Another sunny morning and we headed to Arrowtown for breakfast and then headed to Arthurs Point where the Shotover jet boat rides start. All sorts of specie scenery along the way. From there we headed for Glenorchy (now sealed all the way). Tonight, we will take a Gondola ride to the Stratosphere Restaurant in the Skyline Tower. Pics tomorrow.
Breakfast in Arrowtown at the Postmasters House. Yummo.
Appropriate park up spot for the bikes.
On the way to Arthurs Point. Wow.
Arthurs Point and the bridge over the Shotover River, or in this spot more like a canyon.
A view across Lake Wakatipu from Wilsons Recreation Reserve on the way to Glenorchy. Very windy as you may be able to tell from the waves.
And yes, that answers the question, these are the 2 islands in the lake we saw from the peak yesterday and we forgot to ask if it was still Lake Wakatipu so yes, it is because here they are.
And a coffee at Glenorchy.
Well we slept in, had a delicious brunch on the waterfront then headed to the airport for a helicopter flight which we both loved. All kinds of magical and would love to do it again. The views were incredible, and we landed on a ridge which in the winter has 4m of snow on it then onto the TSS Earnslaw and over to the Walter Peak High Country Station for a BBQ dinner and farm tour which was great also.
So, this is the Queenstown version of a beach on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. A surprising number of swimmers and sunbakers … but it did get to 30 today.
Barely taken off from the airport.
Incredible views on the way as we climb over 5,000 feet.
On top of the mountain.
And rewarded with a great view.
More awesome views.
Then onto the TSS Earnslaw, a great working steam ship. This is moored at the Station.
And the lovely property which runs sheep and angus cattle and a thriving tourism business and do it all very well.
Well West Coast South Island of New Zealand is very similar to the West Coat of Tasmania i.e. rains for 9 months of the year and drips off the tree for the other 3 … well today was one of the 9 months. Wet wet and more wet for at least 2/3 of the trip then we got ahead of it and even found sunshine heading into Queenstown! Before then we benefitted from the heavy rain overnight and saw hundreds of waterfalls, some looking like a white ribbon across a mountainside, others like a fine gossamer veil down a mountainside, sometimes onto the road we rode by and others thundering to the rivers below. All kinds of wonderful. We were grateful for all the wet weather gear we carry.
Breakfast at Fox Glacier township. A very quirky building. Heaps of 1-way bridges in NZ and certainly here in the South Island. Some work considerations in the sign below.
Lots of 1-lane bridges in NZ especially in the west of the south ialand. Here is some industry information on one of them.
Roaring Billy Waterfall, aptly named, the roar was audible way before we got anywhere near it.
Lake Wanaka, an awesome sight.
Bradrona, a National Breast Cancer Foundation initiative outside of Cardrona.
The Cardona Hotel, Google Speights Brewery ads, there is a ripper at the hotel. All sorts of cute check it out.
And if we were here in the snow … not that I want to be.
Finally, in Queenstown and this is Ballarat Street … an incredibly steep street down to the waterfront.
Last nights’ accommodation:
Alpine Glacier Motel
17 Cron Street
Franz Josef Glacier NZ 7856
One street back from the main road and handy to several dining spots. Warm and welcoming suite. Helpful management but Wi-Fi useless. Plenty of room to spread out plus a couple of arm chairs and a balcony if it wasn’t raining. Comfortable bed and capacity to get the wet gear dry on heated towell rails so worked well after getting wet in the afternoon.
We enjoyed dinner last night at the Speights Ale House which is in the refurbished Customs Building in Greymouth. The refit was beautifully done and the food and service great.
We woke to calm weather and sunshine soon after we headed off so thought we may get to have our helicopter flight over Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, but cloud came in and it didn’t happen. We have another couple of chances of flights before the end of the trip so we will see what eventuates. We had breakfast at Hokitika which in its day was the 3rd largest Port in the world! It’s a town set up with gold money and has the grand layout and large buildings albeit some in a state of decay that you would expect. I notice they also have helicopter flights over the glaciers and Mt Cook so perhaps this might be a better option early in the day next year.
Speights Ale House, former Customs Building.
Greymouth station platform. Very quaint.
Our breakfast spot in Hokitika. All kinds of yummy and some great quoted around the shop which was great.
St Mary’s Catholic Church, dwarfs most of the town. Bizarre.
The sky still looked promising here.
Whataroa River. Impressive.
Franz Josef Glacier and the path it has previously gouged out of the hillside.
And a closer look, we weren’t going to walk the extra kilometre to still not get to the front.
Last nights’ accommodation:
14 Smith Street
Greymouth NZ 7805
Forgot the pic, check it out on Google if you want to see it.
On the fringe of town and steep site but level spot to park the bikes. Welcoming and helpful hosts. Comfortable room and facilities with the capacity to be self-contained if wanted. Room to spread out our kit. Comfortable bed. Heated Lowell rai ideal to dry our wet bike gear. Free Wi-Fi. The best shower (heat and volume) we’ve had since we’ve been in NZ.
It’s been a spectacular day from start to finish and I’ll let the pictures tell the story.
Weka Pass not far out of Hanmer Springs.
Coffee in Oxford.
Looking back to where we’ve come from and still 60km from Arthurs Pass.
First sight of snow since we landed.
A Viaduct we were about to ride over. The photo doesn’t show the 16% grade fall on it. Incredible!
Reid Falls over the road. There had been major subsidence and wash outs below this point which was to our advantage as there were traffic lights and 1-way traffic so we got to stop for pics. All kinds of awesome.
Last 2 nights’ accommodation:
Hanmer Inn Motel
16 Jacks Pass Road
Hanmer Springs NZ 7334
A lovely retreat to pull into at the end of a big day riding. The property offers serviced and self-contained suites along with awesomely friendly and helpful attention and service by the owners. The rooms are beautifully presented with functional and attractive furnishings and it would be impossible not to feel comfortable. Bed nice and comfortable. No air-conditioning but it is an Alpine area so not really needed. There is a fan available and heating options as well as electric blankets, and perhaps a small thing but windows and doors which close tightly. We chose this one from a couple of options because it was a reasonable price and in easy walking distance to the shops and many dining options and it is just that. Pretty level going also so not taxing. A guest laundry and free parking are on site. Unlimited Wi-Fi and a great speed as well. Yay! Would be somewhere we would return to.
Heavy rain overnight and again this morning. I had already decided to have a chill day today, but Norm wanted to check out an alternate route to yesterday’s ride so planned to leave around 7 …which ended up being around 9.30 which was some time before the rain stopped and brilliant sunshine followed ever so briefly. I wandered around the little village between misty showers and found the village is totally unpretentious and delightful and then had a massage in the afternoon, as I do when I can. I am on holidays after all. Norm on the other hand encountered more sunshine and texted me 2 photos only … both of his bike of course. He redeemed himself by also taking a couple of others as well
A misty morning in Hanmer Springs …. and for most of the day.
Some of the remains of the Queen Mary Hospital 1916 – 2003 which treated soldiers post WW I and WW II as well as acting as a sanitorium and covering several other health areas over the years. The buildings are now deserted but the community has preserved the site. I hope they can find long term use for them, so they don’t deteriorate any further. Reminded me of my early days in nursing forever ago.
And the spa, on the same site as the original hospital where one used ‘to take to the waters’ and still do both locals and tourists alike.
Just lounging about here, but also lots of space for those who want to relax more enthusiastically with slides and much squealing.
Maruia Falls, very nice.
A sample of lots of the greenery we rode through yesterday and he again today.
And of course, the bike early in the day (the first one I got).
And we should have had a panorama shot. The bridge and part of the valley outside Hanmer Springs.
And then the second shot of the bike not long before he got back with the huge valley behind around 500 - 600m across he estimates.
There was heavy rain overnight, but roads weren’t wet for long today. We started off with more magnificent coastal views, then a stop for breakfast in Greymouth which seemed a bit of a shock to the senses after awesome rural views then off to discover much dairy, beef and venison farming on very pretty countryside and a coffee at Reefton, an old gold mining town reminiscent of a larger version of Walhalla. From here we climbed into the Lewis Pass which was full of beautifully lush conifers and ferns, a break for lunch at Maruia Hot Springs and ultimately great rock-strewn valleys as the land levelled out for the Alpine Village of Hanmer Springs which is probably the most quirky and picturesque alpine village we’ve come across.
Specie coastal view soon after we leave Pancake Rock.
Greymouth Port. A short walk from our breakfast spot.
Main street Reefton.
Awesome Lewis Pass view.
More of the same over Norm’s shoulder, so where we’ve already been.
And into Hanmer Springs.
Last nights’ accommodation:
State Highway 6
A stunning property half on one side of the highway and the other on the other side connected by an underpass. We had a lovely suite well up the hill with a spectacular view over the ocean and I loaded up the photos for the blog but with a 1GB limit didn’t get it finished. Mmm, should be unlimited. We dined in the restaurant which was beautiful, and the food was great. The unit is spacious clean well provisioned comfortable and beautifully presented. Feel very spoilt. Feels like perfection after a big day on the bikes. Well done guys, your service was friendly and attentive, and your resort just wrapped itself around us.
We enjoyed a short walk down to the town last night for dinner in a street closed off as a mall with heaps of places to choose from. I liked Nelson which was a surprisingly big and vibrant town which somehow reminded me of Launceston in Tassie, not sure what it was, could be some of the architecture and just look and feel of it.
Today was just a glorious day of riding with beautiful bendy roads, not too much tight stuff and not all that much traffic we couldn’t get past and the scenery was all kinds of spectacular from rolling hills and rugged mountains to scoured limestone cliff faces and finally the pancake rocks and blow hole in Punakaiki. Could have taken 2 days to do the same distance just to get a fraction of the ooh and aah shots we rode by. We really are fortunate to be here …. And yes, I know there are lots of photos but today Norm took 91 and I took 93 so very restrained … just saying!
Dinner was lovely in the outdoors and the vibe in the town was lovely … delicious burger and local beer as well.
First stop was Wakefield which was evacuated with the Nelson bushfires last week and beyond. They have been back for 3 days though still some side roads closed off by police. This was our breakfast spot and below is the sign outside their door. Great to see.
All sorts of quirky geography as we ride.
Stopped for a great photo of water and cliff face…...
To find out it is a 1-way road under an overhang. Quirky again.
Main street Westport which was our lunch spot.
Saw the sign for Cape Foulwind and just had to see it…..had a giggle on the way seeing a B&B called (Sea Whispers) which sort of didn’t match with the picture I had in my brain. This is the current lighthouse built in 1926 and the remains of the foundations of the original timber one built in 1876.
Returning to the main road from Cape Foulwind. Gorgeous views again.
The things we do to get great pics. There was a sign 10km out and this was around a 25km signed corner, I think it should have been a 15 km, but we are in an allowed spot, just the end of it.
And this was one of the great views.
Another rugged cliff face on the way to Punakaiki.
An example of Pancake Rocks. Limestone which has been scoured by water making its way through. Incredible sight. Some of it looks artificial.
And some faces as well.
Awesome Cliff face again.
Last nights’ accommodation:
Century Park Motor Lodge
197 Rutherford Street
Nelson NZ 7010
A stunning property which was obvious from the moment we rode our bikes up to reception. The whole property inside and out is immaculately clean and tastefully presented. We were met with a friendly and knowledgeable welcome by owners who couldn’t do enough to maker us feel welcome and valued. The unit was beautiful and was a FOC upgrade as they needed to rearrange other customers to suit another booking, so we had a roomy self-contained unit well supplied as well as a balcony which allowed a delightful cool breeze. Air-conditioning Yay. Walking distance to many dining options. Beautifully comfortable bed. Parking on site, no charge … and the owners asked if we wanted to put our bikes in their grange so of course we said yes and free Wi-Fi but for some reason wouldn’t hook up for me to do my blog. Not sure if it was a capacity issue or what. Information booklet comprehensive and all bases covered. Very impressive. Well done guys!
Our hotel last night was a short walk to the waterfront which was rather cute and historic at the same time so there were lots of eating options as well as having the advantage that it was only 5 minutes to the Interislander Ferry this morning to head to the South Island. The Ferry was obviously a newer edition to the fleet than the one we came north on so more options to sit and a really smooth passage as well. Once we landed, we headed straight off north west around the top of the South Island and headed via some awesome climbing and bendy roads to Nelson which is a large town and has a huge working port.
Beautiful historic building right on the waterfront in Wellington.
And another, this one used to be the Bond Store in very early years now it’s the Wellington Museum.
A work shot of the Wellington Harbour. I had tried to get a shot of a departing cruise liner, but I missed it.
And plenty of modern buildings around as well.
Looking back at the harbour as the ferry turns around to get underway.
Was a lovely sunny passage and the views of the water inlets and harbours were beautiful.
The Sister Ferry heading in the opposite direction.
Picton Harbour from a vantage point soon after we headed off. That’s our ferry in the background.
Another work shot in Nelson as a commercial vessel heads off from Nelson Harbour.
A view of a small part of Nelson from a very steep residential street.
Last nights’ accommodation:
153 Featherstone Street
Wellington NZ 6140
A small studio suite but functional all the same. Air-conditioning. Yay! Small but well-appointed bathroom. Room to sit and literally in the heart of the city. Staff terrifically helpful and welcoming. Parking available under the building, another Yay. Restaurant and bar on site so well catered for if you don’t want to venture out. Free Wi-fi and only 5 minutes to the Interislander Ferry so very handy.
Palmerston North is one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand or so the brochure says. There are many lovely buildings and a university (Massey) which by the size of the trees surrounding it and several older buildings has been here a long time. Like most universities there is much new building occurring as well as a Vetinary Training Hospital and all sorts of other Agricultural areas represented. There is also a Military base close by and someone must have been misbehaving this morning as we got rounded up by 2 police cars then a Military police car as we were heading to our breakfast spot. We headed off after a nice breakfast on the square and had a lovely albeit short riding day including a ride back over the Saddle as well as over a challenging pass between Featherston and Pakuratahi. There were signs up warning it was a high risk motorbike route and let me tell you it wasn’t from the road, that was in great condition and a good width in spite of the bends, the risk was from the gale force winds on some faces of the hills and we had to make sure we stuck to the middle of the lane we had available and keep enough revs up to ride through the wind rather than be tipped over by it. A bit hairy in patches.
The Square in the middle of town in Palmerston North was once the cross over point of the trunk line rail lines, now it’s a lovely green spot with many gardens, sculpture water and ducks. This is the town square clock in the middle.
The Building where our breakfast Café was, Cafe Express.
And some more close by. On our way out I saw a lovely old Art Deco Theatre named the J C Williamson Theatre.
A very poor shot over the top of the saddle. We had gone through some drizzle and the sky was very grey. Shame, the outlook is lovely.
The Tui Brewery, been brewing beer since 1889 south of Woodville. One of the locals told us they use the water from the local river because it’ the right colour and the locals used to call it swamp river. Gotta love the locals.
Typical of a lot of the lovely countryside we rode through between Masterton & Carterton. A lot of it wasn’t as sedate as this but we take a shot when we can.
We lunched across the road from here and the shop face appealed to Norm with the old Bedford radiator grille displayed.
A pull over for a quick pic on the pass between Featherston and Pakuratahi. Couldn't put the stand down to park the bike it was so steep it kept rolling off even in gear. Looks flat in the pic. Weird.
Last nights’ accommodation:
Rose City Motel
120 – 122 Fitzherbert Avenue
Palmerston North NZ
A lovely newly refurbished studio unit and looked and felt nice and fresh and clean. Very roomy with couch and arm chair, dining area and a kitchenette with a hotplate microwave and fridge. No air-conditioning but a fan. Generous size bathroom. Large TV and fast Wi-Fi. Great effort.