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Gremlin's Tall Stories

Raglan to Kawhia – Exploring (31/12/2015)

Rating: 3 votes, 5.00 average.
Well I never got as far as Kawhia, but I digress when the blog has barely begun.

The plan was to base myself out of Raglan for Christmas-New Year break, tracking all the roads for accuracy for the open source maps and generally enjoy going down every road and see where it took me. Raglan to Kawhia would normally take around 1-1.5 hours and about 50km, with a lot of that being gravel and slow going – especially if a graded had just been through.

I’ve only done the route once before, on my KTM 990SM and indeed the grader had been busy and it was hard going on road biased tyres and 17 inch rims. Doing every road in between, I had no idea if I’d ever get as far as Kawhia as I didn’t know what I’d encounter, how tough it might get and when you’re doing every road, time passes with minimal km covered.

The weather forecast looked ominous, with severe weather watches coming so I knew my time was limited and I wouldn’t get the several days of exploring I had planned.

I headed south from Raglan on New Years Eve around midday and simply headed along the coast. I was in a pile of traffic, but by the time I hit the gravel I was alone with everyone turning off for something. The initial gravel was very narrow and winding, and to recommend this road as a touring route for tourists… mmm probably not the best idea.

Still, once I got out from the forest and it opened out, I got treated to the views I was hoping for

From there I dropped down to the coast several times for beach access roads to find more people.

Not what I was after I continued until I found the first intersection that went back to tar. Now I had more decisions to make. Namely, to try and run the roads in the order I had roughly planned, to try and cover them all without too much back tracking.

Some cows in a field seemed quite taken with a very large chook chaser visiting them.

I swung past Bridal Veil falls on Kawhia Rd, but with the temperature in the high 20s I didn’t feel too motivated to be walking in full gear and instead wanted some gravel and mapping errors. Kawhia Rd had been closed previously due to a slip and there were several sets of No Exit signs at the northern end with a road closed orange sign at the southern end… except the road was quite passable. However, the open source maps did have this all tagged as sealed, which it definitely wasn’t.

The BMWOR forum has a thread for abandoned buildings, so I couldn’t pass up this one

During my exploring I was a bit doubtful that a piece of road I was on was actually public, but at that point I was finding some farm buildings and a farmer comes racing around the corner towards me on his bike. There is just a slight contrast between his singlet, shorts and sunnies to my full Revit outfit, boots and helmet, but we trade a few words, I enquire about the terrain and he asks me how I find such a large bike on the roads. I explain that his will float over terrain much better than mine, and I have to deal with wheel spin at 100kph but horses for courses and it can do other stuff as well.

I find Tipperary somewhere in the back country, so contrary to what my mother taught me… it actually isn’t a long way after all…

I found myself back on seal and heading into Raglan a bit too early for my liking but it was a nice view for sure

I went down the road until it turned to 50kph (near the golf course) and then swung a u-turn as that section of sealed road is pretty mint indeed Heading back into the gravel and I’m starting to get a little too comfortable. I know I can’t exit corners in first and open the throttle unless I want the two ends of the beemer wanting to negotiate their respective locations… and quickly at that. 2nd is better but won’t last too long and I need to short shift to 3rd. If the road is a little more open and I don’t have a corner to slow for, then wheel spin continues through 3rd and into 4th if I’m game for it and by now I’m starting to approach 100kph.

Hanging off the bike to try and keep it going in the correct direction is fun, but I’m reminded this is no dirt bike when I accidentally back it into one corner and suddenly it feels like a quarter of a ton again.

So in the end, only 180km ish of exploring taking me about 6-7 hours but I put the ride firmly in the “Fuck Yeah” category having thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. While I can have days of hundreds of kilometres, I equally enjoy poking my nose down a road and seeing where it goes.

Later that evening there was even a stunning sunset so here’s a bonus pic

Finally, since it’s New Years Eve (and Happy New Year all you crazy buggers that read my occasional ramblings) Raglan puts on a fireworks display, so here’s a couple of the best I managed. Here’s to another awesome year of riding in 2016!



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Comments

  1. tri boy's Avatar
    Next time your heading out/around that way, PM me or Dino, or MXnut.
    Theres a few areas off the gravel that are worth checking out.

    ie, where that old house is, you can head across the paddocks, through a couple of low creek crossings and back out onto the road.
  2. Gremlin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by tri boy
    Next time your heading out/around that way, PM me or Dino, or MXnut.
    Theres a few areas off the gravel that are worth checking out.

    ie, where that old house is, you can head across the paddocks, through a couple of low creek crossings and back out onto the road.
    Haha, nice. I'll keep it in mind, but no idea when I'll next be there. I assume you're tank friendly then

    I do want to get a bit further south, Makomako Rd for example is a dead end, but open maps have it as sealed when I'm pretty certain it isn't. However, if the category is off, is the alignment out as well. By leaving it as sealed it's a reminder to check it, and then I correct everything at once.
  3. JATZ's Avatar
    You certainly covered a bit of ground in your 6-7 hrs wandering There's some top riding south of Kawhia too, as your probably aware
  4. Gremlin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JATZ
    You certainly covered a bit of ground in your 6-7 hrs wandering There's some top riding south of Kawhia too, as your probably aware
    Something south of Kawhia? It's one of the dangers of it being relatively local (<2 hrs riding time). You figure, hey, I've got time to get it sometime and then spend most of your time dreaming of the South Island.

    Speaking of which, I'll explore that for 10 days in a week... Just booked ferry and accommodation today. 4 nights in Chch (partly work), 3 nights in Westport, 2 in Nelson and then one final one in Picton before jumping the ferry again...

    I'll be doing this one a little differently, driving the van down with BMW and mountain bike on board, then doing a bit of each along the way. I might even try leaving the kitchen sink at home...
  5. JATZ's Avatar
    Well if your in Nelson and have nothing to do you could check out this place >> http://www.kaiteriterimtbpark.org.nz/ it seems popular judging by the number of bikes I see trundling through town strapped to racks. There's plenty of riding over Hira way too.
  6. Gremlin's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by JATZ
    Well if your in Nelson and have nothing to do you could check out this place >> http://www.kaiteriterimtbpark.org.nz/ it seems popular judging by the number of bikes I see trundling through town strapped to racks. There's plenty of riding over Hira way too.
    Yeup, that's one possibility. On the Wednesday I leave, I either head to Kaiteriteri then Picton, or, on the way to Picton drop by Anakiwa and do a piece of the Sounds trail. This one holds more appeal as I'd also be putting the trail on the map, as the open maps don't have any of it yet...

    Tuesday is motorbike adv riding roads around Mot Valley, Cobb and Takaka...
  7. gijoe1313's Avatar
    I buzzed out and around Raglan via SH22 today for some fush n'chups from the local bakery/takeaway place. I thought of the off-roady stuff you did and it reminded way back when I did some of it!

    Was good to get the preddy out for a spin ... been over two years since I rode out that way!