underneath.
    #16
  17. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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  18. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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  19. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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    Good old dirt trackin... GPTempDownload 2.JPG GPTempDownload 3.JPG GPTempDownload 4.JPG GPTempDownload 5.JPG GPTempDownload 6.JPG GPTempDownload 7.JPG GPTempDownload 8.JPG GPTempDownload.JPG
    #19
  20. TuckerNZ

    TuckerNZ Adventurer

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