Rangi Krishnan

Tiki Tour North Island

27 May 2014
koru, Tokaanu, flounder, New Zealand

The Journey North

I needed to travel up north to Hamilton. The reason for going was to join the search and rescue effort to locate a beloved family member who had gone missing. However, that's a whole different story for another time. I took this opportunity to ride up. By the time I got back home, it all amounted to 1,394.9km which also included the running around I did while in Hamilton.

map of journey - click to enlarge


I planned on being on the road by about 10am on the Wednesday morning. It had been raining and my wife was concerned; happens as the grey hairs pile on. I promised her that I would take the car if it continued to rain. I had a few chores to do before I could leave and by the time I had completed them, it was about 1pm. The weather had come clear and the forecast all the way up north was fine. So I packed up the bike and finally hit the road about 1.30pm.

From Upper Hutt, I travelled up over the Haywards Hill onto the other side of the valley and made my way up north on state highway 1. The traffic was lean, the ride was smooth and the countryside and the smaller towns gently rolled on by. The view of the Tasman Sea on the left hand side was nothing short of spectacular as the weather just continued to improve. I finally stopped in Levin for a short break and a bite to eat. I had a lot of ground to cover and I wanted to be back on the road as soon as possible.

After leaving Levin, there were long stretches of road where the traffic was almost non-existent and I had the road to myself. My next break was going to be Taihape - Gumboot country. The road meandered inland towards the centre of the North Island with lots of farmland sliding by. Along the way, on a lonely stretch of road, I was waved down by a police officer. I pulled up and had barely put the stand down when he said I could go. "I thought you were pulling me over to check out my bike" I joked. He laughed. We chatted for a bit before he spotted his next customer coming towards him and I set off again. The officer had been checking the warrant of fitness status of vehicles and I had just had mine renewed the day before so things were cool.

along the desert road

After leaving Taihape, I headed for the Desert Road. Travelling along this stretch of road is almost like being on a different planet. The atmosphere is both calming and unsettling at the same time. It's a lot cooler at this elevation and there was a little bit of snow on the mountain for this time of the year. I really enjoyed this part of the ride.


Braxmere, Tokaanu
I managed to get to Turangi with about 40 minutes of daylight left. It was decision time: whether to keep going or pull stumps and find a place for the night. I decided on the latter. I had been riding for a few hours now and my bad neck was complaining.

I headed for a place along the Tokaanu road that I had perviously stayed at only to find it had shut down, so I headed back towards Turangi. Part way along the road I saw a sign for Braxmere accommodation some 3km from there. I had no idea about the state of the place or even if it still existed but I thought I'd ride out and see anyway. If it all turned to custard, I had my sleeping bag.

Braxmere turned out to be a beautifully set up restaurant and accommodation right on the water front. I was able to park my bike right outside my unit. Dinner and a beer first, then a long shower, then bed - I was cosy.

Taupo


The morning arrived bringing with it clear skies and plenty of warmth. I packed up and headed out to Taupo. I pulled up briefly to admire the scenery and couldn't resist taking a shot of the two seagulls perched on the posts. I went into town for a bacon and egg breakfast before making my way towards Hamilton.

I was meant to stay on state highway 1 but, for some reason, I took a left just outside of Taupo. My directional finder is almost non-existant so it's always an adventure. I didn't realise I was heading across country out towards Te Kuiti until I was already well down this track. As all roads lead to where I wanted to go, I stayed the course. The road was excellent, the scenery was beautiful and the ride was worth it. I finally arrived in Hamilton about midday, caught up with friends and family and joined the search and rescue effort.


The Journey South

Lake Karapiro


I decided to visit my old man, who lives out in Dannevirke, on the return journey. This time, I stayed on state highway 1 going through Cambridge, Putaruru and Tokoroa as I made my way to Taupo. The roads are excellent for riding a big bike and the scenery is forests on either side. Along the way, I stopped off at a spot overlooking Lake Karapiro. It's a really nice area and they do a lot of water sports here as you'd expect. Taupo does have a bypass but I prefer going into the town itself and riding along the lake waterfront. Further, it was midday by the time I got to Taupo and it was a good place to stop for lunch.

From Taupo, I headed out towards Napier on the coast. The scenery along this stretch is constantly changing and not in a boring way. The ride provided a good combination of twists and turns, sweeping bends and long streches.Napier I finally hit the coast and pulled over for a short break and to take in the sea air. It was really warm but also refreshing. There were plenty of others at the beach taking it all in.

I rode along the coast and headed into Napier itself. Going through Clive ensured that I was able to stay along the coast for as long as possible. From Clive, you start to head inland on long straight highways and past small towns.

I arrived in Dannevirke by about 3pm and spent the rest of the day at my dad's place.


lunch with dadThe weather was starting to pack up and I wasn't sure about tomorrow.

views from the top of the Rimutakas


The next day was overcast and threating rain in a big way but I wasn't in too much of a hurry. I stayed to have lunch at the Blackstump restaurant in the mighty metropolis of Dannevirke and then packed up and hit the road.

The rest of the ride was pretty easy going. I stopped at the top of the Rimutaka hills and took some shots. There used to be a cafe here at one time but that's long gone now. I could feel the weather squeezing to get the water out and there was a little bit of spitting here an there. I was almost home.

I finally arrived home by 3pm and just as I parked the bike in the shed, the heavens opened up in a big way. Timing is everything - not that I had anything to do with it. Ride safe people.


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