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Thread: South Island safari -- days 7 to 9

  1. #1
    Join Date
    27th November 2003 - 12:00
    None any more
    Ngaio, Wellington

    South Island safari -- days 7 to 9

    The safari continues...

    More thoughts...
    -- Riding into Milford without panniers and tailbags was a great idea. If your accommodation won't store these for you, the Mobil station in Te Anau will.
    -- Why does Speights taste so much better the closer you get to Dunedin?

    Day 7: A no ride day. We did the Taeri Gorge Scenic Railway trip with Mrs H's brother and his partner. Bloody outstanding! Enough to make one consider procuring an adventure bike...

    Day 8: Dunedin to Te Anau. It was good to be back on the bikes again after a day's rest and recreation in Dunedin. A bit like most major SI centres, the traffic disappears a few km after the last speed limit sign, although in Dunedin's case this is the turnoff to the airport, which is quite a way out of town. I've always loved the gently rolling hills from Dunedin to Gore. In recent years the road markers have progressively applied increasing amounts of continuous yellow down the middle of this road -- some of it warranted but some frivolous. The green of Southland can only be marvelled at. Our neighbours had insisted on a photo opportunity outside Gore's new art gallery (yes, dear readers, the country music capital of NZ also has the best collection of Hoteres and other significant art works), so we obliged. A coffee stop at the Moth Cafe at Mandeville had also been recommended, and yes, it was most fine. For the uninitiated, this cafe adjoins the Mandeville "airport" which is the home of a vibrant and flourishing business that restores Tiger Moths and other similar aircraft. There were none flying during our stop but this is part of this venue's appeal. The cafe also houses an award-winning restaurant. The menu read splendidly, however the highway called... At Balfour the looming cloud got misty to a point where we stopped and donned our wets. Just as well, because by Lumsden it was drizzling heavily. But the good news was that we rode out of it by the time Mossburn rolled into view. The run from The Key down to Te Anau was magnificent -- just a bit of cloud around the tops, bright sunshine, woo hoo! And what a great road!

    Day 9: Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau - Manapouri - Five Rivers - Queenstown. The day dawned with a bit of low misty cloud around Te Anau, so wets were donned early as a precaution. As it happened we needed them more for warmth rather than water protection. The Milford Road is a must-do for bikers. Not only is it shit-hot fun to ride, the scenery is breathtaking and constantly changing. It starts with rolling sheep country, views of Lake Te Anau, through beech forest, alpine meadows, more beech forest, more lake views (Lakes Gunn and Fergus) before the alpine grandeur arrives in bulk. Snow-fed, bouldered mountain streams, clear clean air, and a road that goes ever onwards. The Homer Tunnel is 100km almost exactly in from Te Anau and had had lights installed the previous week. It was still a heartstopper -- it slopes downwards (significantly) towards Milford and is like a coalmine with a tarsealed floor. It's 1.2km long. Out the other end -- woo hoo! What a view! Concentrate on the next couple of downhill hairpins and the campervans and tour buses, not the awesome view... The cloud was down over the tops at Milford making it very moody. We couldn't see the top of Mitre Peak but it was still a special experience. 91 octane gas at $1.33 a litre is also a special experience! (A card-activated pump in here -- takes any card with a PIN) Mrs H's Marauder would have been running on fumes if we'd tried to do a round trip from Te Anau (Just over 240km there and back). Pies and coffees are at SI tourist rates. So are the sandflies!! The run back out to Te Anau was just as "wow" as the one in. We collected our luggage from the motel and set off on a scenic jaunt to Manapouri (taking time to blow a few cobwebs out of the bikes. Scenery and traffic didn't provide many opportunities to get over 100kmh on the Milford Road, even though it does have some long straights). The cloud had well and truly burned off by now and in bright afternoon sunshine we went into scenery overload for the run across to Lake Wakatipu and then round its scenic shores to Queenstown. A great sunset followed by some evening biking round the town before and after dinner. What a magic day. They don't get much better on a bike!!
    "Standing on your mother's corpse you told me that you'd wait forever." [Bryan Adams: Summer of 69]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    5th September 2003 - 12:00
    03 Ducati M800Si.e. 04 Ducati M1000Si.e.

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