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.


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.


High tea for some.


Kilkenny Lookout, awesome rock overhang.


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


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

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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.


And here are some of the sights at Pancake Rocks.


The Blowhole.


Awesome power of the waves.


And again.


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


At the Tavern, quite a view across the road.


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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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.


And inside.


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.


Awesome view as we come back over Takaka Hill.


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



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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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.


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


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


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.


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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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.


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..


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.


The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.


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.


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


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


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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.


On the Square in Palmerston North near our breakfast spot.


And on the Square again, some very nice buildings.


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.


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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 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.


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.


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


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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 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.


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.


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.


The oldies have survived. Yay!!!

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A less challenging ride but still plenty of corners climbs and yummy scenery. We even climbed into a bit of fog before breakfast and apart from encountering scattered lines of foot runners undertaking the Great Lakes Relay in the high country we had an uneventful ride before getting into Rotorua where we visited the Redwoods Recreation Park, had lunch in town and rode around some of the historic sights then enjoyed a taste of Maori culture and had a thoroughly enjoyable night at the Mita Maori Village including tours and a hungi.

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Parking area around our very welcome breakfast stop.

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And over the dam wall as we leave with a hint of the geography to come.

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On the road.

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An awesome magma plug with the top of the volcano eroded away.


The tree walk at the Redwoods.


The old Museum which is still closed for refurbishment as it was last year. Disappointing.

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Heading back to the gate / entry into the park from the Museum.


At an Airbnb tonight in Springfield, reasonable cost but a long way from the CBD though up high enough for a good view … despite what looks more like smoke than haze.

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 What started as a comfortable temperature to ride rose as the day went on but as we didn’t get in until nearly 7pm it was comfortable again by arrival. The riding was OMG wonderful with countless corners 45k 25k 15k and less to such an extent when we finally made it to a 65k corner it felt outrageously fast but apart from the 16km gravel road it was just magic to ride though tiring and the scenery spectacular! I'm assured the gravel part of the road will be sealed within 2 years and it will be an incredible road to ride from start to finish then … even better than today!

A special thank you to Sven Hanne from Stratford District who arranged a room at his offices so I could participate in my Commission meeting and the rest of the troop did some more sightseeing while that was on.


Stratford District ready for my meeting.


A very specie clock in Stratford.

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Mt Egmont, very specie and approx. 2,500m above sea level. Stratford’s water supply comes from the snow melt. Impossible to miss it from New Plymouth to Stratford and beyond as we rode around it. A dormant volcano guaranteed to erupt sometime within 100years!

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Quirky geography.

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And again.


All the troops (if you look very carefully, 2 on the bridge, 1 about to be and the lights on the last approaching) on the Forgotten World Highway and there aren’t any trains on the rail tracks but there are carts from Stratford to Taumarunui and a temporary timber arrangement over the road bridge for some reason.


A long way along the Forgotten World Highway and we came across the Whangamomona Hotel in the Republic of Whangamomona. Great spot for a cold drink and a break.

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Incredible cuttings.

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Just awesome.

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And even a tunnel.


And unfriendly gravel and corrugations.


And a welcome sight as we got back on a sealed road, finally some cattle, most of the terrain had only looked suitable for the hardiest of mountain goats and sheep.

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Our accommodation was the Forgotten World Motel which while dated was clean and well provisioned and handy to the RSA Club for dinner.

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A light fog which rolled back to the hills and a comfortable days riding up and down terrific climbs and around tight and sweeping corners and jaw dropping geography in all directions … you’d almost think this country used to be on the bottom of the ocean floor and was ejected above it in great heaving lumps and here it’s stayed … oh hang on it has. Just as well I had to get in to phone into a NTC meeting or we may have been all day stopping to take photographs.


Hamilton Lake as we headed out of town.


Breakfast @ Pirongi and a very quirky coffee machine.

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A work shot at roadworks.

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Quirky little shed and man look at the size of that grate!

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Not long seen the first of the ocean for the day.

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The Three sisters and Elephant – Tangaporuta. The big one in front is / was the elephant which used to have a trunk until the archway disappeared into the ocean.

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And these are the 6 sisters.

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And a couple of old codgers.

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Mmmm, does this make us ambulance chasers? In any case we overtook it on a passing lane.

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Lunch @ Urenui.


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Tonight’s accommodation, Abode on Courtenay Motor Inn. Very nicely laid out, clean and handy to whatever we need. 155 Courtenay Street, New Plymouth 4601.

And then while I had my meeting the troops found there was a show and shine on leading up to their big American Car Show this coming weekend so that's where we went for a look and for dinner.











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