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Feb
28
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

We anticipated heavy rain overnight and icy roads this morning after the forecast so were relieved there was only a light sprinkle overnight and sunny skies this morning … mind you Norm did bring me in some ice off my seat as I was packing up to go. We headed back the way we had come into Tekapo because we had seen a sign that said 4km to Mt John Observatory & Café. …which was a bit of a stretch because it was 4km to the gate then another very steep and winding 4km to the Observatory and Café and OMG OMG OMG what a view!! A glorious way to start the day!

The rest of the day was just a lovely ride with beautiful scenery with snippets of views to snow and mountains as well as picturesque farmland and attractive little regional towns along the way. We enjoyed a morning coffee at the Three Creeks Salvage Café then lunch in Geraldine then into Christchurch to get a rear tyre for Norms Rocket, the last one went well and did 14,000kms.

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Yep, just through the gate and there’s the Observatory.

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Lake Tekapo from the Observatory.

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And proof that we really were there.

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Some of the Observatory buildings.

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Three Creeks, all kinds of quirky.

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And again.

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Close to the last view of snow on our way into Christchurch in Fairlie.

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And more of the snow in the rear and yes that’s all the layers on because it was still very cold.

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View from our room in Christchurch across the Cathedral Square.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Peppers Bluewater Resort

8 State Highway

Lake Tekapo NZ 7945

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The room / apartment was lovely and comfortable and welcoming with plenty of space to relax and enjoy ourselves and well equipped to be self-contained if wanted. Plenty of heating and cooling options available as well as restaurant on site with room service if wanted. Free Wi-Fi and balcony with chairs to sit and enjoy the view. Roomy bathroom with both bath and shower. Very nice.  We were in a ground floor unit and were shocked how loud the footsteps and movement in the apartment above were audible in a relatively new building especially given the cost of accommodation. Our most expensive night for the trip.


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Feb
27
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

We headed for Mount Cook despite what was obviously a weather change sweeping down from the mountains and apart from getting wet, damn near got blown off our bikes as well at times needing nearly all our lane just to keep pointing ahead and staying upright. By the time we got to Mount Cook Village we could barely see the mountains around us, and it was pouring so we headed back to a café a few kilometres back for a coffee and a chance to draw breath. From there we headed for Tekapo on the shores of Laker Tekapo and oh my goodness the tourists have arrived in force. It is no longer the quiet back water we last visited.

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The day started out well.

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Once we headed for Mount Cook it was soon turning dark…. but still loved the turquoise water.

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More of the same. You can see tyhe wind blowing up the water on the opposite shore, it was also doing this in patches across tyhe lake. On our return it looked a bit like an inlet from the ocean with lots of white tops and waves.

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Morning coffee on the way back down at a Station Cafe and tour office.

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And low and behold a lavender farm in the middle of nowhere … seriously! And about to be rained upon.

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Heading back down from Mount Cook ahead of the change.

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Heading for Tekapo.

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Still heading for Tekapo.

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Church of the Good Shepherd.

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And the view from our veranda tonight.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Mackenzie Country Inn Hotel

2 Wairepo Road 

Twizel NZ 7901

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A welcome spot to take a break and feel a little bit spoilt. Staff warm and welcoming and room spacious and comfortable. A return for us after many years. New carpet and infrastructure improvements since then which must be a challenge given it’s probably a seasonal accommodation option. Room spacious and comfortable, library / sitting area downstairs lovely as is the bar and restaurant. Breakfast included with accommodation package. The second most expensive night for our trip, and the only one with included bteakfast … probably because of the isolation but still a lot. A shame.


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Feb
26
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

We thought today might be a little bit ordinary but oh my goodness it was an awesome ride and will be on our list for the group next year. We started with breakfast at Port Chalmers which was a quirky little spot then incredibly beautiful views as we wound away from there to the inland. The countryside passed through lots of farmland and climbed into rugged rocky outcrops and red tussock high country with beautiful climbing and sweeping roads and corners as we skirted along the Dunstan Dam.  Aaahh! We climbed to a height of 950m above sea level through the Lindis Pass and add snow on peaks in view and it was all kinds of wonderful and then we got to Twizel which had the top temperature for the South Island today of 22c and the hotel we stayed at about 11 years ago with Harry & Lorraine Heathcote. The town has grown in that time.
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Breakfast at Port Chalmers and yes that really is a container port down at the bottom of the hill.
 A great view from the cemetery…. which the road to the lookout went straight through. All kinds of quirky.
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And a view from the Lookout.
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Views in all directions on the road as we progress.
On the road views.
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An historic bridge on the way.
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A view of Clyde below the Dunstan Dam.
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Cromwell.
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Snow in view as we ride.
 
Last nights’ accommodation:

Beechwood Boutique Accommodation
842 George Street
Dunedin NZ 9016
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A lovely little venue punching well above its weight with beautifully presented units tastefully furnished and decorated and finished to a high standard. Comfortable bed and opportunities to sit and be comfortable as well as be self-contained if you wanted. Parking on site without charge and immaculately clean. Cheerful and helpful owners and unlimited Wi-Fi. Well done!


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Feb
25
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

We headed to the Bill Richardson Transport World for breakfast which was a treat. Food in the Grille Café was delicious and the surrounds there and beyond whet my appetite for our return in 2020 which is saying something for me who really isn’t a fan of such places. From there we headed off on what is called the Scenic Coastal Route to Dunedin. The roads were just lovely to ride but apart from that we decided the title was a bit hopeful. There were a couple of pretty glimpses of the ocean and several waterfalls to check out (we looked at 2), some caves and lots of farmland with very attractive rolling green hills a lot like parts of Gippsland, some forest and rainforest areas and that was about it. I guess that’s pretty good really, but we expected more of the actual coast side of things after the title.

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Couldn’t leave Bill Richardson Transport World without a photo with the bikes (of course).

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Sheep everywhere.

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Horseshoe Falls.

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Matai Falls.

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The view from the Florence Hills Lookout.

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Quirky morning coffee stop and some others there told us they serve up the best fish and chips in the South Island. A bit early for us.

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A big area that experiences Tidal Flooding. Some repairs were underway where some areas of seal had lifted off.

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A big valley as we drop down from the hills and head into Dunedin. Check out the road on the other side of the valley, we were heading there.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Quest Invercargill Serviced Apartments

Cnr Dee & Tay Streets

Invercargill NZ 9810

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Lovely old Post Office building with modern self-contained serviced apartments fitted out within and nicely done. The shower was divine! Hot and plenty of pressure. Staff cheerful and helpful. Unlimited Wi-Fi, yay! Parking available onsite. Not undercover but there anyway. The bed was comfortable and lovely big window (brass frame) making it a light and airy space and the décor looks fresh and cheerful. A good refurb. Well done.


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Feb
24
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

We managed to have some breakfast and get rugged up before the rain started and thankfully got very little of it all day, but we discovered a dusting of snow was left on the surrounding peaks overnight which the locals tell us is unseasonal for this time of year here. In any case it was freezing cold and we were grateful for the multiple layers of clothing we had on. Having said that for the most part we managed to ride in front of, behind or beside the worst of the rain so encountered very little throughout the day and were treated to magnificent stormy and colourful skies in all directions as well as reflected views in water when beside it. Wow!

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More stunning examples of limestone country.

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Clifden Suspension bridge built in 1898 and had the longest single span of any bridge in NZ at the time (111.5m).

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Looks like more good weather ahead!

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A cute house as we seek out a view of Monkey Island.

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And there’s Monkey Island.

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A quirky bus stop in Colac Bay.

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The Bluff Beacon. The Bluff was established in 1824 and is all things Port … still.

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Quirky Art Deco Café at the Bluff where we had some lunch.

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And coming back down from the Bluff Lookout. Saw lots of pushbike riders pushing their bikes up, I’m glad we didn’t meet any coming down as we were going up.

 Last 2 nights’ accommodation:

Lakeside Motel and Apartments

3 Lakefront Drive

Te Anau NZ

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A lovely spot to drop for a couple of nights. A short few minutes’ walk to the rest of town and dining and shop options. We are in a 1 Bedroom Non-smoking kitchen unit with a lakefront view and it’s just lovely. Older than some we have had but clean and functional and beautifully presented. Guest laundry. Free and fast Wi-Fi so a big plus for me. Plenty of level parking on site without charge and cheerful staff to deal with. What more could a traveller want? Nothing I say!


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Feb
23
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Well we have travelled to Milford Sound via coach years ago, but I guess the view looked like lots of cliff faces but the ride meant we could see all the peaks and mountains and oh my goodness what a treat. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Milford Sound.

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The old and new side by side – Tutoko Bridge, the whole road is incredible infrastructure investment and effort!

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And then there is a tunnel which has operating traffic lights from 8pm to 6am! Good luck after that. On the Te Anaua side (this side) the tunnel entrance is 2,300 feet above sea level and after an initial incline is all downhill.

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And this is the Milford Sound side. The little shed thing in the background is the start of the tunnel from this side.

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Yep that’s snow again.

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And a stop at Falls Creek was incredible and didn’t know which way to look. Decided to show you this one.

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And then on the way back into Te Anaua is Lake Gunn.


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Feb
23
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Well we have travelled to Milford Sound via coach years ago, but I guess the view looked like lots of cliff faces but the ride meant we could see all the peaks and mountains and oh my goodness what a treat. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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What a great view from our room this morning.

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A lesson in feeling insignificant … not a bad lesson for anyone.

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Typically, awesome view and yes that is snow and we were well rugged up because it was freezing!

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The Chasm sculpted and moulded over many years. Nothing does it justice. I put his in because one of the little pools had rocks in it which will continue to sculpt and mould and then I saw the reflection of the tree above. Just perfect.

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And a shot of the galloping waters above the Chasm.

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Lunch at Milford Sound, typical, Norm is eating, and I’ve been off getting photos.


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Feb
22
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Such a privilege to be able to ride my bike through and experience the magnificent views all through this country.

Spectacular mountain ranges all round, glacial valleys of varying depths and ruggedness, rolling hills and lowlands put to productive use in diverse agricultural pursuits, not to mention lush fern, conifer and ancient beech forests throughout and water, oh my goodness so much water in small streams, raging rivers, spectacular waterfalls and small and large lakes.

A truly soul restoring healing experience. I remember this from previous visits.

It is enough to just sit and inhale and exhale and enjoy the view.


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Feb
22
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Cannot believe the mushroom development of accommodation houses of all description here in Queenstown and surrounds since we were last here as well as whole new suburbs. The building industry is obviously booming here.

We enjoyed our Gondola ride and dinner at the Stratosphere Restaurant in the Skyline Tower last night which was very nice then it was back to the hotel and another good sleep and off to Te Anau this morning. We had breakfast at Athol then I headed for Te Anau and Norm headed for Invercargill where he had arranged to get his front tyre replaced and new rear brake pads. The seal on the NZ roads is much larger stones and faster wear and the grip is great but much rumblier than at home, sounds a bit like a four-wheel drive with their knobby tyres. His brake pads were supposed to be replaced before we left home so glad that has been done also. The bonus is we found a knowledgeable and ‘can-do bike team’ at Invercargill so good for future reference as well. He also visited an incredible Museum there which was full of incredible collections, previously privately held. There were international travellers there who seek these things out internationally and told Norm they have never seen anything like it! The bonus for me was that Norm took my non functioning phone and got it sorted on Invercargill as well. He is a can-do guy as well, think I’ll have to keep him! The km count includes Norm’s extra travel as of course it would.

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View of the Gondola from the bar in the Skyline Tower last night while we waited for our table.

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And another view from the tower.

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And an early morning view as we head out of Queenstown. What an awesome sight it had been prior to this as we rode past the Remarkables. Norm finally managed a shot here.

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Main Street Te Anau. A very attractive little village.

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And one of my bike at the waterfront.

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A line up of Bedford’s at the Museum … but missing a 1948 one the same as one we have at home.

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And some specie convertibles.

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And the star of the Museum a TEXACO fuel truck. Very representative of the Art Deco period.

Last 3 nights’ accommodation:

Millennium Hotel Queenstown

32 Frankton Road

Queenstown NZ 9300

Mmm, forgot to take a hotel pic so Google it if you want one.

What a lovely space to spend a few nights. Comfortable room with good facilities. All sorts of things on site, restaurants, laundry, car parking (and not too steep to get to with the bikes), restaurant with awesome food and awesome views as well as room service and staff who are incredibly cheerful and helpful. Fast unlimited Wi-Fi. We have made good use of the complimentary shuttle bus to and from the CBD.


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Feb
21
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.

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Breakfast in Arrowtown at the Postmasters House. Yummo.

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Appropriate park up spot for the bikes.

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More Arrowtown.

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And again.

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On the way to Arthurs Point. Wow.

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Arthurs Point and the bridge over the Shotover River, or in this spot more like a canyon.

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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.

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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.

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And a coffee at Glenorchy.


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Feb
20
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.

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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.

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Barely taken off from the airport.

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Incredible views on the way as we climb over 5,000 feet.

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On top of the mountain.

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And rewarded with a great view.

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More awesome views.

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Then onto the TSS Earnslaw, a great working steam ship. This is moored at the Station.

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And the lovely property which runs sheep and angus cattle and a thriving tourism business and do it all very well.


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Feb
19
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.

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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.

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Lots of 1-lane bridges in NZ especially in the west of the south ialand. Here is some industry information on one of them.

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Roaring Billy Waterfall, aptly named, the roar was audible way before we got anywhere near it.

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Lake Wanaka, an awesome sight.

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Bradrona, a National Breast Cancer Foundation initiative outside of Cardrona.

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Norm.

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The Cardona Hotel, Google Speights Brewery ads, there is a ripper at the hotel.   All sorts of cute check it out.

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And if we were here in the snow … not that I want to be.

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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

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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.


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Feb
18
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.

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Speights Ale House, former Customs Building.

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Greymouth station platform. Very quaint.

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Our breakfast spot in Hokitika. All kinds of yummy and some great quoted around the shop which was great.

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The Library.

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St Mary’s Catholic Church, dwarfs most of the town. Bizarre.

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The sky still looked promising here.

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Whataroa River. Impressive.

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Franz Josef Glacier and the path it has previously gouged out of the hillside.

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And a closer look, we weren’t going to walk the extra kilometre to still not get to the front.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Sundowner Motel

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.


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Feb
17
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

It’s been a spectacular day from start to finish and I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

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Weka Pass not far out of Hanmer Springs.

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Coffee in Oxford.

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Waimakariri River.

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Looking back to where we’ve come from and still 60km from Arthurs Pass.

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Castle Hill.

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Pearson Lake.

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First sight of snow since we landed.

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A Viaduct we were about to ride over. The photo doesn’t show the 16% grade fall on it. Incredible!

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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

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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.


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Feb
16
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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

 

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A misty morning in Hanmer Springs …. and for most of the day.

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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.

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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.

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Just lounging about here, but also lots of space for those who want to relax more enthusiastically with slides and much squealing.

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Maruia Falls, very nice.

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A sample of lots of the greenery we rode through yesterday and he again today.

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And of course, the bike early in the day (the first one I got).

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And we should have had a panorama shot. The bridge and part of the valley outside Hanmer Springs.

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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.


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Feb
15
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.  

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Specie coastal view soon after we leave Pancake Rock.

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And again.

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Greymouth Port. A short walk from our breakfast spot.

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Main street Reefton.

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Awesome Lewis Pass view.

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More of the same over Norm’s shoulder, so where we’ve already been.

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And into Hanmer Springs.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Punakaiki Resort

State Highway 6

Punakaiki NZ

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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.


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Feb
14
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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!

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Dinner was lovely in the outdoors and the vibe in the town was lovely … delicious burger and local beer as well.

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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.

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All sorts of quirky geography as we ride.

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Stopped for a great photo of water and cliff face…...

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To find out it is a 1-way road under an overhang. Quirky again.

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Main street Westport which was our lunch spot.

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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.

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Returning to the main road from Cape Foulwind. Gorgeous views again.

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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.

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And this was one of the great views.

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Another rugged cliff face on the way to Punakaiki.

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An example of Pancake Rocks. Limestone which has been scoured by water making its way through. Incredible sight. Some of it looks artificial.

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And again,

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And some faces as well.

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Awesome Cliff face again.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Century Park Motor Lodge

197 Rutherford Street

Nelson NZ 7010

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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!


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Feb
13
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.

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Beautiful historic building right on the waterfront in Wellington.

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And another, this one used to be the Bond Store in very early years now it’s the Wellington Museum.

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A work shot of the Wellington Harbour. I had tried to get a shot of a departing cruise liner, but I missed it.

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And plenty of modern buildings around as well. 

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Looking back at the harbour as the ferry turns around to get underway.

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Was a lovely sunny passage and the views of the water inlets and harbours were beautiful.

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The Sister Ferry heading in the opposite direction.

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Picton Harbour from a vantage point soon after we headed off. That’s our ferry in the background.

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Another work shot in Nelson as a commercial vessel heads off from Nelson Harbour.

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A view of a small part of Nelson from a very steep residential street.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Ibis Wellington

153 Featherstone Street

Wellington NZ 6140

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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.


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Feb
12
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.

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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.

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The Building where our breakfast Café was, Cafe Express.

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And some more close by. On our way out I saw a lovely old Art Deco Theatre named the J C Williamson Theatre.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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We lunched across the road from here and the shop face appealed to Norm with the old Bedford radiator grille displayed.

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 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

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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.


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Feb
11
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Headed off early this morning and grabbed a look at the Huka Falls which always amaze us. They are in the narrowest section of the Waikato River which is the only outlet from Lake Taupo and the volume of water there even at the end of summer is phenomenal. Then it was breakfast on the waterfront at Lake Taupo and then we continued with what was a lovely ride through rolling farmland, high country resembling Scotland 1,035m above sea level and very chilly with the ground covered with what resembled heather interspersed with grasses and in the distance mountains with traces of snow on them. We had lunch at the little town of Taihape then explored more rugged countryside where sheep and cattle grazed on rugged hills or great plateaus and for good measure great cuttings of the waterways into the hill faces leaving what looks like massive clay faces. All kinds of spectacular.

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Huka Falls from the lookout above. To the right above the Huka Lodge, a runaway spot for the rich and famous is visible.

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Breakfast on the waterfront at Lake Taupo.

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And we weren’t the only ones having fun.

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Another shot a bit further along the Lake.

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Through the high country. You can see the mauve of the heather, but it’s blurred as Norm was mobile, but you get the idea. That's Mt Ruapehu & Mt Gotongariro in the background.

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Welcome to Taihape, a clever (big) Gumboot built from corrugated iron.

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A shearing shed with a very quirky mural.

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And when the hill is undermined by the water it washes down into the stream and leaves some spectacular cliff faces. We followed this trail for many kilometres and were staggered by how many we saw.

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From the Stormy Point Lookout on the way to Fielding.

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Norm having fun.

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And me as well.

Last nights’ accommodation:

Quest Rotorua Central

1192 Hinemoa Street

Rotorua NZ 3010

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A lovely spot to stay here. A 1-bedroom apartment with air conditioning, Yay! Plenty of room to move and sort out our gear and be self-contained if we wanted to be. Also, a hot tub on the balcony but we haven’t been inspired to try that. The bed is beautifully comfortable, Wi-Fi fast and heaps of free movies and all sorts of attractions advertised on the TV which the hotel can book for us so a handy service for visitors. Staff extremely welcome and helpful. All round nice spot to stay and handy to heaps of shops and spots for dining out. Very nice.


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