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Feb
25
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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.

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Making a mile and the troops are coming.

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And down a big hill and we find another farm.

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Awesome glacial valley.

And yep that’s snow in the distance.

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

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

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At the Otira Viaduct opened in 1999.

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

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

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


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Feb
24
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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. 

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

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A view of Hanmer Springs.

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And another.

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And another.

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And another.

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

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The beautiful Heritage Spa hotel.


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Feb
23
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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!

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Close to sunset last night.

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Awesome rocks … and the Tavern in the distance.

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A Weka.

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

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

Morning mist lifting as we head for Reefton.

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

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Lots of dairy farming on the way.

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And a train finally.

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Sights in Reefton.

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Main Street Reefton.

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Mountains everywhere.

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Great Glacial Valleys.

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And again.

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

Nearly into Hanmer Springs.

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


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Feb
22
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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.

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

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Great roads to follow.

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Prominent ribs?

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

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High tea for some.

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Kilkenny Lookout, awesome rock overhang.

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

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

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Wow.

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And again.

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

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And here are some of the sights at Pancake Rocks.

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The Blowhole.

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Awesome power of the waves.

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And again.

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

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At the Tavern, quite a view across the road.

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A quirky fitting at the front of the Tavern.

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

 


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Feb
21
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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.

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And inside.

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And the door to the brewery on site.

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

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Murals on the wall of a café.

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

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

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Awesome view as we come back over Takaka Hill.

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

 

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

 

Looking out over Richmond and Nelson as we return.

 

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


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Feb
20
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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.

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

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

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On the way to Nelson.

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

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

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

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Yummy houses in the distance in Nelson.

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


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Feb
19
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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.

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Washing drying, well some of it.

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Wellington Central Library and surrounds.

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The old boatshed and a bit of the new.

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

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

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The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

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

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

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

 


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Feb
18
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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.

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On the Square in Palmerston North near our breakfast spot.

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And on the Square again, some very nice buildings.

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Roadworks give a chance to get some interesting photos.

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Wellington sights.

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And again.

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And again.

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

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


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Feb
17
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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.

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

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

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Coffee at Lake Taupo.

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

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A rugged cutting in the high country.

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And the Big Gumboot at Taihape.

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An awesome historic bridge.

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

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Country roads, yummy.

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And what a shocker!

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

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


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Feb
16
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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.

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

Looking across to the Bath House in the Government Gardens.

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Starting to relax a bit.

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All the troops with a beautiful sculpture.

 

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

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

 

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Parking for seaplanes.

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The Lakeland Queen.

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

 

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

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The oldies have survived. Yay!!!


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Feb
15
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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.

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The tree walk at the Redwoods.

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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.

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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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Feb
14
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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.

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Stratford District ready for my meeting.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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And unfriendly gravel and corrugations.

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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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Feb
13
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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.

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Hamilton Lake as we headed out of town.

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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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Feb
12
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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.

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A quirky lookout resident.

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A view from the lookout.

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And another one.

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And at yet another lookout.

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And the view.

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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.

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Entertaining ourselves at roadworks.

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Cute old buildings at Helensville, our lunch stop.

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And another.

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

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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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Feb
11
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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. 

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Great view across Cape Reinga.

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Walking to the lighthouse.

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And here it is. 

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Are we there yet? Lots of places and directions.

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Morning tea enjoyed by the troops.


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Feb
10
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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!

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Beautiful stone building at the River Outlook Kerikeri.

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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.

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The lovely shore including the wharf at Russell.

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And in the opposite direction.

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

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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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Feb
09
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An awesome day riding today and largely cool and cloudy until late this afternoon when it got very warm. We saw a huge variety of countryside and loved taking it all in. Again, the pictures tell the story.

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A quirky building in Paparoa, our fuel up stop.

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Coming out of Dargaville, a delicious scent of saltwater.

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Continuing, lots of flax as we have also seen all over the country thus far.

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Getting ready to see the Largest Kauri Tree in New Zealand and thankfully only a short walk. Hmmm supposed to be portrait shot.

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Awesome! 17.7m trunk height, 51.5m total height, 13.8m trunk girth, 2,445cubicm trunk volume and incredible to see.

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Heading for Paihia.

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Looking out over Omapera Beach and the sand dune beyond...I remember this car park from last year and I'm not going into it!

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Looking out over Omapera beach.

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This is how you get your boat home apparently.

 

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Haruru Falls, almost into Paihia.

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The view from our balcony and yes that's a hot tub. Yummy BBQ dinner tonight, the boys excelled!

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Our accommodation for the next three nights. What a lovely warm and accommodating welcome by our host to our accommodation and what a delight to find an exceedingly clean and well-appointed and maintained property. We joked perhaps we needed a bit of deprivation for the last two nights to appreciate an awesome place here, actually that is rubbish, but we certainly appreciated coming to the Blue Pacific Quality Apartment at Paihia tonight. Aaahhh.


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Feb
08
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

The pictures tell the story. A lovely kick back day exploring Auckland with a hop on hop off tour.

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Cute house across the street from our accommodation. There are lots of pretty and also expensive timber houses throughout the city.

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Parnell Rose Garden.

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Holy Trinity Cathedral.

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From one side of the city to the other.

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Museum in the Domain, awesome building and awesome Domain with sporting fields of all descriptions.

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Skytower. Hmmm, will have to find out how I turn that around, it wasn't like that before....

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Viaduct Harbour where we lunched.

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And a lovely sailing ship of some description … can you tell I don't sail?

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One of the cruise ships heading out of the harbour.

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A work shot.

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Devonport at the end of our ferry ride. Very cute.

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Back to Auckland with the skyline behind the lovely old Ferry Terminal Building. A shame to see it being dwarfed by so many towering buildings.


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Feb
07
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Another day’s lovely riding with spectacular snapshot views of awesomely pretty and rugged coastlines as well as lots of views near and far to rugged hill and mountain lines over farmland and forest. Spoilt for choice. Turned out another hot day even though it wasn’t supposed to be.

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Heading along the Coromandel Peninsula.

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And another.

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A cute little church on our way.

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Almost into Coromandel Town, a view from the lookout.

 

And the ones doing the looking.

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In Coromandel Town, originally established to mine gold.

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Delicious overhead canopies of foliage as we wind our way along the edge f the beach. Lovely.

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Our lunch spot at the back of the hotel. We discovered this last year so called in again.

We are staying the next two nights at an Airbnb in Cleveland Street Auckland and it is dreadful. Not clean, poorly supplied with anything basic to average needs and the management is happy for the inconvenience to be ours. No photo! 


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Feb
06
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Category: Travel to New Zealand

Happy Waitangi Day to all our KIWI neighbours! 

A low-key energy day today with a sleep in all round then a ride to the Hot Water Beach where the water coming up through the sand can reach 60 – 65C and can give a start to the unwary. Much digging by many but walking in the water soon finds it. We followed that with a yummy lunch then a kick back afternoon before we head to Grace O’Malleys for dinner tonight. I’m nursing another bumble bee bite on my thigh through my kevlar jeans at roadworks a day or so ago so grateful for a cold pack Lynne packed.

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Quirky rocky outcrop on the way out to the beach

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Parked up at the beach.

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On the beach itself.

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And in the opposite direction.

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Much digging by many….even hire out shovels for $10 each.

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Standing watch perhaps.

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And an old military plane at the local airport.


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