December 22, 2014 at 11:08 am #5518EddiebKeymaster
Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter
- Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
We have a GPS tracklog for download and a small write up of Kaipara Hills Road here: https://www.adventureridingnz.co.nz/gps-tracks-rides/north-island-tracks/kaipara-hills-rd/December 22, 2014 at 11:21 am #5520
A true Salt+ Pepper morning out there…some heavy rains through the night, some blue patches now… some pitch-black, low level stuff throwing shadows and scattered light all about the place…it’s changing from one extreme to the next within minutes.
Orewa…not a place one would want to hang around at for long, lets’ make tracks and get this over and done with.
The dreaded “Auckland-Crossing”, that is.
Flying by dead-reckoning, we get snagged in one of the Tupperware suburbs and finish up at the Esplanade again.
Looks like by chasing our own tail at least we’ve outrun a batch of blackbellies.
And here’s the next lot brewing.
Looking back to the coast from the ridges of Kahikatea Flat Rd…..looks like we dodged that one then…
The whole area is full of them…a kids’ bus shelter scheme sponsored by a building company. I like that, LOTS! Goodonya Totalspan!!
Not shy with their paint-pots here, either.
Still being early, we skip the coffees and rather tootle north, up the Peninsula to South Head.
Only being a few kilometres wide, any rain coming across the coast from the west hopefully flies over the top and towards the waters of Kaipara Harbour real quick…
Looking across Kaipara Harbour into the first line of hills behind the Kaipara Coast.
And nature is putting on a fabulous light-show!
JEEZAZ!!! Just look at the size of the marshmallows they’re growing here!!December 22, 2014 at 4:24 pm #5535
<cite> @Eddieb said:</cite>
What about Lygon Street?
Against this place?
Chalk and cheese…January 8, 2015 at 10:18 am #5663
Rest of the yarn here:
post #74 onwardsJanuary 9, 2015 at 1:57 pm #5665EddiebKeymaster
Rank: Round the World Adventure Globetrotter
- Bike: Suzuki DR650 ADV
Rest of the yarn here:
post #74 onwards
🙂 been away on holiday so havent had time to finish it here.January 20, 2015 at 3:04 pm #6741
Travelling speeds have dropped to crawling, the moods of the ever changing landscape, either lit up like a Christmas tree or as dark and featureless as a cave, are riveting!
And there?s one thing that?s been irking me….traveling the backroads of the Northland we?ve seen thousands of those NZ letterboxes, the plastic drum type with the flip-up flag. Nailed to fence-posts, trees, trunks, standing on posts, leaning against rusty tractors and hung of the branch of some old tree….they come in endless colours and combinations but they?re all the same box.
And a great, SOLID one at that. I just like ?em…a lot.
Standing in front of the shelf at the Helensville Mitre10, I start to realize how BIG those things actually are (didn?t look THAT big out there in the countryside…)…they easily hold a couple of shoeboxes AND the mail!
How the hell do we get one home?
Got a Midget? That?ll do!!
Following the Old North Rd., we stay off the main roads for the first 30k?s south, then all of a sudden we?re on a Freeway playing mobile speedhumps for trucks, cars and buses…crawling along the emergency lane on the lookout for debris and torn tyre bits…play chicken with the traffic belting down the on-ramps while we?re looking for a slot to veer sharply across to pick up the emergency lane again…the wind is howling across the harbour and pushing speeds down to 55-60, third gear screaming…
I recognize some suburbs and route numbers and soon we?re back on previously travelled city roads, making our way south to Manukau and ducking back into the semi-rural surrounds by Ardmore.
Shadows getting long when checking for a room at the Clevedon Pub, at $120 for a dingy pub-room they can shove it, we?ll keep going a little longer.
15min down the road…
Coromandel….just across the bay.
A warm welcome by this place at Kawakawa Bay, the host even throws in a bottle of local red.
If nothing else, that clinched it.
Time to walk into town and pick up that fish ?n chips.
Bare feet on warm sand, long shadows, clinking rigging and snapping lines from the yacht harbour, solitude…January 20, 2015 at 3:14 pm #6743
OK….no more Northland… done with that one for now.
Of course, there’s a whole new world of roads and places to explore south of Auckland….and the Waikato district is a prime example.
It’ll also lead back to Hamilton and sadly, the end of this Northland caper.
Up and out early to make the most of the last day on the road….
Cruising down the Firth of Thames coast….the Coromandel Peninsula barely 20km across the water.
Once again, some big blackies up there make for spectacular skies, another morning that’s a GIFT.
We own the place; too…there isn’t even a single car in the distance somewhere.
Just about too beautiful to keep going.
The dreamy dawdle down the coast, basking in the early sunshine, finds an abrupt end in the twisties of the Kaiaua Rd. cutting across the foothills of the Hanua Ranges towards Mangatawhiri.
Well….who would’ve thought??
Crossing the main SH1 Highway, the little settlement of Mercer looks like it was chopped clean in half during construction…a handful of neat, little houses on a hill feel semi-rural…
Watch out, dinner on road!
…while the western side of the highway is a grubby industrial site with a petrol station and some Greasy-Joe’s half stuck underneath the highway-terrace.
Who would’ve ever thought that amongst that sorry-looking lot is a fantastic cheese shop??
What a discovery…let’s grab some bits for breakfast, then find a cafe or something down the road…January 20, 2015 at 3:22 pm #6745
Next place on the map seems to be Pukekawa…right underneath that mountain of black cloud….and DOWN it comes!!
Apart from a small Primary School and a car repair joint, Pukekawa doesn?t seem to exist….
…let?s run from the rain and head for Tuakau, which definitely is a bigger place than anything further south.
Waikato River Bridge near Tuakau
The cheese turns out even better than what it smelled in the shop… the cafe in Tuarau puts on a monstrous bacon + egg roll that?d make any half-baked cardiologist turn in his grave…and all that sets us up nicely for a deliciously slow afternoon run down the gravel roads of the Waikato, savouring every minute.
There?s a mountain of memories flooding in at the sight of the sign to the Klondyke Rd., the name alone suggests Alaska, pioneers, rough bush, adventure and all that…and it?s got a bit of all that to it, as we found out a few years back on the Hobbits + Bobbits ride.
This time we go past and pick the next one turning west, Ponganui Rd., which will hopefully also lead us along the ridges.
And it well and truly does!! WHOOHOO!!
Come along for a cracker of a ride!
Somewhere along the ridge it turns into Brien Rd.
Oooh boy…it’s a humdinger.
Magic country!! I wonder, what?s in those cracks and crags…January 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm #6747
Staying on the ridges heading south….and shedding a silent tear for not having enough time to run up and down ALL those roads which tie into the ridge…there’s a promise of a week’s worth of exploring just around here!!
HOW GOOD IS THIS
Run, baby, run….Christmas isn’t far away.
The exhilarating ridge-run stops at Kaawa, where it’s back into the valleys and onto a tar/gravel mix south on the Richardson Rd., Dixon and Waimai Valley Rd. for a last gravel-fling across the Otorahea Trig Rd. , then the dogleg into Hamilton….scuttling some old and busted pieces of riding clobber amongst the piles put out for the local hard-rubbisch-collection.
It just all fits neatly.
OHHHH MYYY GOOOOD….MY TIDDLERS ARE BACK!!
It’s nice to be missed, innit?
The man who made it all possible!! A HUGE THANK YOU!!
We owe you big time for an unforgettable fortnight in one of NZ’s best kept secrets.
A big thanks for 2 brilliant, little bikes that proved simply PERFECT for that sort of “snooping around” the backblocks, didn’t let us down between ploughing the sand and ploughing the gravel, the grass, the rocks, the mud…and now you finally know where they took us, too.
See you back in Melbourne, buddy….SOON!
I reckon, in the end even the GoldenBoys turned from oval-to-round…..sort of.
(or I just got used to the flickering horizon at 50kmh).
As always, no GPS and chargers and wires and stuff for this old dog.
Maps exclusively from the New Zealand Automobile Association (NZ AA).
The touring map series provides maps with every single road (seal and gravel) by name.
Simply brilliant! Extremely accurate!
We purchased the Northland lot online and had them mailed out to Melbourne within 3 days.
Excellent info about finding some of the gems, locations, walks, caves, lookouts and endless other interesting stuff via the NZfrenzy Guides, either download pdf files or have the printed version mailed out within a week.
Hope, you enjoyed the yarn and the ~560pics…. maybe bringing across some of the soul, the mood, the character of the place….aside from the simply brilliant roads and places, people and endless little surprises along the way.
Need time out? Need a real good break? Need a ride? Need to tell the world to kiss your arse for a week or two??
See you for the next one… when this bloody tune jams up my head again… and the feet start twitchin’ real bad….and the VisaCard is about to go through the wringer ! Life’s too farkin short to miss out, HELL YEAH! Let’s ride!!
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