I arrived in New Zealand at the end of November all fired up to buy a motorcycle and some camping equipment and then get out into the countryside as quickly as possible. The day after arriving I walked to the only motorcycle dealership I had found in Auckland. There was an older BMW F650GS, an older Kawasaki 250 and a 2011 Honda CBR250R to choose from. I wanted a smaller bike and the Kawasaki riding position was too much of a racing crouch with very narrow handlebars so I chose the Honda. Had I spent a bit more time in Auckland I may have got a better deal or a more suitable bike but I was keen to get out of the city and back on the road. The single cylinder Honda is a good bike but the riding position isnít perfect for me, I prefer to be more upright. A number of motorcyclists have complimented me on the raucous throaty roar of the aftermarket exhaust. I find it somewhat embarrassing but itís not worth changing as I will only have the bike for a few months. My current plan is to sell the bike when I leave New Zealand.
The inappropriately named Ninety Mile beach in Northlands near the northern tip of New Zealand is in fact ninety kilometres (fifty six miles) long. Vehicles are permitted and the sand is firm and smooth between the high and low tide lines although it was high tide when I was there; so I canít vouch for the firmness or smoothness of the beach personally. I wasnít particularly inclined to get my new (to me) motorbike covered in salt spray or risk an embarrassing off, the older I get the more and more I appreciate the qualities of paved roads! Signs say that hired vehicles are not allowed on the beach which should make it a motorhome (RV) free zone. Traffic is generally very light on New Zealandís roads but a high proportion of the traffic outside of the cities is made up of hired camper vans known locally as white ants because they crawl out of the holiday parks and travel in single file convoys.
Ninety Mile Beach In The Far North Of New Zealand
I never got to see Wellington as there was torrential rain for the two days I was there prior to catching the ferry to the south island. The campsite, like many in New Zealand had a kitchen and lounge area so there was at least good shelter from the rain.
Ferry Reversing Into Picton Harbour In The South Island
Arthurís Pass is the main route over New Zealandís Southern Alps between Christchurch on the east coast and Greymouth in the west. The road rises to an altitude of 920 metres (3000 feet) before dropping into Arthurís Pass Village then back to sea level on the west coast. I left Christchurch having plotted a route that took in two gravel road detours and with no particular destination in mind for somewhere to stay that night headed for the hills. Accommodation is easily found, for me that means a campsite or occasionally a hostel. The route out of Christchurch was interrupted by a number of diversions around closed roads that were being repaired following the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The severe structural damage to Christchurch looks like it will take many more years to repair.
I arrived from New Zealand into Melbourne to be greeted at the airport by my brother, Keith who has lived in Australia for more years than either of us cares to remember and my nephew, Reuben who is on his gap year between school and university. Reuben has travelled from his home in the UK via various European organic farms and is working in a gourmet cake kitchen in Melbourne. The free samples he brings home on a Friday makes him my current favourite nephew. It was a pleasurable but hectic change to be living amongst a boisterous young family instead of the peaceful solitude and tranquillity of travelling on my own. The plan was to buy another motorbike to travel around Australia.
Stunt Rider At the Australian Formula One GP
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