25th May 2017
Tutukaka to Kerikeri 180kms
What a ride! One of the best we’ve had. So many turns, hills and beautiful bays. To start the day, we finished off our splurge by heading downstairs for a nice breakfast with real coffee. Very nice. It was looking like another gorgeous autumn day, with sunshine and no wind. All packed and loaded, we headed off toward Matapouri, and a great view of Sandy Bay. The road was great fun for any pillion. Will, well he had to concentrate, but was loving every minute. Bugger all traffic, and superb riding.
Load the route, then check out the bays. Matapouri Bay was stunning.
Turning away from Sandy Bay, up and over some stunning hills, we turned off onto another good gravel road, to try a short cut, and more interesting road, through to Helena Bay. Somehow, just for a change, we missed our turn, and ended up going through Opuawhanga, and back to highway one. Not to worry, just a very short distance and we need to turn right onto Russell road. That should have been simple, not even a Maori name, but fuck me, we missed it. The signage is a bit obscure. We saw a sign for Oakura Bay, but we were looking for Helena Bay. Adjust plan, and take the next right, Puhipuhi road (I’m giving you the name so you know what road not to take). It started off fine, good sealed road, great view of the valley, but soon turned into narrow sealed, then narrow gravel, then fucking goat track. Holy cow, I’m getting a bit worried. Google shows it, but we’ve missed another turn, so we need to turn around! This track was steep, and loose, and I had to get off. Poor Will, had to wrestle the big BMW beast around, with a little push from me, and then we could backtrack to turn onto Teatree road, which turned into someone’s driveway. Oh, for goodness sakes, Google! A driveway?
First short cut had good gravel, the next one turned nasty after these pics. Too busy to take pictures of the rotten stuff.
After quite a bit of cursing, and grumbling, we went all the way back to highway one, and got ourselves onto Russell road, which went to Helena Bay, Oakura Bay, and Russell, in that order! Once cooled down from the drama, we really enjoyed the ride, as it was amazingly scenic. We stopped in Oakura Bay for a leg stretch and a coffee break. It was stunning.
So many of these gorgeous bays. Great spot for coffee and Teryaki chicken crackers.
The rest of the ride to Russell (Okiato for our ferry) was fantastic. Great bays and inlets, as we wound around, and over the hills, and we felt like we were in motorbike heaven. What a beautiful coastline. Rugged, with so many little bays of white sand and blue water. The weather was ideal, and with very little traffic, we felt no pressure to go too fast.
Will’s focused on the turns, but I’m snapping away and annoying him with “Wow, wow, wow”.
Almost all the farms had a variety of old vehicles. Some were lived in, some were just left to rot. We also enjoy the bunches of letterboxes of different styles.
Finding the ferry was simple, and there was one just departing as we arrived, so we just waited a whole ten minutes, and then were first on. For a merger $5.50 they carried us across the inlet to Opua. What a cute little place with a magic view. From here, it was a pretty easy run past Paihia (looks like a tourist hot spot for sure), and onto highway 10, through to Kerikeri. Will has a step brother here, who we had not yet met, so to continue the relo catch up theme, we had contacted him (via his wife), and planned to stay with them. Only, with the phone on Aussie roaming, our communications were a bit delayed, and messages didn’t get received in time, so we booked into the Kerikeri Holiday Park, in a cabin, bought some food to cook, and settled in. After several attempts at ringing, we got through, and arranged to stay the next night. Nerve racking stuff this meeting new family members.
The ferry ride is cheap for bikes, but not so much for big vehicles.
Settled in Kerikeri, trying to communicate with the family. Frustrating delays.
26th May 2017. Kerikeri 25kms
While here, we might as well check out some of the sights, before finding Vinny and Teresa’s place. After googling the town, and crossing off the first two items (furniture making, and candy store) which didn’t really have any insight into the town, we rode out to The Stone Store, which is the oldest remaining stone building in town, from 1836. There was also a replica Maori village display there, so that sounded interesting. As we arrived in the car park, a mass of “Cocks” of all sizes and shapes, came bursting from the bushes. Heading straight for us, what a terrifying sight! Will got such a fright, he dropped his rivita cracker, which set them into a frenzy. Just stand still Will, hopefully they won’t notice you. Luckily, just as they finished pecking the crap out of the cracker, another car pulled up, and the cock flock raced off in their direction.
Feral buggers even break into cars and rob you hey?
This is crazy, cocks gone wild! Unfortunately, the Maori village was closed for the winter, as was the cafe, so we checked out the old stone building, and enjoyed a nice walk along the river. With the roosters all occupied with some backpackers, we took off to have a look at Rainbow falls. Just a few kilometres out of town, and a short 100mtr walk, it was pretty spectacular. We sat and enjoyed the peace for a little while, and decided to go into town for a nice coffee and some lunch.
It was a nice warm day, a little overcast. Great autumn colours.
I could imagine how good it would be towards the end of winter. Thundering!
It is a nice little town, and pretty busy. Lots of fruit growing, and therefore needing to be picked, so lots of backpackers and seasonal workers. While we enjoyed watching people and our coffees, Will noticed a barber across the road, so went to see if they could do,anything about his adventure beard. $20 and ten minutes late, he looked like a new man. He wanted to make a good impression when he met Vinny and Teresa. They live a little bit out of town, but it was easy to find, and although Vinny was working, Teresa was home with their two daughters (2 and newly born). All I can say, is again, how wonderfully welcoming and accepting they were. We really enjoyed talking with them, and finding out about their lives and stories. They have a fantastic property, two gorgeous girls, and a great life work balance. Another amazing people experience.
Behind me is the Barber, and Vinny and Teresa are renovating the old shearer she quarters. Looks great so far.