New Zealand road trip on a PCX

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by Kiwi Mick, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    Brilliant stuff!
    #41
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  2. bonneville53

    bonneville53 kiwi

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    Same here in Oz, really bad drought for last few years. Substantial rain this late summer and autumn. Tough gig on the land. Born and raised in Southland all I can remember is the drizzle from the SW. Oh and the bikes at Hayes & sons hardware store.
    #42
  3. bonneville53

    bonneville53 kiwi

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    Same here in Oz, really bad drought for last few years. Substantial rain this late summer and autumn. Tough gig on the land. Born and raised in Southland all I can remember is the drizzle from the SW. Oh and the bikes at Hayes & sons hardware store.
    #43
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  4. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Next morning, 19 March - Checked out Bill Richardson's Transport Museum, just up the road from Motorcycle Mecca. Something here for lots of folks..... not just vehicles, there are sections on everyday life over the years, and even cricket.

    One of many Fords featured in this museum. Founder, Bill Richardson, was no fan of GM / Holden!

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    This Ford Model K Tourer (1906 - 08) has a 6 cylinder engine producing 40 hp.

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    1935 Ford V8....... when I was in my high school (Otorohanga College) field hockey 1st XI, we played in a tournament at Pukekohe. Two of us were billeted on a farm near the nearby coastal town of Waiuku. They had one of these, in which the son took us to the beach..... big buzz doing 110 km/hr (70 mph) on the sand!

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    Early days of trucking was quite basic.

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    Case Comfort King...... not sure that tractor drivers of today would rate the comfort too highly. Five times the hp of the TEA 20 I first learned to drive on, but the tech was not much more advanced.

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    I got my HGV (Class 2 & 4) driving licence in a Bedford similar to this 1936 model. That was about 1976, in Darfield.

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    Trucks of all eras and size

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    The Mini that featured in the classic 1981 NZ movie "Goodbye Pork Pie", as it looked near the end of the Blondini Gang's run from the law.

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    Not just transport, the museum has sections featuring other aspects of life in NZ in the past. When I was a kid in Otorohanga, the King Country was "dry".... no alcohol was sold. When booze was allowed in town the dring age was 21, and the pub closed at 6.00 PM. Teenage dates were a milkshake and listening to the jukebox at Michael's Milkbar.

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    There was a snooker room out the back. The milkbar is still there, I guess still owned, though no longer run by, Michael of the famed Haddad's Menswer next door.
    #44
  5. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    I would have liked to spend a bit more time in Southland, visiting the Catlins to the east, and Manapouri to the west, but with autumn in the air, the weather was getting colder and more changeable. Besides, I had job applications in, up north. It seemed prudent to press on, with the aim of getting back to the Waikato by early to mid April.

    After visiting the Transport Museum I took the direct route of about 200 km to Queenstown, leaving about 2.00 PM, on a cool day with a bit of rain threatening.

    The first half of the journey was long straight roads, through flat land. Mainly large dairy farms on irrigated pasture, with the odd cereal crop awaiting suitable weather to harvest. North of Lumsden the countryside and roads made for a more interesting ride.

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    Plains of irrigated pature, carrying large dairy herds dwarfed by the mountains beyond. DSCF9116.jpg

    Getting into some more interesting countryside.

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    Getting into the mountains, baling a late crop of quite nice looking clover rich haylage.

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    Southern end of Lake Wakatipu..... this was as far as I got last time I was around these parts, on a Honda CB350, back in 1975. I was heading for invercargill, but when the weather changed to wet and cold I returned to Queenstown.

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    #45
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  6. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Spent the morning in Queenstown, visiting several potential employers.... language schools seemed quite busy there, but all fully staffed.

    Sunny day, so did some laundry, then took the lakeside road to Glenorchy, about a 90 km round trip.

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    Started out fine and sunny, for the westward part of the trip, but battled a strong headwind and changeable skies, with rain in the offing upon turning to the north. By the time I got to Glenorchy it was quite cold and starting to rain. Beat a hasty return to Queenstown, to take my laundry in as it started to rain there.

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    #46
  7. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Left Queenstown, bound for Tekapo.... checked out Shotover Jet Boat action, and tranquil Arrowtown on the way.

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    Majestic setting for Shotover Jet HQ.

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    Navigating shallow water through a narrow section of the river.

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    The classic jet boat 180ยบ turn to a halt.

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    Originally a gold mining town established in the 1860s, Arrowtown was nothing flash when I passed through 45 years ago. Since then it has been spruced up to preserve the way it probably wasn't in the 19th century.

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    The Hill's Golf Course, Arrowtown

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    #47
  8. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Arrowtown to Tekapo
    Bungy jumping, vineyards, Lake Dunstan, and dairy farming have all arrived on the scene since I last travelled this road on a Honda CB 350 in 1975.

    Kawarau Suspension Bridge is where comercial bungy jumping started back in 1988.

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    Jumpers have the choice of "wild" (full 43 metres to touch the water) or "mild" (bounce up before touching the water)

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    Either way, recovery from the jump is less than elegant.

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    Large areas of vineyard have arrived in the area over the past few years.

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    Small hydro-electric schemes, such as the Roaring Meg project produce power with minimal effect on the environment compared to massive dams.

    The scheme, commissioned in 1936, draws water from a 10 metre dam 3.6 km upstream. It flows at a rate of 1,300 litres per second, through 2 power stations. The upper one has an operating head of 125 metres, and has an output of 1,263 kilowats. The lower station, pictured here, has an operating head of 304 metres, and an output of 3000 kilowatts. The annual production of the scheme is about 30 gigawat hours.

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    Gold miners, many of them Chinese, lived in these cottages during the gold rush years of the 1860s

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    The Clyde Dam, NZs third largest hydroelectric dam (output 432 megawats), crated Lake Dunstan on the Clutha River in 1992. It flooded part of the town of Cromwell and a lot of prime stone fruit orchards. Now in addition to electrcity the lake provides irrigation for vineyards and new orchards in the area.

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    Irrigated pasture and vinyards now cover land that used to be used to farm merino sheep.

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    #48
  9. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    The road up to Lindis Pass, the boundary between Otago and Canterbury.

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    Lindis Pass @ 971 m is the highest point on NZ's State Highway network in the South Island, and the second highest in NZ, after the Desert Road in the North Island.

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    Icebreaker apparel, and fine wool suits, growing on the backs of merino sheep, which have been farmed in the Mackenzie Basin since the 1850s.

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    The odour of dairy cattle just doesn't seem right in the MacKenzie Basin.... Environment Canterbury consent being sought for more, is facing opposition from various quarters, thankfully.

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    Aoraki / Mount Cook, NZ's highest mountain @ 3724 metres, seen from the shore of Lake Pukaki.

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    Mount John, near Tekapo. At 1,029 metres, with clear air in NZ's driest region, and "dark sky" reserve status, it is a favourable site for astronomy.

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    There are several telescopes atop Mount John. The largest is the 1.8 metre MOA telescope, which was built by Japanese astronomers, and opened in 2004.

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    Attached Files:

    #49
  10. 340hp

    340hp Long timer

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    Beautiful trip guide and photos.

    The photos of the bays on the road to Te Arora bring me back to great memories. A friends parents own a batch near the old Marae on the road up and over the cape leaving town. Spent time under the big pohutukawa tree and collected black paua in the bay to treat the family for dinner.

    I also enjoyed Glenorchy. I spent a few days there 25 years ago, in the pub, recovering from a one day sprint of the Greenstone trek after doing the Routeburn.

    I could go on... and on.

    I am glad you enjoyed your memories, as much as I have. Thanks.
    #50
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  11. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Was going to stop two nights at Tekapo, wanting to do the Dark Skies Project tour up to the observatory on Mount John, but no joy with the weather.

    It cleared on the second morning, so I stayed another night. Still uncertain of what the evening would bring, I took the cheaper option of Tekapo Stargazing, which includes a virtual star watching, then using a high end amateur telescope when the sky did clear for a while, and observing the heavens while floating in the Tekapo Hot Spring pool. Was a good buzz, and learned a bit.

    Cloud coming over the hill from Canturbury behind The Church of the Good Shepherd.

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    The iconic MacKenzie Sheepdog Statue. A shepherd in NZ is nothing without good dogs. Livestock in this country could not be farmed without them. I had a couple in an earlier life as a farmhand.... I do miss them, and the lifestyle, but one way and another, for better or worse, life has moved on since then. I like dogs, but would only have one again if it had a job for it to do. Not really into the taking the family pet on a string for walks thing.

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    Road to Godley Peaks Station on the south side of Lake Tekapo. Saw some irrigated land producing pasture for sheep to graze. Used to be that the sheep grazed the high country, but nowadays that land is being taken out of use for livestock, and the lower land is used more intensively. Thankfully it has not gone over to dairy farming here.

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    I don't know what this herb is, but it looks to have been planted for grazing.

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    Not sure what this sparse cereal is, maybe rye corn. They grew a field of it on the farm i worked on near Methven 47 years ago.... was available to use as a winter feed crop if spring arrived late and the farm was short of hay and other feed crops. Could be grazed, and would shoot again to harvest in autumn.

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    Your Icebreaker merino wool apparel is grown here. Time was that all sheep farms sent their wool to auction, and took the price they got on the day. Nowadays many of the high country farms sell direct to manufacturers. One of my sister's jobs is classing the wool to their specifications.

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    Honesty box for camp fees..... not seen much in NZ these days. When I was young folks newspapers were sold from honesty boxes on city street corners.... fourpence in the box and take your paper

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    #51
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  12. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Southern Cross at Tekapo, which is a designated Dark Sky reserve. On a clear night more stars are visible, and they are more colourful than you'll ever see near cities and towns. DSCF9219 (1).jpg

    The Milky Way over Lake Tekapo.

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    #52
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  13. The Virginian

    The Virginian YouTube n00b Supporter

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    Thanks for sharing the magnificent pictures.
    #53
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  14. B10Dave

    B10Dave Long timer

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    What Eric said. Stunning.
    #54
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  15. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Tekapo to Otira - 23 March '20


    Set off thinking I would stop the night in Methven, the town near where I worked in 1973...... but things didn't turn out that way.

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    Methven seemed awfully, strangely quiet, so I decided to move on to Oxford, a place I had never been before.........

    However, with a southerly change on the way (cold, windy, wet), and the thought of pleasant lodgings I had stayed in previously at Arthur's Pass, I thought that would be good place to hang out for a couple of days until the weather cleared.

    Got to Arthur's Pass about 7.00 PM to be turned away from all lodgings, and no cafe or store open...... "Nice"; 739 metres high on a mountain pass with a southerly already making itself felt, and nowhere to stay.

    "Go to Hokitika.... it's an hour or so away," said the manager of one place.

    Not much choice but to continue, I travelled on into the dusk as rain started to fall...... missing some of the dramatic scenery I had been looking forward to seeing again after more than 40 years.

    15 km down the road at Otira (elevation 370 m) I came across a backpacker's place, where the grumpy old smoking owner said that he and his asthmatic partner were fearful of Covid 19..... move on.

    Another 1 km down the road I got to Otira Stagecoach Hotel, where I was made welcome, with board and lodgings.....

    It was there that I learned of the announcement that afternoon that NZ was now at Level 3 pandemic panic, and would move to Level 4 lockdown in a couple of days......

    Last view of the MacKenzie Basin before heading over Burke's Pass into Canterbury proper.

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    Mount Hutt Skifield..... The road up to the skifield was constructed in 1973. Cultivating fields on a nearby farm back then, I watched as bulldozers worked their way up the mountain.

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    Waimarama Farm, where I worked in 1973.... the entrance has recently been remodeled, but the gate that was there then has been retained and repositioned, next to a cattle stop.

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    The fields I learned to plough on 46 years ago.... using a Massey Ferguson 35 pulling 3 x 12" furrows. The big tractor on the farm was a MF178, pulling 5 x 14" furrows. The land is quite light compared to where I ploughed in the UK, using 4 wheel-drive Ford TW 25, with more than twice the horsepower to pull a reversible plough with 5 x 14" furrows through much heavier soil, albeit somewhat faster.

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    A mixed cropping farm then, on a rotation of about 7 years. After about 2 years in pasture, grazing sheep and beef cattle building fertiliy, fields were ploughed and cropped for five years. Inputs were minimal, mainly superphosphate, and a little compounded fertilizer drilled with some of the crops (wheat, barley, oats, seed potatoes (on land leased to a grower).

    Now, dairy farming on irrigated pasture, it will be reliant on large amounts of nitrogen fertilizer, conserving vast amounts of feed as silage, as well as using imported supplementary feeds to boost production.

    Methven township has two pubs..... the Brown Pub and the Blue Pub, opposite. Shops were closed and town was very quiet for a Monday afternoon.

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    #55
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  16. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Location:
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    Rakaia Gorge, looking north-west

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    Rakaia Gorge is a prime spot for salmon fishing in season.

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    Lake Lyndon is a shallow lake stocked with trout. It freezes over in the winter, when it is popular with ice skaters.
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    Heading west, toward Castle Hill.

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    Nearing the headwaters of the Waimakariri rivers, with rain in the offing at Arthur's Pass.

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    Got to Arthur's Pass about 7.00 PM to be turned away from all lodgings, and no cafe or store open...... "Nice"; 739 metres / 2425 feet high on a mountain pass with a southerly already making itself felt, and nowhere to stay.

    "Go to Hokitika.... it's an hour or so away," said the manager of one place.

    Not much choice but to continue, I travelled on into the dusk as rain started to fall...... missing some of the dramatic scenery I had been looking forward to seeing again after more than

    15 km down the road at Otira (elevation 370 m / 1214 feet) I came across a backpacker's place, where the grumpy old cigarette smoking owner said that he and his asthmatic partner were fearful of Covid 19..... move on.

    Another 1 km down the road I got to Otira Stagecoach Hotel, where I was made welcome, with board and lodgings.....

    It was dark and rainy when I arrived (snapped the next morning)...... Hospitable staff, a hearty meal and a bed with black satin sheets... I felt welcome

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    It was here that I learned of the government announcement that afternoon that NZ was now at Level 3 pandemic panic, and would move to Level 4 lockdown in a couple of days......
    #56
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  17. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    I woke to a clear but frosty morning, and there was quite a good buzz about the staff, who like me, had misgivings about NZ's impending Civid 19 Alert Level 4 - lockdown. They seemed to think I might like to stay the duration.... tempting, but beyond my budget, and it seemed prudent to make a run for the Waikato.

    Waited until the frost had cleared, before heading off on the 430 km run to Picton, with a couple of things I hoped to do in Greymouth on the way. No rain, but it threatened at times, the road was damp in parts and very cold in the mountains, especially on Highway 63 near St Arnaud.

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    Stopping to take photos was not on my mind..... Did stop to get the bike serviced, and sort some things out at the bank in Greymouth......

    And did stop with a flat tyre near Blenheim. I had a repair kit. It turned out to be easier and quicker to deal with than repairing a tubed tyre.

    A rushed trip that I would normally have spread over a couple of days on the road, with a couple of days stopped at a couple of places along the way.

    The Otira Stagecoach has an eclectic collection of gadgets and vehicles from days of yore...... In her 70's my grandmother waanted to get a moped like this, but my mother talked her out of it.... She didn't like the idea of her mother riding a motorcycle

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    The hotel had a number of pets, including a parrot and this rabbit, out for a morning wander.

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    First introduced to NZ in 1992, Belted Galloway cattle have become popular on small-holdings around the country

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    Honda Farm Trail & Road had the Honda PCX serviced in about the time it would have taken a mechanic in Thailand to do the job. I had a cup of coffee around the corner, and it was done in about half an hour...... a different experience from where I bought it. They managed to take an outrageous nearly 2 hours to get it sorted. (picture from website)

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    The bill from Honda Farm Trail & Road was a reasonable $107.00..... I was stung $191.00 by the dealer in Hamilton, where i bought the bike to do less at the previous service.

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    The InterIslander was in sight, but no luck with getting a booking for me!
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    Folks were camped all over town as they awaited their ferry crossing to Wellington DSCF9308.jpg

    I found lodgings at The Villa in Picton, for the duration of the lockdown, and a few days more, until I could cross Cook Strait.

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    #57
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  18. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    Location:
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    Picton Coast loop - 1 & 6 April 2020

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    Covid 19 lockdown in Picton was not as strictly enforced as in NZ cities, so I was able to go for a ride occasionally, which kept the battery charged up on my motorcycle

    An enjoyable several kilometres up hill out of Picton comes a magnificent view of Port Underwood.
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    Commercial fishing boats were anchored for the duration of the lockdown, but folks were enjoying the beach and a kid was trying his luck in a rubber ducky.

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    Took an unsealed road around the north side of Port Underwood....... under power cables sending electricity to the North Island.

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    Later in the day mist came over the hill into Port Underwood.

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    #58
  19. Kiwi Mick

    Kiwi Mick Adventurer

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    A few days later I headed south of Port Underwood to Robin Hood's Bay, mostly unsealed road for 25 km.

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    Then on to Rarangi Beach.....

    Beach, golf course, power cables and vineyards for miles.

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    A couple of women were at the beach with their dogs..... the women ignored me, but the dogs seemed pleased to see me. One returned to it's owner when called. The other wanted to play, so play we did for 10 or 15 minutes.

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    The last living creature I touched for several weeks of Covid 19 lockdown and social distancing!
    #59
  20. spmcg

    spmcg n00b

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    Very interesting report, thanks - especially for another expat Kiwi wondering about the lockdown atmosphere there.

    For the run south from Napier I would have recommended avoiding SH2 and taking the road south from about Paki Paki sort of inland from the coast (though actually less 'inland' than SH2). You can get almost all the way south without needing to touch SH2, which I also dislike, coming out at Featherstone. There's a small part near Waipukurau where you have to muck about so much to avoid SH2 that its easier just to use the highway for a little stretch.

    Also interesting about the perils of living overseas for so long in relation to NZ Super. I'm planning on going back shortly, in my late 50s, to get the five year residency part done; but even then one only qualifies for a pro-rated penson, based on total months in NZ since turning 20. Better than nothing. I believe right now its become somewhat easier to qualify for WINZ payments, since as you point out jobs are hard to come buy in our 'demographic'.
    #60
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