Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Happyidiot, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Some more photos from the 23rd of May.

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    After 3 weeks Jenny looks happy to be getting "Bike Ready" again, no pics of our escape from Auckland. Traffic was moderate to heavy but we did it.

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    Quick fuel stop, still had a 1/3 of a tank but the Yellow/Black Beast still took 24 litres to fill up, then the computer was showing a range of 720kms, now that is cool ! Meanwhile Jen uses the mini 4 iPad to find somewhere to stay.

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    Success we have our own room & space, whahoo...!
    #81
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  2. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Wednesday, May, 24th.

    Jenny & I plan to enjoy our last week in NZ to the MAX ! So we will splurge a bit more then normal. If we are paying top $$$ for a room we will make the most of it, so expect lots of 10am departure times my friends.

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    Matakana..Ready for our first full day Motorbike Riding in NZ'eds Northland, couldn't ask for a better day on the cusp of winter, sunny, not too many clouds about 18C day.

    Everyone wants to talk to the 2 Aussies on the BIG BMW GSA, so we get out of our room at 10am, by the time we finish talking to interested people we are on the road just after 10.30am. 45 minutes later we stop in Leigh for a very late breakfast.

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    Stopped at Leigh for a late breakfast.

    We did about 20kms on loose grey gravel road after Leigh, the Yellow/Black Beast handled it well on its 50% worn Heindenau knobbly tyres. The weather was perfect, our hardest job was navigating. The GPS, GoPro & Mini IPad are all shoved into the back pocket of my Rev-it Jacket & Jenny just grabs out the appropriate gadget as required. The Garmin GPS only has about a 2 hour battery life & we have no way to charge it up on the BMW.

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    Took a wrong turn Whangarai, were still rewarded with great scenery & windy roads, had to double back about 10kms . If you look closely you can see the wild feral Cocks roaming in the background . People just let them go in the bush.

    This may sound crazy everyone. While touring India we just used a bicycle Garmin Touring GPS with a 10 hour battery life to navigate the Indian spiderweb of roads. We just set it to road use only and it worked a treat. I was so close to bringing it on this trip, I now regret the decision not too ! It's currently lazily sitting in Mandurah WA on the handle bars of my Expedition Bicycle....ho hum !

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    Tutukaka, another high dollar motel, living large this last week in New Zealand.

    The night is getting on & I want to get this RR happening again for your enjoyment, so too finish off, we had a great day riding, we covered 184kms & arrived at Tutukaka at 3.30pm. Couple of beers, a wine & dinner ends a great day back on the bike. Looking forward too tomorrow, catch ya later !
    #82
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  3. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Still on the Wednesday 24th of May here are some GoPro pics of our 184km ride from Matakana to Tutukaka. Our new Shoei Helmets don't yet have any GoPro attachments stuck on them yet so Jenny, who is playing pillion cuts sick with the GoPro Selfie Stick.

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    Having some iPad issues, tonight I'll do an update, hopefully that will fix it....see you tomorrow

    .
    #83
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  4. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    I saw that bike outside the dealers last weekend when I nipped down for a filter - presume you are hiring it and not buying it???
    Wifey and I are 400kgs all up on the 650 Vstrom, so that beast should handle you two and your kit no problem.

    Looks like you have already found some nice roads up there (where is that last one??). It is a nice place to ride especially this time of year as its a bit quiet. I generally try to avoid SH1 until you are past the SH10 turn off to Bay of Islands/Kerikeri. After that it gets better. Looks like that is what you are doing.

    If you fancy a splurge I hear the Carrington Resort way up north is nice.

    My favourite trip up there is back from Kaitaia on SH1 to Mangamuka, turn off for Rawene Ferry, cross the Hokianga Harbour then round and down the west side on SH12 through the Waipoua Forest. You will have the road to yourselves this time of year.

    Thanks for the updates, great to see the place through your eyes.
    #84
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  5. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Hi Oldbeer, the last GoPro snap shot is from near Pakiri. The lady at the Dairy/Cafe in Leigh gave us the heads up on it. Only 2kms long she said but very steep & windy. After a bit of bitumen we were then on a flatish section of gravel 15-20kms long that ended at Tomarata, I think it was called School Road (?) .
    Happy enough with the high mileage GSA, everything seems to be working as expected. We hand it back to the dealership on the 30th, we are taking it on a long "test ride".
    We are doing our best to avoid the SH1, I've passed your suggestion of roads onto the primary navigator "Jenny".
    Your idea for us to:
    "My favourite trip up there is back from Kaitaia on SH1 to Mangamuka, turn off for Rawene Ferry, cross the Hokianga Harbour then round and down the west side on SH12 through the Waipoua Forest. You will have the road to yourselves this time of year" .
    Has Jenny excited...thanks

    This has been an excellent Side Trip from our primary Australian Tour Ride, we have been discussing coming back in summer & doing a secondhand bike buy back scheme for a 3 month tour. It looks like the best way to go. The dealers we have spoken too have said that the cost for the bike could work out to be as low as $20 per day.
    Will.
    #85
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  6. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Thursday 25th of May Tutukaka to Kerikeri, via Opua, 180kms.


    Just checking how much yesterday at the Tutukaka Quality Hotel Oceans cost us, it wasn't pretty but we did enjoy ourselves & dinner was top notch ! Lucky they were quiet and willing to serve a couple of Hairy Aussie Bikers. I'm really starting to develop a full on adventure beard, guess I'd better tidy myself up soon. Oh yeah the Hotel accommodation, food & drinks bill.....$307NZD. We'd better not do that too often or we will be back at work next year !!!

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    Adventure Beard is progressing well. Don't mind the new helmet & intercom as well.

    The fine weather is holding up for 2 Happyidiots out on a bike, lots more back roads today, we did miss our turn towards Russell, tried to take a shortcut & ended up on some goat track forestry trail, not many pics but some GoPro after we wrestled the GSA around on the skinny track with a huge drop off on one side & steep slope on the other. Nearly lost it, like drop it during the manoeuvre, fortunately Jenny had dismounted so I was just able to hold the weight (didn't bother too tell her how close it was).

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    Temporarily geographically challenged, impressed at the performance of the GSA.

    The GSA1200 is starting to impress me now, yes I know it's heavy and has some other negatives but for comfortable two-up riding, while carrying some gear it seems like a great compromise if you stick to sealed/gravel roads. I have no doubt that the Bikes abilities far exceed my own, I guess I'd seriously consider (a used low km) one if I decided to get a different Adventure Tourer. We really gave it (& me) a work out today.


    I can honestly say that today has been one of the most windy/twisty rides I've ever done. At Okiato we caught the Ferry across to Opua it only took about 10 minutes & cost $5.50 for the bike & us....good value, big vehicles, over 8 meters are up for $55. After the Ferry trip it was lots more challenging windy roads, I really enjoyed it. Jenny & I both reckon if we ever immigrated to NZ, we'd be looking to live on the east side of Northland.

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    The Ferry arrives at Opau & I disembarked on the BMW, where's Jenny, well someone has to take the photo.

    Right now we are staying at the Kerikeri Holiday Park in a self contained Studio Room. Tomorrow we go in search of my long lost Step-Brother (who I've never met) & his family. They live somewhere on a farm north of here, looking forward to finally catching up after 30 years.

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    Home for tonight at Kerikeri.

    .
    #86
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  7. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Does anyone know how to load up more then 4 photos using an iPad onto each RR post. For some reason I'm only allowed 4 photos per post ?

    Thursday 25/05 continued
    Here are 4 more random photos from today's 180km ride, hey we did leave at 10am & arrived at Kerikeri around 3pm. Spent about 30 minutes at Oakura Bay enjoying our coffees.

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    Matapouri, amazing little Bay.

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    Jenny thinks that Matapouri is pretty nice, hard to believe we are only 1 week away from the start of winter.

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    On the Ferry crossing over to Opua.

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    Quick toilet break & we share a coke/sausage roll for a snack.
    #87
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  8. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    The old hotel at Rawene is pretty neat - we stayed in it during our drive around the north island honeymoon years ago
    #88
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  9. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Brilliant pictures, but agree we need more of them! No idea how to solve your problem, last time I just created multiple posts.
    Sounds like you rode the coast road after Oakura and then back to the Opua ferry.... last time I did that was in a car, but was just as all the pohutukawa tress were blossoming. A great ride. Interested to know where you went once you have crossed the ferry - not on the main highway to Kerikeri? May have to arrange a test ride on one of those bikes one day - certainly looks the business.

    Really great to see you getting onto the back roads, gravel or otherwise, they are usually much better to ride on and have much less traffic. Just takes a little longer but well worth it imho!

    Your comment about living in Northland if you ever moved here made me smile....I like it too but I'll be interested to see if you still think its the best after you have seen everything else.
    #89
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  10. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Shaggie & Oldbeer, thanks for your support,

    After arriving at Opua on the Ferry we followed Highway 11 through to Paihai then on through to Haruru, next we headed across to Highway 10. I should put a map together & probably will try. It does get a bit confusing out here. We always aim for the backroads, unless we get pressed for time, you are right Oldbeer when you say, they are so much better.
    The only vehicles we past today on the backroads were locals, didn't see one Tourist Van until we were nearly at Kerikeri.

    Will.
    #90
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  11. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Shaggie, I'll keep Rawene in mind, I think we may be there around 3pm on Saturday. Depending on how the ride up to the Cape & back to the West Coast goes.

    Thanks for the advice.....Will.
    #91
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  12. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    The Cape is only 2.5 hours plus coffee stops north of you now, so should be fine. The road up is windy but scenic, especially up the top
    You probs already know this but...if you are coming down 90 Mile Beach don't forget to check the tide! There's a big rock in the middle you won't get round unless its low.
    #92
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  13. Shaggie

    Shaggie Unseen University Supporter

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    Will

    It was a few years back so I can't guarantee it's still cool but in an old school country hotel way - I remember the restaurant was quite grand considering :-)
    #93
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  14. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Not much action today, Jenny & I caught up with my Long Lost Step Bro, Vinny & his wife Teresa on their small 30 acre Hobby Farm. North of Kerikeri. As usual more great Kiwi hospitality ! We are spending the night here
    Only did about 25kms riding, so basically burnt a day of riding in Northland, but well worth it.

    Tomorrow we head for Cape Reinga.....the north tip of NZ !

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    Wild "Cocks" attack us at the Stone Store House (circa 1835) near Kerikeri. Seriously lucky to survive this onslaught ! We have discovered that the locals just dump their "redundant" chickens/rosters in the NZ bush...this could end up interesting.


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    The old Stone Storage House, Kerikeri.

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    Rainbow Falls Kerikeri.

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    Coffee Break in Kerikeri, across the road is a Barber Shop so Happyidiot "Will" tidies up his act !
    #94
  15. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Nice place Kerikeri, was wondering how it was going to take until Saturday to get to Rawene, now I understumble.
    Weather looks good for a ride up the top and back tomorrow - you should enjoy that. If you have time to poke your nose into Whangaroa Harbour just past Kaeo, its worth a look.
    Fish and Chip shop in Mangonui is world famous in New Zealand, but you'll be passing that at morning tea time so maybe not ideal timing :) Mangonui is a pretty place that you will miss completely if you take the by pass....which will save you all of 5 minutes in your trip. Unless of course you decide to stop for a second breakfast of fish and chips!

    I have to say I am more than a bit envious, traveled those roads many times but have yet to get my Vstrom past Kerikeri. Next summer I'll be following in your wheel tracks.
    #95
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  16. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Some more pics from our slack Friday ride, near Kerikeri, 26th of May.
    Absolutely Loving The Trip Oldbeer,
    As you can imagine I've now had excess beers with Vinny the long lost step bro (Son of My Step Dad, married to my Mum for 30 years).
    I'll take your advise on board & check it out on the map in the morning. Really looking forward to reaching the Cape tomorrow. Thanks for the info mate, it all helps.
    Will
    #96
  17. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Vinny & his 2yr old daughter Emily, enjoying the trampoline......higher Dad ! Kerikeri NZ
    #97
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  18. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Saturday 27th of May, NZ, Bay of Isles, 298kms
    north of Kerikeri - Matauri Bay - Whangaroa - Mangonui - Awanui - Cape Reinga then back to Pukenui.

    Catching up with Vinny & Teresa for the night was great. They did really well looking after a couple of unknown random middle aged Straya Animals. We headed off from their small 30 acre farm at 10am. Vinny advised us on some great places to see along the way.

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    Teresa, Vinny & their two young daughters see off the happy travelers.

    Initially we were riding on secondary roads passing through some of the small towns mentioned above, you could spend a whole summer checking out the coves & bays here, but still only scratch the surface. The GSA is going well & I have no complaints, still don't like the indicator setup. On a couple occasions I've tooted the loud horn at some poor innocent NZ motorist when trying to hit the left indicator switch....whoops. I guess you would eventually get use to it.

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    Just a small snapshot of NZ's Bay of Isles. Matauri Bay.

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    We have a stop to look at the incredible harbour at Whangaroa.

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    Jenny experiments with th Gopro riding along the Whangaroa Harbour.

    The biggest highlight of our day was riding up to the very northern tip of the North Island, Cape Reinga ! Wow it was good & worth the visit. It's a 104kms up there (1.5 hrs ride time) then the only way out is the same road, right now we are about 60% of the way back & parked up in a Cabin at the Pukenui Campground. We arrived here just after 5pm & the sun was starting to set so a big day for us on the bike.

    There is the option of riding along 90 Mile Beach. Tomorrow we will head over to the Beach & check it out, the possible route we have planned includes about 20kms of riding along the southern section of NZ's 90 Mile Beach, could be interesting !?!?
    #98
  19. Happyidiot

    Happyidiot Busy making the dream happen !

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    Saturday 27th of May, NZ, Bay of Isles, 298kms.
    Continued, some more photos from our awesome day !

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    One thing I've learnt long ago, there is always someone crazier then yourself out there traveling the world....Meet Max from Brazil, been on the road for the last 9 years traveling on his "world expedition skateboard" he has been all over & is planning on riding the thing through SEA, India, Pakistan, etc, onto Russia in time to see the World Cup Soccer in 2018. (makes riding a bicycle overland seem like a wimps option).

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    Looking over towards the Tasman Sea (west) from Cape Reinga.

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    Momentous travel experience, reaching the Northern Point of NZ on a Motorbike. Not something you do that often. Pacific Ocean (east) in the background....oh yeah, got that haircut back in Kerikeri.

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    Cape Reinga Light House, built 1879, can be seen at night from 35kms offshore.
    #99
  20. oldbeer

    oldbeer Grandadventurer

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    Good luck for tomorrow - getting on and off the beach with that beast is probably going to be a challenge if there's a lot of soft sand.
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