South Island 2012

STA 2896A late start compounded by the loss of daylight saving. Our destination is Palmerston North or close so we are in good shape for catching the ferry tomorrow afternoon from Wellington.

Google maps has suggested a new route for us, to Te Awamutu, then on to Mangaturoto then around the west side of lake Taupo. This is a really excellent alternative with virtually no traffic and a surprisingly good quality surface. A great motorcycling route.

The lunch stop at Robert Harris at Te Awamutu was surprisingly good but our afternoon coffee stop at Turangi was a bust with nothing open at 3:30 pm. The latter really is a dead or alive place. Add a comment

Read more: 1 April 2012

IMG 2898Another glorious autumn day with quite a bit of wind but not much cloud about. We can see from the odd high stratus cloud that the bad weather is on the way. We'll take a good look at the forecast tonight to decide on the best route south.

Breakfast at the Cafe Express in the square is excellent (although they have been taking 'guys' lessons from the Lone Star staff) but we both feel that Palmerston North missed a trick by not keeping the train running through the town. The enormously ugly council buildings are however worthy of note just to see why councils should not be allowed to engage in any sort of town planning activity. Add a comment

Read more: Monday 2 April 2012

IMG 2917Breakfast at the Watery Mouth cafe? Just down the road from the Lugano is very good and we head off up the Wairau Valley (route 63) towards Westport. A bit of drizzle bodes ill but the forecast has it right and we are soon away from the rain.

Top House, the historic hotel, is our first stop for a cup of tea but mine host, Nigel Phoenix, is a real entertainment and we stay for lunch so as to hear his tales of the Top House history. This is a not to be missed experience. We got the full tour and have promised to stay next time. Add a comment

Read more: 3rd April 2012

IMG 2915The Town House is first rate and well deserves it's best West Coast cafe award. We loved it. Likewise J's 'food to the soul' cafe for breakfast. Both menus were simple and imaginative and very very tasty. By Auckland standards reasonably priced too, both worth a visit.

Anyway another glorious day on the West Coast and a great ride south. On a day like this it is probably the best ride in the world but it has to be said with the usual rain and low cloud it would probably rate as the worst.

Morning coffee in Greymouth then lunch in Harihari. Finally home cooked dinner at the Mt Cook View motel in Fox Glacier.

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IMG 3081Breakfast at the Matheison Lake cafe although we had to decline the walk around the lake due to a lack of suitable walking clothes.

Our run down to Haast - words fail to adequately describe the glories of the Coast on a cloudless day like this.

The Fantail cafe at Haast (which was horrible last time ) was full of backpackers and the girl in the adjacent Hard Antler pub was "rushed off her feet and you'll have to wait". Actually no we won't as we can backtrack to Haast Junction and the cafe there puts on a white bait taster which is more than adequate for our needs. Add a comment

Read more: 5th April 2012

IMG 2972A day off from the Wanaka airshow and a ride over the crown range for lunch in Glenorchy. It was interesting to see how busy both Queenstown and Arrowtown were. Not tempting to stop.

The cafe in Glenorchy was busy but not excessively so and the BLAT was excellent.

Another glorious day.

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IMG 2980It should have been obvious that this would be a very busy day on the road north but it was a surprise. Who knew there would be so many campers heading to Christchurch. The traffic police were there to monitor them.

Our first stop at Omarama was a bust as there were three or four tour buses full there before us. We skipped tea.

With a bit of effort we managed to find a back way across the planes that kept us out of the way of the traffic on the main Highway 1

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IMG 2983A late start and a very good run to Blenheim as the traffic has now dissipated. Still quite a few traffic cops and blustery but fine conditions.

Due to the late departure we had to minimize our stops and were very glad to get to the Lugano in Blenheim just before dark. The setting sun gave us quite a few visibility problems on the last hour of the journey as the helmet visors were covered in sea spray and bugs. Terrifying.

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Ferry day today and the run of fine weather has finally broken. The rain starts just as we leave for Picton and we are grateful to get on the ferry. Looks like the rain will last for the next 24 hours so we'll lay up to let it pass.

Our last day was a wet and dry run from Wellington to Home, many Km and very tiring.

Just under 3000km for the whole trip.

Photos from the trip can be found here

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