Dad, Can we go see...? Episode 2: Two weeks around Te Ika-a-Māui, NZ's North Island

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by bikemoto, May 13, 2019.

  1. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,027
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Introduction

    After last summer's tour south with my son Miles (see Dad, can we go see...? Two weeks around Te Waipounamu, NZ's South Island) the inevitable question was, "Where to next?" Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand was the call. This year we are joined by my partner Sharleen (@DontFollowMe) who was unable to partake last year due to work commitments. Woo hoo! Neither Shar nor Miles have much experience of the North Island. I lived in Auckland for eight years when I first came to NZ, riding extensively and often, so this trip is going to be a bit of a "show and tell" from me, although we will cover some new territory... how could you not?!


    Shar rides a 2008 Yamaha XT250. Preparation consisted of a new rear tyre (yet another Shinko Golden Boy SR244) and an engine oil and filter change. This latter became a problem as one of the oil filter screws stripped the female thread in the cases, and liberal application of sealant didn't fix it. We were doubly fortunate in that the stripped thread was in the clutch cover so after draining the oil the damaged part was easily removed to work on, and also because our good friends had the appropriate helicoil kit and professional expertise to effect repair. Thanks team!

    The XT's surgery:
    [​IMG]

    Shar and the XT in Molesworth Station:
    [​IMG]


    Miles and myself are again mounted on the 2016 KTM 1190 Adventure. As it was approaching its first post-run-in service, it had engine oil and filter changed, air filter changed, fuel filter changed (shout out to @gefr, here in vendors), clutch oil changed, fork oil changed, ECU checked and updated, and Michelin Anakee Wild tyres fitted (part worn front, new rear). Most of that went okay considering it was my first time servicing this bike. The fork oil was well overdue, negatively affecting the roadholding, and also following Dave Moss' advice (look him up) I went from SAE 4 to 5-weight oil. Result: massive improvement. Sadly, changing the front tyre I nicked the tubeless sealing band. At $200+ to diagnose and replace, that was an expensive mistake - however, I put it down to learning as I need to be able to change these tyres myself, especially for field repair.

    Miles and the 1190 at Tasman View Lookout:
    [​IMG]


    For various reasons, this trip we decided to avoid carrying tents and mattresses, instead using Airbnb and similar to find interesting, cheap accommodation for when we aren't dossing with friends. We aren't carrying any cooking or eating gear either, which has simplified the packing somewhat. Strangely though, we seem to be carrying more stuff than last year!!

    Miles rode in MX boots, MX pants with some protection, light-weight long-sleeve shirt under a 'pressure suit' with a full spine protector and kidney belt, MX gloves and a road helmet.

    Anyway, enough of that, on with the trip!
    #1
  2. Daniel3640

    Daniel3640 Adventurer

    Joined:
    May 31, 2015
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    74
    Location:
    Ashburton, New Zealand
    Excellent! Look forward to the rest!
    #2
  3. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    :lurk:drink
    #3
  4. Kiwi Mo

    Kiwi Mo SONS OF ARTHRITIS - IBUPROFEN CHAPTER

    Joined:
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    New :lurk:drink
    #4
  5. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,027
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Day 1: Interislander Ferry - Carterton

    We had a gentle start to the trip on this hot mid-summer New Year's Eve: an afternoon ferry, a relatively short distance to cover over mostly over familiar territory, and a quiet farmstay with absent hosts.

    After a relaxed start to the day we left home in Nelson for the Interislander ferry in Picton. We went via the lovely Queen Charlotte Drive, through the scenic Marlborough Sounds. As expected, there was a fair bit of tourist traffic and the usual smattering of gravel just to keep you on your toes. Since it was rather warm, I had no liner in my suit and all the vents open. At Picton, a bakery stop provided lunch to munch while we waited to board the ferry.

    The ferry is still a novelty for the lad. This is only his third (return) trip, and second one on a bike after our jaunt over to Wellington on the VFR. And Shar's second ferry trip with her bike. There were a few other adventure bikes on the ferry with us, and a few cruisers:
    [​IMG]

    Leaving Picton on the Kaitaki:
    [​IMG]

    After an uneventful crossing of Cook Strait we headed northeast out of the capital over the twisty Rimutaka Hill. It was a lot of fun in the fine, dry weather, and not too much traffic. My last trip over it was during stormy wet weather on the way to @clintnz's MMMM ride in 2016. There was a few centimetres of surface water and I was almost blown off the 640!!

    Besties at the Rimutaka Crossing Memorial:
    [​IMG]

    Miles, and Shar:
    [​IMG]

    View looking down to the flat lands east of the Rimutaka Hills. The road winds its way down the right-hand side of the valley:
    [​IMG]

    Next stop was the farmstay at Carterton for a quiet New Year's Eve. After finding the place and dumping our gear, we headed back in to town for dinner supplies and some bevvies. A relaxed dinner followed by a walk around the farm was a great way to end our first day away from home :)

    What a way to end the year!

    Day total: 220 km, 3 hours riding, plus the ferry.
    #5
  6. bikemoto

    bikemoto Tyre critic

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Oddometer:
    4,027
    Location:
    Nelson, New Zealand
    Day 2: Taumata Hill - Hastings

    What a way to start the year! :D Gravel and bumpy backroads. I don't think I've ridden any gravel roads in this area before. There's a lot to do but today is bit of a 'commute' day primarily to set us up for tomorrow, so we didn't seek out too many detours. We plotted a route that zigged out east towards the coast, Tinui way, before zagging back westerly on the gravel Castle Hill Road to Alfredton.

    View from the summit, near the district boundary:
    [​IMG]

    Shar doin' her thang:
    [​IMG]

    At Alfredton we joined "Route 52" which has been downgraded from State Highway status. And it showed!! This is by far one of the bumpiest sealed roads in the country. The locals were obviously fed up with the situation as "TDC FIX THE BLOODY ROAD" was writ large on the road surface at one point. One of these signs said 18 km:
    [​IMG]

    We had a long, slow lunch at the Pongaroa Hotel. Being New Year's Day, they were busy and short-staffed. It seems to be a bit of a biker hangout, no doubt due to the surrounding riding opportunities. Quite a few cruisers parked up, and a couple of other adventure bikes:
    [​IMG]

    After lunch, we continued north, bopping/bouncing through the rolling countryside to our next stop, the iconic world's longest place name, known to the locals simply as Taumata Hill.

    "Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu", which translates into English as "the place where Tamatea, the man with the big knees, who slid, climbed and swallowed mountains, known as 'landeater’, played his flute to his loved one."
    From www.newzealand.com/int/feature/the-longest-place-name-in-new-zealand.

    There's not a lot to see:
    [​IMG]

    On arrival at Hastings we checked in to our B'n'B. They had a nice yard & garden, and a wee doggie who was keen to play fetch - although I think the three of us managed to tire him out. Unfortunately we were gutted to discover that the swimming complex, Splash Planet, closes at 5:30 pm. So much for a relaxing evening swim. :( Instead we ate takeaway Indian curry and watched a bit of teev.

    Definitely need to do more exploring in the southeast quarter of the island, there's lots to ride!

    Day total: 327 km, 4 hours riding.
    #6
    clintnz and B10Dave like this.