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Waiohine Gorge by sidecar

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  • #12562
    • Town/City: Wellington
    • Bike: BMW R80 G/S, R100GS & M72 Sidecar, Gilera Runner ST200

    Topics Created: 33
    Replies posted: 187

    Rank: 1200cc Rider


    Yesterday we decided to take advantage of the ongoing fine weather to have a bit of a picnic & an explore in parts of the Wairarapa we hadn’t seen. And of course get some Parkvale Mushrooms – and maybe some Drunken Nanny Cheese. We agreed that this would be a fully self catered affair – no coffees at cafes on the way.

    By the time we’d been to the supermarket for supplies, & done the household chores, we didn’t get out of the house until after 11.00 am. But we did have the picnic packed. Next time we may even take fold out chairs.

    The morning’s weather didn’t inspire, but improved as we made our way up the Hutt Valley.

    Unfortunately I hadn’t realigned the sidecar after the Takapari Rd & North Range Rd adventures, & it was pulling left anytime we were over 80 kph. Having to fight the steering gets tiring in the longer run. And makes the ride over the Rimutakas less enjoyable. The front guard needs a washer on the right side to straighten it – it was slightly deformed & rubbing the tyre on left handers. And the clatter is back on the left hand cylinder. Annoying. I should have attended to all of these things during the week. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

    Waiohine Gorge runs back into the Tararua Ranges, between Featherston, & Greytown. But to get to it you need to ride almost to Carterton, because the access roads are blocked by the Waiohine River (no bridges aside from SH2).

    Given that we were going through Greytown, we briefly popped our noses into the Greytown Motor Camp, just for a look around. Small, sited in what feels like a bush remnant. Might come back for a stay in the summer some time.

    Once you hit the foothills, the road going into the Gorge runs to dirt & gravel. This time the road was pretty well swept. The council had obviously made an attempt to re-gravel it at some stage. Which resulted in lots of gravel on the crown of the road – and almost none elsewhere. The DoC maintained portion of the road deterioated further until it almost felt like the initial portion of Takapari Rd. Because the road is fairly narrow in places, & had more then a few blind corners, I needed to take care to allow for oncoming traffic (so no long WFO slides). There is one concrete stream ford – dry this time.

    We must have had some altitude. There’d been a heavy dew overnight, & even after mid day this was still evident. And we seem to be rushing into winter. Certainly while it was a nice fine day, the light made for the strong contrasts winter sunshine brings, that makes shadows feel deeper, & makes picture taking difficult.

    The Gorge itself looks to be is a popular start to tramping in the Tararuas, & I guess would be popular in summer for swimming & picnics. There is plenty of camping areas in the vicinity, & we made use of that for our picnic. The camp grounds are all levelled & mowed grass areas, with pockets into surrounding regenerating bush & scrub allowing for some private areas.

    At the carpark (at the end of the road) there are two tracks – one leading down steepish switchbacks to allow access to the river, & the other to the swingbridge that crosses the gorge. The swingbridge allows access to the tramping tracks the area is known for. From the signboard maps at the carparks, it looks like there are plenty of tracks through the Tararuas, with overnight DoC hut accomodation. The swingbridge is high, with a narrow open steel grid for walking on. Well made, but plenty high enough to completely freak Mrs Box’a’bits out. An internet search tells me the bridge is the longest & highest of its type in the country, at 124 metres long & 40 metres high.

    Back on the search for mushrooms. Unfortuntely I’d mistimed that run, & made a navigation mistake to compound that error. We arrived at Parkvale after 3.00pm, to discover the farm shop only opens 9.00am to 12.00 noon.

    Near Martinborough we saw Bill Biber out on his Ural with his big dog acting as monkey. Maybe he was on a delivery run – it looked like his boot was open.

    Afternoon tea in the Martinborough Square. The Square still had ANZAC commerative wreathes at the memorial, & individual crosses with knitted poppies for the local war dead.

    Got some consolation Parkvale mushrooms at Pain & Kershaw (much more expensive than getting them at the farm), but wasn’t able to get the cheese.

    Another trip over the Rimutakas. Passed by a car ½ way up, & then held up in a queue of traffic led by a tourist in a campervan. Only slighty frustrated. Home by 5.30.

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