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Gremlin's Tall Stories

Wellington Work Ride & Weekend Return 2 (22/04/2012)

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I’d initially decided to have a reasonably early start around 0800 or something, but couldn’t be arsed getting out of bed so took my time, eventually slouching through to the main diner area for some breakfast of cereal and fruit.

Having got the day off to the right start I left the Diner shortly after 1000, popped into Taupo for the day’s gas and got into the country around 1030, heading along SH5. First stop was a gravel dead end into the Kaimanawa Forest Park that we to skip on the NGARNZ Poronui Explore due to time constraints. Clements Hill Rd was a narrow winding gravel road, but with a surprising number of people setup camping in various spots as I rode through the road.

The map was very inaccurate, showing the road ending quite quickly but the road went far further and was quite easy riding. Finally reaching the end at 1130 it was evident there are a few walking tracks leading to various places but I resisted the urge to try out riding them. Returning, I took a small track consisting of mud and leaves and found a clearing for camping and was impressed to find a toilet as well, so I took a short break to have a drink and munch on an OSM bar.

I ended up walking down a bank and explored a stream that ended in a waterfall. Quite beautiful so I took a few shots before moving on. I was back on SH5 heading east by 1230. Passing Rangitaiki I headed for Waipunga Valley Rd which led into the Kaingaroa Forest, as I was eager to explore more of the forest. I found my initial guesses at road names after the first time through were slightly off, so noted corrections. One turn took me into an area marked as off limits due to operations so I turned around and took another road.

The track looped around back onto roads I had been on before, but I varied my turns and ended up on tracks not noted previously and seriously developed, being wider than normal and about as straight as roads get. Once it started returning to seal I figured I was coming to the end but this feeling was going to last for several hours yet. I passed a few oncoming vehicles like logging trucks and hunters, surprised to see activity on the weekend.

As I continued north the roads opened out and I found a sign that warned of no public access beyond its point… uh… behind me. Crap… I guess the sign didn’t exist at the other end then. Since there was no going back it was also obvious that I must have passed through to the other side so I could expect to find the main road in due course. I found a sign directing river access down a side road allowing public access so I decided to explore it as it wasn’t on the map. I found the river around 1430 and took another break for an OSM bar and to take a picture and soak in the scenery.

The weather had been kind to me, on the warm side but not too warm and no real hint of rain, and even some really nice blue patches of sky. The road down to the river was interesting, with plenty of trees that had fallen over, but remained at a height high enough to be able to ride underneath them.

I retraced my steps back to the main road and continued north. In this process I somehow missed SH38 and still have no idea how I never saw it (not sure if I perhaps went under or over maybe) but I ended up going north on sealed roads for another half hour before seemingly exiting the forest onto a public road. At the cross roads two roads were forestry, one looked like it descended into gravel so I took the paved option as it was already 1500 and I had to be home in Auckland by the end of the day.

I passed Lake Rerewhakaaitu and found SH5 and evaluated my options, trying to find a nice route north that didn’t consist entirely of state highway that I’ve done plenty of times before. Eventually, the best option seemed to be to head south briefly, onto Waikite Valley Rd and head west to SH30. Entering Waikite Valley Rd there was some confusion with a camper van which I tried to give way to, as I was turning right into the side road, but they kept looking at me, so I went anyway. I figured I’d need to overtake them anyway, so why not straight away, so gave them a friendly wave and disappeared out of sight.

The road was excellent fun, definitely one to do again. SH30 led to SH1, expected but not entirely welcome and I still wanted some more back roads. SH1 was busy and I eventually remembered it was because the V8’s had been on in Hamilton. Urgh, more cars than normal and I was in no mood to be stuck amongst it. At Kinleith I jumped off the highway and found the beginning of Old Taupo Rd for the first time and did the entire length north. The sun was getting low as it was 1630, but other than a bit of sunstrike, I always seem to click with the road and really enjoyed the run through.

You can link up Old Taupo with Horahora Rd which takes you back up to SH1 but at least you’ve avoided a large chunk of highway not to mention the three towns of Tokoroa, Putaruru and Tirau. I took a final break in a rest area on Horahora Rd, which is part of a walking trail of the river. It sounds very interesting but I think I’ll keep my bike thanks. I knew from here I could go non-stop to Auckland, so yep, still loving the large range of the fuel tank! I’ve done SH29 and SH27 quite a lot this year already so for a change I took the traditional bypass at Cambridge of 1B. Bar one stupid woman who wanted to ignore everyone letting her into the side street the bypass was nice and quiet.

Complete contrast in fact, to SH1 when I rejoined at Taupiri. The V8 traffic was terrible and we crawled to Huntly. Searching the GPS knowledge in desperation and taking the cue of another bike I ducked down the back roads of Huntly, across the river and went north on the west bank while presumably everyone crawled along SH1. The shortcut rat run ends at Rangiriri and this was where the plan fell apart a bit. The bike I’d taken a cue off in Huntly had had the exact same idea as me to rejoin at Rangiriri, except now we were stuck behind a few cars that couldn’t pull out onto SH1 because of the traffic.

The biker in front started to try and go down the left but perhaps thought better because of a berm and pole. No such problem for an adventure bike so I ducked left, mounted the berm, dodged the pole and rolled up to the front of the line. With a car towing a trailer, he was never going to pull out any time soon, so I waited for a small gap in the traffic, used the hard shoulder to get up to traffic speed and was away. Have I mentioned I love bikes?

The run up SH1 needs no writing really. Traffic flowed well as it was almost immediately dual carriageway and I sat on the speed limit and returned home around 1900. With over 1000km on the clock since Saturday morning, plenty of grins and many new roads explored, I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend!


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  1. gijoe1313's Avatar
    The usual thrills, no spills - just some good riding! you should post up piccies of the road maps marking your travels.
  2. Gremlin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by gijoe1313
    you should post up piccies of the road maps marking your travels.
    The only problem is that some roads don't exist in google maps, so it makes it hard to "make a route"