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Thread: Molesworth/Rainbow Roads

  1. #1
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    Molesworth/Rainbow Roads

    The latest from DoC on these two roads is that while both are currently closed (Rainbow because of weather-related slips prior to the earthquake and Molesworth because of some damage to the DoC-controlled section but also due to a major slip on the Awatere Road north of Molesworth) it is expected that Molesworth will open to the public for a normal season of access in 'a couple of weeks' (DoC's words) while it is not known when rainbow will re-open. Both are currently being worked on, but I suspect that priority is being given to SH70 and SH1.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for the update.

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  4. #4
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    I had heard talk of the possibility of the Molesworth being turned into a new SH1 ....

    Talk - but no doubt someone is thinking.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllanB View Post
    I had heard talk of the possibility of the Molesworth being turned into a new SH1 ....

    Talk - but no doubt someone is thinking.
    It has nz's highest public access rd saddle on it, partly why it is closed for much of the year. Then it gets closed due to fire risk in summer. So would be very temporary at best!
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racing Dave View Post
    The latest from DoC on these two roads is that while both are currently closed (Rainbow because of weather-related slips prior to the earthquake and Molesworth because of some damage to the DoC-controlled section but also due to a major slip on the Awatere Road north of Molesworth) it is expected that Molesworth will open to the public for a normal season of access in 'a couple of weeks' (DoC's words) while it is not known when rainbow will re-open. Both are currently being worked on, but I suspect that priority is being given to SH70 and SH1.
    Thanks mate, I am down there next week with plans to do both! Ha! Will find plenty other choice roads to do, maybe up the sounds rds?
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  7. #7
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    All this media talk of these two inland routes, Rainbow valley and Awatere Valley has caught my attention. Not that I have an adventure bike but curiosity is getting the better of me.

    What are they like? How long does each ride take - from civilisation to civilisation. By civilisation I mean a place you can buy a flat white and petrol.

    Neither look to be a shorter alternative to HW1 from Picton to Chch and for the estimated $4b to make them highway grade, well $4b would clear a hell of a lot more slips on HW1 than we currently have.

    Be interested to hear from those that have ridden these and please post any pictures. The scenery from google maps looks...well bland to be honest. Sparse hills covered in tussock?
    Happiness is a means of travel, not a destination

  8. #8
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    Here's some pics of the Rainbow (2012). It's pretty much typical remote back country. Some scrubland, other sections cut through rock cliffs and a few water crossings. Molesworth is easier as such, only small water crossings, whereas Rainbow has 6 mile creek which can be anything from low and easy through to impassable.

    Being the high backcountry the weather is also subject to change quickly. It can go from hot and no wind to strong icy winds within the hour... Always travel prepared in such locations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD View Post
    All this media talk of these two inland routes, Rainbow valley and Awatere Valley has caught my attention. Not that I have an adventure bike but curiosity is getting the better of me.

    What are they like? How long does each ride take - from civilisation to civilisation. By civilisation I mean a place you can buy a flat white and petrol.

    Neither look to be a shorter alternative to HW1 from Picton to Chch and for the estimated $4b to make them highway grade, well $4b would clear a hell of a lot more slips on HW1 than we currently have.

    Be interested to hear from those that have ridden these and please post any pictures. The scenery from google maps looks...well bland to be honest. Sparse hills covered in tussock?
    Anywhere can look awesome on a good day in the right lighting.

    It's not a non stop roller coaster of breath taking vistas, but isn't bad and is worth a jaunt to see for yourself and form your own opinion, like most of the planet.






  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laava View Post
    It has nz's highest public access rd saddle on it, partly why it is closed for much of the year. Then it gets closed due to fire risk in summer. So would be very temporary at best!
    Yep, it's just talk... The highest points on the Moleworth & Rainbow, at around 1100m & 1300m IIRC, are way higher than most of the NZ highway network. Having the main Picton - Chch route shut by snow for a large chunk of the winter might not be a goer.

    When it's in good shape the Molesworth is easily do-able on a suitable road bike if you are comfortable on gravel. Met a bloke in Hanmer once who rode his SV1000 through quite often. Most of the tarmac bit going up the Awatere valley is actually damn good fun road riding too.

    Cheers
    Clint

  11. #11
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    Thanks Gremlin and Tazz, those are nice pics and it really helps to see the quality of the road, as well as the terrain. I couldn't spot the local MacDonalds neon signs anywhere in the distance

    You have serious knobblies! So I doubt the Zed on sports tyres would cut the mustard. I am keen to do this one day, maybe when an adventure bike resides in my garage. The new Africa twin has some appeal. I must test ride one someday.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD View Post
    Thanks Gremlin and Tazz, those are nice pics and it really helps to see the quality of the road, as well as the terrain. I couldn't spot the local MacDonalds neon signs anywhere in the distance

    You have serious knobblies! So I doubt the Zed on sports tyres would cut the mustard. I am keen to do this one day, maybe when an adventure bike resides in my garage. The new Africa twin has some appeal. I must test ride one someday.
    One of our guys is happy doing molesworth on his bandit, so see no reason why you couldn't do the molesworth, when open, on your z.
    Only a Rat can win a Rat Race!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD View Post
    You have serious knobblies! So I doubt the Zed on sports tyres would cut the mustard. I am keen to do this one day, maybe when an adventure bike resides in my garage. The new Africa twin has some appeal. I must test ride one someday.
    The joy of adventure riding. A well graded and compressed gravel road is quite easy for hitting 100kph+. Now follow a grader through the same road as it churns up ridges and creates a soft top surface and the odds of getting close to 100kph are slim...

    With little rain a water crossing is like a paddling pool... After heavy rain you may be stranded...
    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Omorogbe from UK MSN on the KTM990SM
    It's barking mad and if it doesn't turn you into a complete loon within half an hour of cocking a leg over the lofty 875mm seat height, I'll eat my Arai.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MD View Post
    Thanks Gremlin and Tazz, those are nice pics and it really helps to see the quality of the road, as well as the terrain. I couldn't spot the local MacDonalds neon signs anywhere in the distance

    You have serious knobblies! So I doubt the Zed on sports tyres would cut the mustard. I am keen to do this one day, maybe when an adventure bike resides in my garage. The new Africa twin has some appeal. I must test ride one someday.
    theres no macca's up the Molly....yet We are heading to Hanmer after Christmas. I want to go through Molesworth in the 4wd if its open but my Bride wants to go via Westcoast/Lewis cos that's her old stompin ground. google maps says its 8hrs vrs 4.5hrs from Blummin so the coast route is looking gooderer.

    The AT would be an exceptional Molesworthy bike, KTM950/690 are pretty good too

    ....wherezz that track go

    sometimes the pigeon....but mostly the statue

  15. #15
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    Have been through rainbow from hanmer to st arnaud for lunch, and then across and back through the south end of molesworth.

    Rainbow is quite varied, from good shingle road to track graded through the latest slips, and wide open, through forest and river valleys.

    Molesworth equally fun, some flat good road and some track winding over hills, lots to stop and look at on the way.
    Riding cheap crappy old bikes badly since 1987

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