Sunday, November 4, 2012

Motorcycle the East Cape of New Zealand

From Auckland Whangarei, Warkworth, Christchurch and Invercargill, the riders gathered for a motorcycle trip around the East Cape, where corners are plentiful and you can still see horses in the main street of town.
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The trip includes iconic North Island roads including:
  • Ngaruawahia to Te Awamutu
  • Kihikihi to Whakamaru
  • Pohipi Rd, Taupo
  • Taupo-Napier Highway
  • "The East Cape"
  • The road out on the Mahia Peninsular
  • Opotiki to Rotorua via Taneatua
  • The Old Te Aroha Rd
  • Waikino Gorge
  • Coromandel Loop [Waihi to Thames]

Te Waipounamu Motorcycle Tours, Auckland North Shore

I have my own bike, but for some of the others motorcycle rental is the way to go - although Max did ride from Christchurch - we met him in Taupo and as good timing would have it, he arrived at the Adelphi Motel about 5 minutes after we did. There were six of us on the trip:
  • John: Suzuki Boulevard C90
  • Graeme: Suzuki DL650
  • Nick: Suzuki DL650 courtesy of Te Waipounamu
  • Heiner: Triumph 1200 Explorer courtesy of Te Waipounamu (with only 3KM on it)
  • Max: Suzuki XF650 Freewind
  • Peter: BMW 650GS courtesy of Te Waipounamu

To Taupo in the dark

When we were all assembled it was Thursday 4:00PM and we charged off to our first meeting place - the Bombay Hills BP. This was through the Auckland motorway traffic (a delight all of its own) - however we managed to have one group wait at the BP and another at the Caltex - just to add a little early confusion. No harm done, it was off to Taupo, turning off the main highway at Ngaruawahia and taking in the Waikato country-side through to Te Awamutu, where we stopped for sustenance. I use that term to be vague about whether or not beer was involved. Come to think of it, I don't think we ate anything... Once you turn off at Kihikihi you have a wonderful run through to Whakamaru - brilliant ride, with both a challenging twisty bit, and lots of sweeping and rolling. After the main road I admit I did relax a little bit. We ended up in Taupo in the dark, and as mentioned, met up up with Max at the Motel.
We went out quite late to find some dinner, and it was an Indian meal at Mr India. Hot spicy food and cold beer - can't go wrong.

Taupo to Gisborne

Up early and rearing to go, we decided to stop at the first decent looking place we found for breakfast. Hint: Never let a guy who has eaten lead a group to breakfast! We did stop finally at the River Valley Cafe - which is nearly at the Napier turnoff. No problem though, it was an excellent breakfast stop, complete with South African crafts and ornaments. From the turnoff it was proper East Cape riding. Not too much traffic, although quite a few large logging trucks on the road. Mahia Peninsular for lunch was the order, and we charged off. What a beautiful ride out there - well worth it, and the pub at the end did a great lunch too - with Graeme going for the half-crayfish - be rude not to...
Discussing important bike things...

Our stop for the night was at Wainui, a wonderful beach just north of Gisborne. As we came into Gisborne there is a golf course running down the side of the road, and a guy was teeing off. As we approached he seemed to be taking his time, and he drove off just after I passed him. Nek minit... a golf ball bounces about 3 metres from me, and just in front. I don't think he was aiming at me.
Nick went down for a swim, did put his toes in the water, made a face and came back.

We had a great Mexican at the Ocean Beach Motorlodge restaurant - really good authentic food - I had a bean burrito which was excellent (with some habanero sauce added of course). I flagged the margaritas - after a days riding, a feed and a couple of beers, I was for bed - a big day tomorrow - Gisborne, the Cape and to Rotorua, with signs of rain coming.

The East Cape ride

Up early again we headed to Tolaga Bay for breakfast and a fill. I was a little worried about the range on the Boulevard, as there would be plenty of twisting - both the road and the throttle, and I didn't want to run the mere 14 litre tank dry. The DL's seemed to go forever without a petrol stop.

The riding was full on, I can imagine this would be a very bad road to be in a car with kids in the back - twisting and turning, a bit lumpy in places, and pretty much empty apart from bucket-loads of iconic NZ scenery.
Tolaga Bay Wharf there and back.

We stopped in Ruatoria for a fuel break, and did see horses in the main street. As with all good trips - lunch... which we found at a lovely pub (with no beer) at Waihau Bay. We ate without Nick however, who missed the turnoff and continued through to Opotiki. That wasn't the only mis-calculation either. Heine and Pete had gone through Ohope and on to Taneatua where the turn to Rotorua is. Pete just kept on going until he saw a road sign that said 77KM to Gisborne...ooops, time to turn back. We were getting a bit worried as the weather had turned very wet and Pete was nowhere to be seen. Must really love that BMW seat?? Yes wet... it hadn't rained for a few days and the road was foaming with loose oil and road debris. We all made it to Rotorua in one piece however = even if Pete did try and go around again... The road from Opotiki to Taneatua was a gem too.
This is for Nick, who didn't stop here...

The place we stayed in Rotorua had a hot mineral pool, and it didn't take us long to find it, soaking away the days riding. Heiner hammed it up for the motel lady - not sure what she thought we were up to in the private pool room. Now for dinner and a beer and it was time for Mediterranean at Cafe Ephesus - wonderful Middle-Eastern salads and wood-fired pizza. The bouncers let us into the Pig and Whistle for a beer and we all had the margaritas we had missed from the night before.

Sunday and the Coromandel

Max was off to Christchurch early, and so Graeme had us up at 6:30 heading for breakfast in Paeroa. This was via the Old Te Aroha Rd, which is well worth finding - almost 'hidden valley' kind of stuff. The Coromandel roads are truly miles-of-smiles when it comes to motorcycle riding - and the day was perfect.
Stopped for a break and re-group at Tairua.

The loop was great as always, shared with 200-odd hotrods who had been in Whitianga for the weekend. Up and over the top and down to Coromandel and the Smokehouse. I stocked up on smoked mussels... this is a must stop. Back down the coast we diced with some inconsiderate drivers towing boats - I guess they are locals and own the road...sorry for being quicker and more agile. We thought that we might have time to do the Kaiaua-Clevedon road but time was against us to get the bikes back to Barry's Pt Rd.

A wonderful trip on some of New Zealand's best roads. Thanks guys for a great trip, great food and great company. And the great organising skills of Mr Graeme Stretch, who gets up early.

I did get some video on the GoPro and will see how to make it into clips on youtube.
cheers johnhs [windingroad]

1 comment:

Melissa Cruz said...

I love Escorted Tours. They are amazing. Such a beautiful journey to discover. This time we are hitting to California. Keep exploring. Thanks for sharing.