Mainland Wanderings (New Zealand)

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Te Hopo, Jan 5, 2015.

  1. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    New beginnings.

    As the new year starts I am preparing to go forth with a whole new chapter in this journey we call life.
    I've just turned 29 years old, own my own home and have no partner or kids, so what's holding me back?

    2014 was a great year for me, definitely one of the best in my life with constant adventures, many new friends have been made and I have reconnected with just as many old friends. I have been places I had only heard of or read about and lead others to destinations they didn't even know about. Many many nights have been spent out under the moon and stars, drinking wine and whiskey, smoking cigars and telling tall tales or sitting by myself contemplating the answer to life, the universe and everything.

    The only thing that marred my year has been my health, with more visits to doctors and physiotherapists in one year than the whole past decade. I love my work but it has taken it's toll over the past 15 years, I'm not very old age wise and yet I physically feel knackered.
    And I only have to look around me among my older friends to see plenty of those who worked too long and left it too late to do those adventures they had spent all that time dreaming about.

    One Thursday night a few months back, I decided I needed to pursue those dreams while I can make the absolute most of them. So a few plans were set in motion, I bought what I reckon is the best bike and gear for the job, gave notice at work and as of today, I have left and am on the road. At this stage I have a loose route planned that is likely to change and no real time schedule or need to be back home by a certain date.
    Anticipation is building and I'm looking forward to exploring new trails, meeting new people and visiting old friends again.

    The bike was prepared last week and given a thorough 500km shakedown run with some of the local and Nelson lads.
    All went well: http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=609828&page=123 Post 1837 onwards
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    Sweet, a service and I'm good to load up and go.

    Day 1

    After a leisurely start today I left home at 11am and headed off around the Queen Charlotte Drive to see my first lot of friends, my old employers.
    It was a bit of an eye opener at the start, I started riding the road like I have literally a few thousand times and it was only a few corners before I was forced to remember I am on a fully loaded up bike. :eek1

    Once I arrived, over a few coffees and sandwiches we discussed happenings and the future for them without me there to stay on top of things :D
    When it was time to move on I couldn't resist getting a photo with some of the Bradley kids and grand kids.
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    From there I was a little nervous, the bike is heavier than I'm used to and the conditions of the track ahead was unknown.
    Once I hit the gravel I noticed a cool spot to stop and let the tires down a tad:
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    With 18psi in the front the bike was feeling much better and I continued on my way up the Maungatapu track, it was rough in sections, smooth in others and oh so much fun.
    I had my mojo back, the bike was feeling balanced and comfortable :clap

    This hole looked enticing in the 31'c heat but it was a long way down sheer sides so no swimming here unfortunately:
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    It was a relief to make it to the top and get off the bike to cool down, those hills distant right surround my home:
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    And where I was heading for the night, right down in the midst of the heat haze, Nelson:
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    The descent was awesome, the track was smooth hard pack with drainage humps for the most part and I was having a blast and working up a sweat.
    I inadvertently took a wrong turn and found myself at a nice beach with a beautiful pool but seeing as it's the water supply, I thought I better not go for a swim in it :lol3
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    After a cool off, it was time to visit my cousins which is where I'm at now.
    I've a big feed of home grown salad and spuds, some nice chicken, a bottle of wine and many many laughs
    I'm thinking it's time for bed.

    Freedom is found in moments like these, when the track ahead is unknown, home seems distant and the ability to let go of self imposed limits and step outside comfort zones is almost tangible.

    Day one done and dusted.
    #1
  2. kiwibolt

    kiwibolt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Oddometer:
    22
    Awesome. Looking forward to this one. I lived in Hamilton from 2003-2008 and I miss the hell out of NZ. Can't wait to see some of the countryside through your lens.

    Got a rough plan of where you're headed? Looks like you're not taking the ferry to the North Island based on your route. I've got a ton of great memories from driving through the South Island. Such amazingly beautiful country.
    #2
  3. kiwibul

    kiwibul Staffy

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    277
    Location:
    Blenheim
    looking good Deano, if your in reefton and need a bed let me know as the kids all live down there, they can show you some good roads, have fun and keep safe....
    #3
  4. Box'a'bits

    Box'a'bits In need of repair

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2008
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    4,133
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Subscribed :D
    #4
  5. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,429
    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Yea, I'm just doing the South Island for now but that may change yet.
    So I'm heading North to Takaka/Golden Bay, south down the West coast, around the bottom of Fiordland/Southland and zigzagging my way back up Otago and Canterbury back to Marlborough.
    Heaps of tracks are in my notebook and GPS and if all goes to plan, I'm planning on taking 4+weeks at it.

    Short days, stop and admire the scenery, take a swim, have a holiday :D
    #5
  6. John C

    John C Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    113
    Location:
    Redwood Valley Nelson NZ
    Following with interest.

    Good luck Deano!
    #6
  7. jmcg

    jmcg Turpinated..

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    494
    Location:
    The Dandenong Ranges, Vic
    Great pics!

    :thumb

    Looking forward to your RR.

    Cheers,

    JM.
    #7
  8. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Destination for the day, Takaka via a few back roads

    Sent from my GT-S6500D using Tapatalk 2
    #8
  9. nichloasjerry1

    nichloasjerry1 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2014
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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Count me in :freaky
    #9
  10. vaara

    vaara Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Oddometer:
    420
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Great start! :clap Looking forward to the rest.
    #10
  11. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Man what a day, run into a mate travelling over this way, so we've been doing some crazy climbing through the bush and swimming at pohara.

    I'll try and post some pics later on if I still have reception

    Sent from my GT-S6500D using Tapatalk 2
    #11
  12. zaTTaz

    zaTTaz LOUD NOISES.

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2014
    Oddometer:
    929
    Location:
    Te Tau Ihu o Te Waka a Māui/Berlin
    Subbed! :1drink

    Is the coffee boat still around there somewhere? Always worth a nudge :D
    #12
  13. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,429
    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Where's that then?

    Day 2
    Another slow start, my cuzzy cooked us all up a bunch of these to start the day off right, bacon wrapping with avacado, cherry tomatoes, parsley and an egg cracked on the top:
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    I was in no hurry to head north so the decision was made to explore Pigeon Valley Road through to Dovedale, the scenery was nothing special but the gravel was smooth hard pack, the seal smooth and twisty and the scent of the Eucalyptus and Pine trees lining the road was heavenly!
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    From there it was a cruisey ride up the Motueka Valley road, admiring the crops of apples, tobacco and hops growing in such healthy looking profusion.
    A quick fuel up in Motueka and I was back on the road heading towards Takaka Hill and it's horrible holiday traffic, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing as it kept me in check.

    The ride down the north side was MUCH better with very little traffic to contend with :evil
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    What an impressive hill it is
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    Hunger and heat meant a quick stop to buy some lunch and a bottle of beer in Takaka, then heading straight for Pohara.
    Well blow me down, I found a familiar looking vehicle and it's occupants already there.
    My mate Joe is doing a similar route with his American fiancee so we spent some time catching up on the cricket and cleaning up the bottle before we jumped in the ocean for a swim.

    Now we both know of this crazy little route up onto the cliff behind Pohara but it was 10 year since either of us had walked it.
    I have to say in under the trees it was slightly cooler but not when you're climbing very steep rock faces.

    Admiring a large Rata:
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    The track goes under the Ratas roots...
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    ...past some interesting limestone formations...
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    ...climb up a very very steep, muddy slope by clinging to more rata roots...
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    ...and break out of the bush to a view like this, thats a damned scary drop right next to where I'm standing (I posed for one shot then thought fuck this, that'll do :rofl)
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    The climb down was a whole 'nother story, Joe decided to explore to see if we could find another route.
    Well after bluffs, over grown bush, muddy bogs and a lot of sidling we were back down at the road, dirty, scratched, very sweaty and ready for another swim.

    Hmmm still early, so why not backtrack to The Grove Scenic Reserve for some much easier trails, this one actually has steps and a viewing platform, luxuuury.
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    It was getting on time to find a place to stay the night but not before a quick visit to the beautiful turquoise waters of Pupu Springs:
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    We stopped further down at the Takaka River for a swim before cruising up to Collingwood and finding a great spot on the beach at the local campground.
    Aaaaaand it was here that I found I'd lost my cell phone. :eek1

    A quick call to it and it was answered, "yea mate I'm camped in the house bus called the Hillbilly Hilton at Takaka River, come and get it whenever".
    Well seeing as I'm heading in the other direction tomorrow, I chucked the panniers in the tent and raced back south again.
    Damn, what a RIDE!
    Empty road, nice surface, light bike, warm evening and a stunning red sunset.
    Too bad I left the camera in the tent in my hurry. :lol3

    So thats it for Day 2, tomorrow I fuel up and Joe and I are making our way out to Westhaven Inlet and south to the Patarau and Anatori Rivers.
    I'm guessing reception is gonna be nil, so you all are gonna have to wait in suspense a few days to find out how we get on.
    #13
  14. nichloasjerry1

    nichloasjerry1 Adventurer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    Keep them coming :evil
    #14
  15. kiwibul

    kiwibul Staffy

    Joined:
    May 15, 2014
    Oddometer:
    277
    Location:
    Blenheim
    great going Deano, Golden Bay has to be one of my favorite spots.( going over there in February for Old Thumpers VMX racing) enjoy the Bay...
    #15
  16. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,429
    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Right well I'm back out to civilisation (Motueka) for less than 5 minutes and Wooodman had already spotted me while I was stuck in traffic :lol3

    I've just parked up down the beach in Mot to have some lunch and catch up with stuff online.
    Now, where were we....

    Day 3

    I'm laying in my tent thinking about getting up when I thought I heard my mate out walking his dog so it was definitely time to get up.
    An hour later there's no sign of him and the dog but I've had breakfast, showered and packed up camp ready to go......... when Joe and the dog hop out of there van :huh
    Damn it, I could have slept in :rofl

    Oh well, mornings don't get much nicer than this:
    [​IMG]

    So once we were finally all fueled up with petrol, food and beer and on the road we headed all the way north to check out Wharariki Beach which was as stunning as ever, no baby seals up the river but we did see a few playing in the waves and one big ol' mama bathing in the sun:
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    Then it was time for the real fun, the run through Whanganui Inlet and out past the Patarau River towards the Anatori River.
    Turquoise tidal ways, white gravel causeways and red flowering Ratas:
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    The Patarau River makes a nice spot to stop for a picnic lunch but we didn't want to camp there as there's no shelter at all:
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    So down the road we continued:
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    All the way to the Anatori River, defintely time for a swim:
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    It seems the ford was deeper than a lot of people were comfortable with as I saw two bikes dropped and a whole bunch more come over on utes.
    If it was a route through I would have given it a go, but seeing as it's a simple in and out route and I was fully loaded, I decided to play it safe and find somewhere to camp for the night.
    Backtracking only a km or two I found us a great spot up opn the hill:
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    It was quite nice napping in the shade of the flaxes:
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    Later on Joe decided to cook us all a mean feed of curried veges, damn it was good and we were all pretty stuffed afterwards:
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    While it was cooking I went and climbed the giant sand dune opposite camp, here was my view:
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    And theirs:
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    Just to cap the day off:
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    #16
  17. Te Hopo

    Te Hopo Nomad

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,429
    Location:
    Marlborough, New Zealand
    Day 4

    Hmmm an overcast morning, well it made a nice change to not be sweating by 8:30am but the sand flies were out in force.
    Joe and Anna headed back out early but I stuck around and explored some of the powerline access trails before I too booked it out to Collingwood where I ran into them again.
    Must be time for a beer and brunch at the Mussel Inn, as usual the food was ok and the beer excellent.

    Afterwards I continued south solo as I wanted to see if I could find the Parapara track but no luck.
    Ok, time to fuel up and head out to Totaranui as it's been years since I vivisted there.
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    Someone was having a play on the rock faces:
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    Traffic was surprisingly light and the road was in a fun condition :evil
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    I'd never been over the road to Awaroa Inlet and seeing as it's only 4km I thought why not:
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    What a cool little road, a few shallow fords, some sandy sections to keep you on your toes and stuff all traffic (I only saw two mountain bikers)
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    Beautiful:
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    On the way back out I also tried to find the Birds Clearing Track and got onto Birds Road, but when it came to two closed farm gates and time was getting on I thought it's time to head for camp.

    So why not the Cobb River?
    The road in was shrouded in low cloud and it seemed to go on forever, much longer than the 40kms it's supposed to be.
    It was so clouded in vivisbility on the road was down to less than 50m in places which kept my speed down.
    But when I started dropping down into the Cobb Resovoir area I was under the clouds and had a great run up the side to the headwaters where I pitched camp for the night:
    [​IMG]

    I'll cover the ride out next time as it's about time I got back on the road, heading for Siberia Flat tonight or if I make good time, maybe even Lake Rotoroa so I can do the Braeburn in the morning.
    #17
  18. Oaters

    Oaters Old - not bold - moto riding addict

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    Location:
    Awakairangi, Aotearoa
    Excellent stuff Deano - looks like you're having a great time - I'm impressed with this update you've achieved whilst having lunch! What's your computing setup - a tablet
    #18
  19. skyguy

    skyguy Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2009
    Oddometer:
    207
    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    I'm always a sucker for a good NZ ride report. Keep it coming!
    #19
  20. kiwibolt

    kiwibolt Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2014
    Oddometer:
    22
    Nice!!

    A couple of my favorite spots were the Albatross Centre out on the end of the Otago peninsula outside Dunedin (no better place to watch a sunrise) and all of the coves and beaches out near Akaroa. Love that coastline.
    #20