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Feb
25

A beautiful day riding through large tracts of farming land forest and incredible mountains and our troops cannot believe that the awesomeness we promised is even better than they expected. Just glorious sights in every direction!

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The quirky geography sights begin with a chilly and overcast morning.

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Yay, the sun came out as we started to climb.

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Climbing, climbing, first chance to pull over and look back and we only just got back on the bikes in time to beat a labouring truck.

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More great sights.

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The road opens for a bit.

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Castle Hill, we didn’t walk to it because those who did looked about the size of ants from the car park.

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Ski areas peel off from the road at regular intervals.

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And then in the wilderness the Flock Hill Station established in 1857. Must be a rugged existence.

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Making a mile and the troops are coming.

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And down a big hill and we find another farm.

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Awesome glacial valley.

And yep that’s snow in the distance.

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Arthurs Pass Post Office and book exchange in an old fridge. Very quirky.

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Lunch at Arthurs Pass. We had called into the historic Baileys Hotel, but it wasn’t opening until 3pm so we weren’t hanging around.

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At the Otira Viaduct opened in 1999.

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And here is the Viaduct with a 16% grade. We had to stop on it for quite a while waiting for  broken down truck to be rescued and we were all leaning well back in our seats.

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And the next lookout and wow! Was great to ride through it.

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Our accommodation for the night, the Bella Vista Hokitika, compact but functional, nice and clean and hosts very helpful. Walking distance to wherever we want to go. Some awesome buildings here, will try and get some shots in the morning but we will be on a mission to get to our helicopter flight over the glaciers … so we will see.


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Feb
24

Sleep in followed by some wandering around the streets, some window shopping and some more serious and for some a dip in the thermal pools. Very noticeably smaller numbers here than last year and an almost total absence of Asian faces as a result of the corona virus which is hitting the local economy very hard. Glorious sunshine all day and off on the bikes again tomorrow. 

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Wandering for a coffee but couldn’t get any takers for a joint bike ride … might have had something to do with comments of those wanting the back seats and saying they would pretend to pedal!

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A view of Hanmer Springs.

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And another.

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And another.

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And another.

Magnificent Redwoods planted along the front of the spa buildings. Awesome.

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The beautiful Heritage Spa hotel.


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Feb
23

 

A chilly start but soon warmed up and became wonderful sunshine and we had a brilliant day of riding, spectacular views of forests, farms, craggy cliffs, mountain passes and wide glacial valleys. Wow, wow and wow!

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Close to sunset last night.

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Awesome rocks … and the Tavern in the distance.

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A Weka.

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One of many beautiful and rugged beaches on our way to Greymouth.

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An impressive memorial to the 400 plus people who have died in mining disasters in the Western Inspectorate of the Western region

Morning mist lifting as we head for Reefton.

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Brunner Mill Memorial, the largest industrial disaster in New Zealand’s history. Was a catalyst for safer working practices.

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Lots of dairy farming on the way.

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And a train finally.

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Sights in Reefton.

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Main Street Reefton.

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Mountains everywhere.

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Great Glacial Valleys.

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And again.

And another we named Adrian's Lookout since he found it down the end of a track for me.

Nearly into Hanmer Springs.

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And our accommodation for the night the ASURE Hanmer Inn Motel beautifully presented, handy to town and hosts wonderful. We stayed here last year and were happy to return and bring the troops.


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Feb
22

In spite of the fact that it was supposed to be fine all day the rain caught up with us just after lunch so we didn’t continue on to look at the Cape Foul wind lighthouse and just made a run for Pancake Rocks which in spite of the drizzle when we got there were still magnificent and the ocean thundering in was amazing. Shame it was so grey.

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The Anchor Shipping & Foundry Co Ltd building as we were heading out of Nelson.

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Breakfast at Wakefield and look at the limbs on this tree!

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Great roads to follow.

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Prominent ribs?

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Coffee break at Murchison and the bikes as always are a drawcard .. this time for 2 couples from Hamilton and 1 from Deniliquin.

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High tea for some.

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Kilkenny Lookout, awesome rock overhang.

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The sight of the historic logging town of Lyell complete with 6 hotels in the main street. A lot quieter now.

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A quirky bridge. One of many one lane bridges here but only a few have lights.

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Wow.

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And again.

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Westport for lunch and the rain was starting to chase us so the cameras were safely tucked away and after heading off thinking we would beat it, we stopped to don waterproof layers.

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And here are some of the sights at Pancake Rocks.

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The Blowhole.

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Awesome power of the waves.

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And again.

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And yep they are 2 very determined tourists, but you have to admit they have the right gear on for the weather.

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At the Tavern, quite a view across the road.

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A quirky fitting at the front of the Tavern.

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Our accommodation for the night The Punakaiki Tavern 13/15 Owen Street (Corner State Highway 6) Punakaiki. Reasonably basic but clean and warm and dinner literally a few feet across the carpark in a very quirky building.

 


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Feb
21

 

We started in drizzle which quickly became rain and fog and all variations thereof pretty much all the way to Collingwood which was a shame as it was quite spectacular where we rode. Not to worry it largely fined up on the way back so we could see the vastness of the views which had disappeared into the clouds on the way out. Just beautiful!

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Toad Hall, our brunch spot, all kinds of quirky.

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And inside.

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And the door to the brewery on site.

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Lunch in Collingwood at the Courthouse Café and lots of sights to see.

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Murals on the wall of a café.

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Post Office and Telegraph Building (no longer the post office).

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More murals, this time on the side of the tavern.

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Awesome view as we come back over Takaka Hill.

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And the rocky cliff face behind us. Adrian and Chris waiting for me.

 

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Waiting at the traffic lights for one way traffic to repair many washouts and single lanes as a result. Much friendlier in the dry on our return.

 

Looking out over Richmond and Nelson as we return.

 

And an example of some of the washouts and single lanes.


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Feb
20

 

An early start to catch the ferry and then an awesome ride to Nelson. The day started cool and overcast with low cloud, but we finally got some sun and a comfortable afternoon and our remaining two couples who got into Christchurch and stayed at Kaikoura last night joined us to continue the rest of the journey. They will be in a 4-wheel vehicle which could be handy.

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Weaving our way through the islands and one of the sister ferries is in the distance having passed us.

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Nice lunch spot. Delicious little inlet with a salty smell to accompany our lunch.

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On the way to Nelson.

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And some more and yep a lot of low-level cloud.

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Still coming and check out the driftwood just dropped by a previous flood / tide.

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Lots of logging and farming on the way and beautiful sights.

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Yummy houses in the distance in Nelson.

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And our accommodation for the next 2 nights. Yummy … our own bathrooms and lots of other comfortable stuff at the Admirals Motor Inn 26 Waimea Road Nelson.


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Feb
19

Mmmm a sleep in then a leisurely breakfast followed by a bit of washing than a wander around town including a visit to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. The building itself was beautiful and exhibitions interesting but the most powerful one was the Gallipoli one … instead of getting on the hop on hop off tour after that as we had intended we spent time digesting all we had seen and focused on how grateful that hasn’t been our personal experience. It was magnificently done.

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Washing drying, well some of it.

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Wellington Central Library and surrounds.

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The old boatshed and a bit of the new.

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And the new complete with a wacka and a view across to the Free Ambulance Building..

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The Free Ambulance Building which houses the St John’s Bar & Restaurant where we had lunch and then came back for a coffee an cake after the museum visit.

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The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

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Incredible double life size (at least) models were placed throughout the Gallipoli Exhibition and were incredibly lifelike down to the sweat on the brow, hairs on skin, small blemishes, scars, dirt, blood and everything else possible. Confronting and overwhelming but a quiet place of respect. No flash photography inn the museum and the only model I got a decent shot of was the nurse … sort of synergy there.

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And Bike parking at a premium in Wellington … some may have to wait for others to arrive before departing.

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The Old Bank Shopping Arcade slightly reminiscent of the Royal Arcade in Melbourne

 


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Feb
18

After a leisurely breakfast in Palmerston North we headed off under grey skies and soon after our morning coffee at the Quarter Acre Café the clouds opened up and most of the rest of the trip in was wet so we arrived at the hotel looking a bit like drowned rats but gradually drying out and have enjoyed a stroll around the waterfront.

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On the Square in Palmerston North near our breakfast spot.

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And on the Square again, some very nice buildings.

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Roadworks give a chance to get some interesting photos.

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Wellington sights.

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And again.

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And again.

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And a historic whore house we were told on our first ever trip here. We celebrated my birthday lunch there on that trip.

And our accommodation tonight the Park Hotel Lambton Quay. Not sure how I let 1 bathroom for 3 bedrooms slip by me for a second time, will have to give myself the sack … hope I haven’t done any more of them.


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Feb
17

 Lovely ride all day with comfortable temperatures and just a bit of a splash before we got in tonight … enough to get the waterproofs on but we didn’t really need them which was good. We saw some great sights and had another encounter with Mr Plod who wanted to check my bike registration to make sure it had been registered over here. Man are those lights bright! My colleagues didn’t even get a photo! I don’t know if I should be relieved or disappointed about that.

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The power of water at Huka Falls, the only outlet from Lake Taupo.

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Trying to get a decent photo of Lake Taupo … a challenge.

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Coffee at Lake Taupo.

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Yep that is snow and it’s nearly the end of summer.

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A rugged cutting in the high country.

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And the Big Gumboot at Taihape.

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An awesome historic bridge.

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And further along the valley we see the road bridge we had already come over. Shame about the powerline.

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Country roads, yummy.

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And what a shocker!

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Roadworks gave us a chance to get a shot of some sheep

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Staying the night at the Comfort Inn Kauri Court in a 3-bedroom apartment. Nicely appointed but unfortunately not walking distance to dinner.


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Feb
16

 Well a sleep in and then an exercise to defeat dementia / Alzheimer’s that is challenge yourself to try something new and we did, we went on a Segway tour of Rotorua for a couple of hours this afternoon and despite thinking I would be terrified all afternoon I actually had a lot of fun and needless to say because wheels were involved Norm was in his element once he learned how to get on and off. We enjoyed the tour and won’t be so hesitant next time. Thanks guys for giving us a nudge … well me more than Norm.

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Swapping familiar 2 wheels for unfamiliar ones.

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Yep the practice session pre setting off, says it all … terrified!

Looking across to the Bath House in the Government Gardens.

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Starting to relax a bit.

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All the troops with a beautiful sculpture.

 

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I’ve got this and we explore one of the first dug out bath pools.

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Artificial wetland made with recycled plastic bottles … good use of them.

 

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Parking for seaplanes.

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The Lakeland Queen.

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Specie view of some thermal pools from the hospital hill.IMG_9762 (2).JPG

 

 Good to see the parkland here in much better shape than last year.

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The oldies have survived. Yay!!!


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