December 16, 2014 at 3:41 pm #5468
Still slobbering, the sealed twisties of the backblocks towards Peria don’t disappoint either!!
On the line…and on the gas!
Gleaming in the sun….near Oruru
A tack east towards Mangonui on the coast and the Backriver Rd. proves a bit of a “Redneck Hwy”, should’ve tried the longer route through Kohumaru.
Always one to happily avoid all and any of the local plastic tourist-circus, Mongonui turns out a cute little gem, a historic town proud of its past and with lots of “genuinely-worn” everyday features to be “huggable”. Substance and character well outrank glitz + polish here.
Doug’s former home…the Mangonui 4Square store, built over the water. Still sprouting the old timber floors… thick, peeling paint…and the “smell” of times past.Nice!
And that would’ve been Doug’s room up there?
One of his school-projects, I guess. Didn’t involve beer-bottles yet, amazing!
Btw, mate…looks like some of the place has recently been re-stumped.December 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm #5470
Mangonui …a short stroll along the “esplanade”, icecream dripping, gawking… seeing “a shot a second” every which way I turn. LOVE the place! They can shove their Bay-of-Islands….I’ll stay around here!December 16, 2014 at 3:57 pm #5472
Bouncing west to the closest petrol at Coopers Beach, it’s obvious that the nearly stationary mass of threatening clouds that has spared us all day, is finally on the move. Guess, we better make a move then, too…
Carving the sweepers as fast as we can, it’s a 35km dash east on the SH10 towards Kaeo, tacking north to Whangaroa along the bay once we’re over the bridge at the tail of the inlet.
Whangaroa…a Caravan Park/ Motor Camp with a few cabins, an old pub, the Yacht Club and marina, a few dozen houses, a couple of B+B’s and low-level motels, a tiny shop with a grumpy, old storekeeper who’d rather live at the pub.
A little holiday spot for the locals on a very picturesque, little harbour…
The Caravan Park is deserted and somewhat eerie….the cabins in “renovation” mode, all doors and windows open incl. those of the managers residence, but nobody around.
“Call 12345678… for contact”.
Naww, thanks….leave that for a last resort. (pun intended)
The motel up that extremely steep drive is the same…furniture and paint pots stacked on the balconies, nobody around, sign with mobile -number on the door. The joys of travelling off-season, aye?
I can see us going back to Mangonui….but there was one sign in the paddocks 5km before town…what was the name?? Some Lodge or something….that’s it, the Sunseeker Lodge Motel and Backpackers.
Tucked away and up the steeep hill on some tight + narrow asphalt road, it’s a friendly welcome and even a choice of a clean, simple room or the semi-jungle standalone-with-bike-cover version.
We certainly owe the posties heaps…the one with cover it is!
Through the tropical thicket at the front door….Whangaroa Harbour.
Listen to the locals: “Spare the pub…better tucker at the Yacht Club down the marina”.
How about St. Paul’s Knob!! towering above town… with the long shadows on the timber deck….
If the world ever has to end…let it end like this!
Sipping a local red, silently watching the skies changing hues and shapes, golden rays flooding the harbour and hills, shadows moving, shifting, the craw of a seagull……JUST SOAKING IT UP LIKE A SPONGE!!
The “glowing trunk”
The bottle of red is gone… the coppery, burning skies have flamed-out…night creeps in.
OMG….what a PERFECT day!!
Whangaroa…a fixed place in our hearts!December 17, 2014 at 2:38 pm #5475
A tiny break in the rain and I’m off to get some stuff for brekkie, quickly up that single-laner tar to the small twin-spot carpark for the walk to St. Pauls Knob…the harbour is in thick, low fog.
Old grump hasn’t opened the shop yet; it’s off to the 4Square in Keao, the drizzle turning to rain again. The local cop is having a laughing fit seeing me sloshing around the place…
….you guessed it!!!
Finally pulling out near 10.30, we have a quick look at the oyster beds…
…before getting soaked to the skin north of Waipapa in a torrential downpour boosted by tons of water coming off the trucks and cars overtaking us.
Missing out on the planned Wainui Rd. coastal loop with extras as well as the backroads via Peria for a run down the Mangamuka Twisties before cutting north again on forestry roads for another night at Whangaroa is giving me more of the shits than the soaked-to-the-skin thing.
By Kawakawa we’ve been through another mega-soak and staring at a third, just down the road.
Now the temps are dropping and things are getting ugly.
We decide to push on a bit longer with the quickly vanishing hope of somehow popping out from under the blackbellies up there.
It’s all over by Whangarei, the water is running out the top of the pants, time to find a little motel or something with a laundry/ clothes dryer. Kamo, one of the northern suburbs of Whangarei comes good with all that’s needed.
Come Happy Hour, the sun is out, the gear is dry…and the bottle’s empty! Ratz!!
Time out!December 17, 2014 at 3:02 pm #5477
Dry!! And some broken-up cloud up there…
Things are certainly looking more hopeful this morning, yeah!
Having bypassed yesterday’s entire route, we’ll try to recover and snatch some bits back from the “loss-column”….
First things first…tyre pressures and chains.
Back towards the north on the State Highway 1.
Having no idea that this will lead to another of the TOP5!! Northland roads…and Thanks God it isn’t the Pigs Arse.
Kaikanui Road is one of those little gravel roads that springs one surprise after another…big, molded rocks, incredible views, coastal vistas, cozy, little poplar groves, lily pond lakes, a pack of turkeys, a flock of geese parading alongside the gravel, tropical bush, deep-green farmland…it just goes on and on.
It’s a bloody STUMPER!!December 17, 2014 at 3:27 pm #5479
A turn off into Mimiwhangata Rd., an even narrower road feeling even more “tucked away” and remote leads to the tip of a small peninsula, most of it a coastal park.
There’s another one of those superbly located DoC camps at the end of the narrow road…. right at the beach…
…and what a dream of a little beach it is!!December 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm #5481awa355ParticipantRank: 50cc Rider
I’m enjoying the photos and stories. Well done.December 18, 2014 at 8:44 pm #5496
Looking at the “roaring response” (cough), I’m rather surprised to see Eddie keep going with this (shrug).
Anyway…Merry Xmas to all!! 🙂December 19, 2014 at 8:58 pm #5497HobbyhorseParticipant
Rank: 400cc Rider
- Bike: 2014 BMW G650GS
Eddie has certainly done us proud by loading this up for all to see and I have viewed it all of the way through on AusTouring, and again on this site.
Thanks for the Xmas wishes Glitch, hoping yours is a good one and look forward to your next adventure reports.December 22, 2014 at 10:16 am #5507
What a shame to have to take the same road back again, aye?
No question….Northland-TOP5 material!!
Another tack towards the coast finds us on Hailes Rd. on the way to Whananaki South…
…..for a look at the Whananaki Inlet and the longest foot bridge in NZ. It’s what the kids around here use to get to school (which is right at the northern end of the bridge).
It’s certainly long enough to need a few of those “slow-lanes”.December 22, 2014 at 10:20 am #5509
Suddenly realizing that the day is running away from us fast and some low clouds are drawing in again,
it’s off to “burn some asphalt” through Waipaipai…
…and the, now sealed, Waiatea Rd. ….
(for some unbelievable asphalt-carving try THIS loop from/ to Whangarei http://goo.gl/maps/zWI65 )
…for at least a few hours at our favourites…The Kaipara! That fantastic square cradled by SH 12 / SH14 and SH1.
Not a lot of pics this arvo…’cause we get chased down by a local farmer on a quad who’s seen us tootle past. Proves he’s got a burning desire to travel his country by postie one of those days and we just happened along.
After blocking the 14km long Ararua Rd. for more than an hour (without so much as a warbling turkey coming past), the Tiddlers thoroughly checked out and photographed, trying to cope with an avalanche of questions and some laughing tears still streaking the cheeks….
….we’re finally bouncing back towards the coast along the ugly, devastated hills of the Finlayson Brook Rd., which are deeply scarred by logging.
A truly sobering and somewhat angry sight.
Some shopping in Waipu….
…and we’re welcomed like family at the Waipu Cove Camp….
…where Goodie decides to leave a mark and nearly burn down the camp-kitchen, charcoaling the living shit out of those marinated chicken-somethings we got from the butcher at Waipu.
Scrubbing pans isn’t too bad with a bottle of red at hand….December 22, 2014 at 10:29 am #5511
A little drizzle at daybreak quickly turns into an outright sparkler…the road’s calling!
The coastal road heading south, that is…sweet twisties and dense, green gullies mixing it with breathtaking views across the beaches and coastal landscapes. Lazy asphalt carving with a mind getting jam-packed with images and smells, thoughts and feelings.
The staggering is staggering:
Sail Rock in front of Taranga Island, which is in front of the string of Hen + Chicken Islands. No shyte, that’s a real name!
Mangawhai invites to a little tootle around town….the usual “old core” starting to get “ringed” by the first tentacles of Auckland’s “new money” creeping up the coast in its gold-gilded early retirement…for the time being, there’s still enough of the old around to make it appealing. Get up here, quick!!
Black Swamp Rd. just south of town, leads through the coastal flats and farmland before Coal Hill Rd. climbs onto the ridge, offering some stunning views of the whole Mangawhai coastal basin.
79 Coal Hill Rd…. how do 2.5acres of coastal coastal views sound?
All yours for some lousy pocket-shrapnel of ½ mil or so… here’s the phone number, too.
A minute or 2 on the main coastal road are enough to again duck into the backblocks.
Cames road just about circles the whole place, ducking and weaving its way along the spine of a ridge with breathtaking views either side. This is balm for the soul!
Another Top10er despite being so close to “civilisation”.December 22, 2014 at 10:45 am #5513
….which gets us back to our hotly favoured Pritchard/ Ryan Rd. combo, this time heading south.
Popping over the top, looking south….I just can’t get enough of this, EVER!
Back on the tar, School Rd. and Tomarata Valley Rd. turn out to be a wet-dream of a farmland-racetrack!!….even on a postie shod with 27 Dollar, oval GoldenBoys!!
Smooth as silk… great visibility…call it medium bends to slow-sweepers, gently banked….all jammed into a true rollercoaster of dips and crests, weaving and ducking every which way across the hills.
They should’ve made it 3 times as long though…quit whingeing, just turn around and go back!
Yet another Top10 contender!
Matakana Valley Rd. hasn’t got much “valley” to it…it starts the climb to the ridge near a dirty, dust-caked quarry, then dips south on some delicious asphalt-twisties….with a pretty sweet lookout splitting the stretch at the top.
Bumbling along the Matakana Main Rd., a “Patisserie” looks a bit too flash for the place…but boy, not being a pie-fan…their pies are the Real Deal!…and I’d love to eat them out of their stock…Great stuff!
Wobbling out of the place, it’s barely a 5 min ride to the next cholesterol-hammering event
Charlie’s Gelato Garden…and NO, you couldn’t even IMAGINE!!
40+ flavours handmade before your eyes….from fruit growing on the property or brought in by the local farmers. Sorbet’s, ice-cream and gelato that make the eyes roll back far enough to look out of your &^%$!!
Ever had plum-gelato that’s even more intense than biting into the ripe fruit itself?
Jamming the recent pies into one corner, there’s just enough space for a “sampler basket” of 4 flavours….and within 2 spoonfull’s there flow the tears of regret to have had those damn pies!!
If there was a place like that in Melbourne they’d HAVE to be open 24/7 to simply cope with the demand!
And I’d have an annual 500liter- subscription, fugg yeah! Non-transferrable, too! Bugger you lot!December 22, 2014 at 10:48 am #5515EddiebKeymaster
Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter
- Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
If there was a place like that in Melbourne they’d HAVE to be open 24/7 to simply cope with the demand!
And I’d have an annual 500liter- subscription, fugg yeah! Non-transferrable, too! Bugger you lot!
What about Lygon Street?December 22, 2014 at 11:01 am #5516
While shoveling away at this heavenly stuff, it’s time to check out where the afternoon might take us.
A heavy-hearted Goodbye….
…and we’re off to Warkworth for some petrol, then sort-of crossing the SH1 main drag for some nice asphalt sweepers to Kaipara Flats.
Crossing our previous South -> North route from a week ago, the turn off at the top of the little hill past the Primary School gives no indication of what’s around the corner!!
The KAIPARA HILLS RD. is simply DEVINE!!!
20odd k’s from Kaipara Flats to Glorit on the coastal SH16, this is gravel that don’t come no sweeter, views and vistas of child’s fantasy variety and a track that just crowns ridge after ridge after glorious ridge.
Prime contender for “best and most memorable stretch of the Northland”, no but’s!
Take me away, baby!
Climbing out of Kaipara Flats
Thanks God for the handbrake on those Midgets…cause half the time I’d finish up on my bum trying to take all those shots.
Dropping towards Kaipara Harbour
They unloaded the log-lifter from the flatbed so it can lift the end of the trailer around to free up the truck which got stuck on that tight radius bend.
I want one of them to lift the Midgets around some of the bends, just to save the half-dozen nibbles at a clean cornering line.
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Kaipara Hills Rd.?
First rate…with cream!
A few K’s on the nicely snaking SH16 feel like a bit of a breather before it’s back into the tight stuff via the superb West Coast Rd. asphalt and some nice backblock-gravel on the Welch Access and Burnside Rd.
An old Coles Store delivery bike re-jigged as letterbox
Time to close the day by tacking east on the Krippner Rd….. which doesn’t have much to recommend it…
Orewa on the East Coast turns out the full-plastic Auckland seaside suburb with huge 5-storey tracts of upmarket bayside retiree-slums and hills covered in the universal LJ-Hooker Lego-boxes.
It’s only for one night… let’s plan tomorrow’s route.
The wind is up again and some blackbellies are racing in low.
At least there’s a rickety, half-demolished carport for the bikes in that seedy, old Motel.
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