Spaceship KEZ-Bro, Warp Factor Slow.

By Will.

Day 33, Thursday, 4th of May, Auckland to Coromandel via Thames, 173kms in Spaceship Van.

Hi everyone, I’m back on board wiljen’s Adventures, on & off for the next couple of weeks. Jenny & I will take it in turns alternating the blog post every 2-3 days.

Two Days, 408kms, approximately 7-8hrs driving time. Slow going on these winding roads.

I have been moonlighting over at Advrider Forum, trying something different. I’ve been writing a “Ride Report” , they are quite strict with their RR criteria & the focus is suppose to be solely about Adventure Motorcycle Riding only.
So since we are driving “The Kiwi Spaceship” that we have christened “KEZ-Bro”.
I’m having a break from the Advrider RR for a couple of weeks. Here is the link to that report  Mid-Life Blues; Lets Go Riding, first up Australia.

Ok let’s start with our first full day in En Zed. May the 4th, 173kms that took about 4 hours to drive. From Auckland to Coromandel.

Wow we felt so much better after a decent sleep in the Miniature Hut at Remuera Motor Lodge, the mattress on the bed was pretty average but we were so tired neither of us cared. It did rain a bit during the night but when we got up just before 8am the sun was out & it was quite pleasant. After our usual routine, Jenny, me & Spaceship KEZ-Bro took to the narrow, twisty Kiwi roads.

Mini Hut in Auckland, it served a purpose, glad too go. Had to rename Becky Beetle to “Bicky” .

Getting out of Auckland wasn’t too bad and we spent a lot of our time following the Coast around to Coromandel. Initially we followed the East Coast Hwy via Whakatiwai, Kaiaua & then around to Thames. Along the way we had to negotiate numerous (at least 4 big slips, originating from Cyclone Debbie) land slides that Road Work Crews were busy clearing, now that was interesting & slightly concerning to a couple of Straya Animals.

Slipping & sliding through the remanants of a land slide caused by Cyclone Debbie, from a couple of weeks earlier.

The highlight of our day was the amazing drive along Highway 25 from Thames to Coromandel Town. It is only 55kms but hugs the coast so closely that the sea spray from the waves crashing on the rocks was often splashing onto the road. It took well over 1 hour to drive this section of road engineering marvel.

Coffee Break on a pebble beach.
Note the REGO plate, re: the name of our van, KEZ-Bro….Lunch Break, oh there are rules but do they apply ?
Highway 25 along the coast between Thames & Coromandel Town
The road to Coromandel is quite spectacular & hairy.
Following one of New Zealand’s famous House Trucks down into Coromandel Town.
Coromandel Town Top 10 camp ground, all paid up.

At 3pm we reached Coromandel Town, it is neat & attractive, I walked a return trip of about a kilometre to pick up some supplies. Tomorrow we continue after a bit of a squizz around town we will continue south & stop in to see Jenny’s Uncle, Auntie & Cousin who live near Papamoa (Tauranga).

DAY 34, 5/05/17, Friday, Coromandel to Papamoa (near Tauranga) 234kms.

Boats all “Gunk Holed” at Coromandel Port.

Whoa …. make it stop !! The Kiwi’s don’t know how to build a straight road, we twist & turn on numerous corners & switch backs. The roads are covered with Yellow signs specifying 45 km/h, 35km/h & 25km/h , plus they are not joking about those advised speeds. Jenny had found us a “great” short cut over the mountains from Coromandel Town to Hot Water Beach. Yet another doozy, 20kms of single lane tight, windy gravel road. Shit I don’t think we are even allowed to take the Spaceship KEZ-Bro on the dirt, she is slammed low with skirts & spoilers designed to hug the bitumen only, not for gravel road grading…Starting to see our “bond” slipping away into the ocean like a NZ road during an earthquake !!!

Waiau Falls, that we found on the gravel back road.


20kms of dirt back road, actually ok but it took us nearly an hour.

We pottered along the dirt track between 20-30km/h relatively unscathed but dirtier. Hot water beach was nice, but we were in no mood to dig our own spa & lay in scalding 65C water. After a quick look I drove on for another 30 minutes, then started to get a severe case of the sleepies . For the first time on this trip (including across Aus.). I could no longer keep my eyes open. I’m experienced enough to recognise the symptoms now, have the tricks & knowledge to push on if required but am smart enough to hand over the driving to my better half. No soon had Jenny taken over the wheel & I was out cold, snoring contently.

Hot Water Beach, dig your own hot pool/spa.
At a rest stop these two Wild Biddies came running at us, got the hell out of there quick smart.

The first of Jenny’s “Relo’s” to deal with team wiljen was Uncle David, we call him Dave these days. As we pulled into his driveway he tried to shoo us away, in good humour of course. Anne his partner rocked up soon after, we had a big chat & then headed over to Jenny’s cousin Aaron’s place, where we are staying tonight. Aaron, Cindy & their children are great company & took us out for dinner at the Pap Pub.
This was the first time Jenny or I have ever met Aaron (he is a similar age to us, West Aussie Numbats) & as per usual with the people we meet, has had an extremely interesting life, like living in the USA illegally for 15 years. That’s just the start…

Stopped at Dave & Anne’s place near Tauranga.

Tomorrow we are going boating with Jenny’s Uncle Dave, should be fun. I still remember him taking me out water skiing on the Waikato River, 24 years ago & nearly drowning me…”She’ll be Right Mate” !

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