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Category: Travel to New Zealand


A sleep in followed by a picturesque ride to Glenorchy and back then a trip on the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a Gourmet BBQ dinner and sheep shearing and rounding up demonstration. The weather has been just perfect. We will see what tomorrow brings.

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First photo stop on the way to Glenorchy.

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All the crew heading out, Chris on with Adrian and Tom on Chris’s bike.

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First sight of snow on the way and lots more winding roads.

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Coffee at Glenorchy.


Old water tower at Glenorchy.


The TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown this morning, will be our ride to dinner tonight.

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The lakeshore at Queenstown.

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The view from the Steamer Wharf back across Queenstown.

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Dressing up the Louis Vuitton store while we grab an ice cream.

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Walter Peak High Country Farm, an awesome property and incredibly professionally run. Was a great night.


The shearing session which was informative and entertaining.

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Heading home.

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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Well the weather forecast was fine, but the weather was not. We travelled through rain fog and sunshine but the crappy weather didn’t dampen our spirits at all. We enjoyed a walk around some of the historic precinct of Cromwell and then onto Cardrona over the highest paved road in New Zealand then to Arrowtown for more walking and eating for some and then the Shotover Jetboat ride for 6 of our group and now chilling in our very nice apartment as a roast is being cooked. How fortunate are we!

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Cromwell is very proud of their produce.

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And a great find for coffee in the Historic precinct, the old Post Office and Telegraph Office … and a great quote on the wall “Drink Coffee, Do Stupid things with more energy”.

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Looking across part of the lake, would be a nice place to sit and read.

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Roaring Meg, and she really was roaring. Sad to see how much timber has been burnt in the past.

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 The Cardrona Hotel improved with some bikes in front of it … the riding crew.


And a view in their very attractive beer garden, but a bit wet to be there today even though you cannot see the rain here. I enjoyed steaming off in front of the open fire for a bit.


What a view … spoilt for choice as we heaad back. Wow!

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At the top of the range sealed in 2000 and coming back down we could almost see the view below but going up we could hardly see where we were going and yes that was 1,076m above sea level.

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The view down to Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown a fair way away.


Arrowtown, good looking bikes!

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And another of the main street minus the bikes … see how ordinary it looks in comparison? My point exactly!

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A great view in Arrowtown.


And the bridge just past the Shotover Jetboat site. Awesome canyon hence the jet boats.

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Heading into Queenstown, awesome scenery.

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The shopping crew off to buy what we need for our roast dinner and this is a very deceptive view because it is a really steep hill but doesn’t look like it here.


Our accommodation for the next three nights, Black Diamond Apartment Queenstown. Lovely and spacious with plenty of places to relax and generously provisioned with everything we need including in the bathrooms. A good find especially considering the New Zealand Open is on in town. Geared towards those who ski in the winter (hence the ski gear storage cupboard in the back yard and spot for ski boots in the airlock at the front door) and those who party the rest of the year like us (as the planes overhead and wine glasses in the cupboard are testimony to that).

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Category: Travel to New Zealand


Didn’t head off until just before 8.30am this morning in fine weather and throughout the day we had drizzle, rain and mist in no particular order until we were almost into Cromwell when we ended up with strong winds, dust storms, tumbleweed and a sudden spike in temperature to the point we were nearly all ready to fall down by the time we got our many layers off at the servo. Talk about one extreme to the other, now we just need to get everything which isn’t dry, dry before the morning. Should be doable. It’s been a day of extreme sights from rain forest with dense canopies over the roads, massive rock slides where literally sides of mountains have slid off (many of these over the last couple of days), wind torn beaches, kilometres and kilometres of turquoise lakes and now pretty intensive farming land. Incredible.

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Yet another one way bridge.

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Barry Bay and a sign on the road which says to beware of debris when there are high seas and you can see how it cuts up the road … some of the debris on the shore was a tree trunk complete with a lot of the root ball minus dirt!

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Salmon farm for a yummy breakfast.


Longest single lane bridge in New Zealand (and we’re told the southern hemisphere) 737 m long with 2 passing bays and here it is with us coming.


And going, and the second passing bay is still beyond us.


Knights Creek lookout.


It’s official we were up Ship Creek …. thus named after a large chunk of a ship’s hull discovered there in 1867 which turned out to have been washed there from a shipwreck in 1855 in Victoria, Australia (the Schonberg) so how’s that for an awesome current across the Tasman!


Thunder Creek Falls.


Lots of water up and down, From the car park at the Blue Pools, given the weather we didn't go any further..

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Lake Wanaka.


Lake Hawea.


A lot of wind meant a lot of whitecaps on a lot of the lakes and milky sediment along the shores.

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More beautiful lake views. The waves were nearly washing completely over the small island to the left.

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A solid outcrop of rock in an otherwise flat valley not long before we got in. Curious.


Our accommodation for the night, the Colonial Manor Motel, Cromwell. Nice spacious rooms well laid out and comfortable. A good find.

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Category: Travel to New Zealand

 We had an early and dark start heading off at 7am to get to Fox Glacier comfortably by 11am to book in for our 11.30am 30minute Franz Josef & Fox Glacier flight with a snow landing and we got to do it this time because the cloud was actually not as low or dense as last time.

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A wander to the street for a pizza dinner last night helped us take some pics and the first was one of the local fire brigade doing a promotion shot.

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The old fire station now apartments and another grand old building yet to be refurbished. The town was built with gold money hence the grand layout of the streets and the proportions of buildings.

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And a school.

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Mmmm, cloud not clearing very well.

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An awesome long one-way bridge with double passing section in the middle.

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A welcome coffee at Hari Hari.


Franz Josef main street with snow in the background … cloud also.


And a closer view of the snow and ice.

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Great one lane bridge just out of Franz Josef.

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Before the first group set off for the helicopter ride.


Glaciers! Actually on top on the snowfield which contribute to many glaciers with 30m of snow a year and the snow here is around 300m deep! Note the pink tinge being smoke and ash from our Aussie bushfires.


Apparently this peaking is an indication of how fast the glacier is moving.


Awesome sight and again you can see the pink tinge and when we picked up a handful you could actually see bits of ash in it.


Two country kids who cannot believe how blessed they are.


The Pilot grabs the marker to show where he has landed so other pilots know.


Heading back down and yep I was fortunate enough to have the front seat where Norm was in the middle at the last minute when we ended up with two extras. Grrr..


And this is how they progress to the sea.

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Our accommodation for the night, the Bella Vista Motel Fox Glacier, again a compact but functional lay out, nice and clean and hosts very helpful. Walking distance to wherever we want to go. Shorter travel time today so time for a bit of a rest.

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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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.


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.


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.


At the Otira Viaduct opened in 1999.


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.


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


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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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. 


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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Category: Travel to New Zealand


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!


Close to sunset last night.


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.


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.


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.


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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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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Category: Travel to New Zealand


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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Category: Travel to New Zealand


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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

 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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

 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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

 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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Category: Travel to New Zealand

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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Category: Travel to New Zealand


A great day of riding with a comfortable temperature climbing to 31C but the scenery didn’t disappoint with lovely rolling hills to rugged mountains, rolling fields and dense forests and both sandy and rocky inlets and coastlines. Couldn’t ask for more.

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Early farewell to Paihia.


A quirky lookout resident.


A view from the lookout.

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And another one.


And at yet another lookout.


And the view.


And a chance to talk to a local truckie and tell him how impressed we have all been with how courteously and well the truckies have been on many challenging roads.

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Awesome sights on the way.

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Oversize sculptures complete with mansion beyond the hill (Gibbs Farm) not visible from the road. Saw it on Grand Designs once.


Entertaining ourselves at roadworks.

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Cute old buildings at Helensville, our lunch stop.


And another.

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And a caravan with a difference at our afternoon break spot.


Tonight’s accommodation, very comfortable and nicely presented and a huge lock up garage underneath. Central Lake Hamilton, 2/19 Ruakiwi Rd, Hamilton Lake. Ours is the second door and the garage entry is behind the building another level down.

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Category: Travel to New Zealand


The girls had a day off the bikes and took the time for a massage and some window shopping since we don’t have luggage space for real shopping and the guys rode to Cape Reinga the most northerly point of New Zealand.

A picturesque little bay early in the trip to the cape.

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Two of the intrepid explorers.

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The lighthouse in the distance. 


Great view across Cape Reinga.


Walking to the lighthouse.


And here it is. 


Are we there yet? Lots of places and directions.


Morning tea enjoyed by the troops.

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Category: Travel to New Zealand


The rest of the troops headed off on the Dolphin and Hole in the Rock tour so we headed to Kerikeri to hopefully get my riding glasses fixed which was a pointless exercise but saw some yummy sights then we headed back and got the car ferry to Russell to catch up with the others for lunch followed by a leisurely afternoon in our apartment, more hot tub time and a roast lamb dinner currently being cooked. Yummo!


Beautiful stone building at the River Outlook Kerikeri.


And a lovely building plus cute little chapel there also. Lucky to get a couple of shots in before we were overtaken by a tide of coach passengers from the cruise ship.


The lovely shore including the wharf at Russell.


And in the opposite direction.


The Marlborough Hotel where we all lunched. Was just beautiful out on the veranda.


Coming back on the vehicle ferry.

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And a quirky building and some yachts as we head back. Tranquil.

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