Day 09 – Luggate to Nevis Crossing

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We packed up early in the morning and headed into Wanaka, but the weather was looking bleak.

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Around 11:30am, we headed towards Cromwell, but the rain kept threatening to give us a good wash.

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Cromwell welcomes its visitors with a display of large, colourful fruit. Notice also the yellow flowers on the hills.

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We wandered around Cromwell’s “old town”, and then had lunch at the Victoria Hotel.  Notice the yellow flowers that growing all over the hills.

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We then headed for the Nevis Crossing via the Carricktown track.  This track was quite gnarly in places, especially one the rain caught up with us. We got Peter, an experienced rider with a much lighter bike, to assist by giving Rebecca a ride over some of the really difficult sections.  Our fully loaded bike was just too heavy to up the hills two-up.

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Yes, Victoria found a way to dropping her bike on the rocks after the rain set in.

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We were absolutely soaked when we reached the top (and freezing cold, as we were above 1200 meters altitude for a long time).  We met up with the rest of the gang in the Dodge (who had come up the normal Nevis Road).

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We put up the tents in the rain, only to find that the sun came out 20 minutes later.  It was a very welcome sight, as we were all freezing cold.

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Rebecca and I went swimming in the cold river.  It was very refreshing.

We also had top food – this really wasn’t camping.  It was more like eating in a 5 star hotel!

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For the rest of the afternoon, the weather kept changing.

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It was a quiet, but cold new years eve.  Rebecca and I went to bed long before midnight. While we were warm in our sleeping bags, it was freezing cold outside.  The next morning we saw why – it had snowed on the hills nearby!

Day 08 – Day Trip – Crown Range, Queenstown, Skippers

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We really enjoyed our first night at Luggate, and so we decided to stay put another night and just do a day trip.

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Soon after leaving the camp ground, we saw these sky divers near the Wanaka Airfield.

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We drove through Wanaka and headed for Queenstown via the Crown Range.  Along the way we saw a place that had all sorts of interesting vehicles, including monster trucks.  They also had lots of different animals.

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We then proceeded past the famous Cardrona Hotel, and on over the pass.

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The Crown Range is the highest sealed road in New Zealand.

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Views of Queenstown from the Crown Range.

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The road is pretty windy, but great for motorbikes … though it was a tad cold.

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View of The Remarkables coming into Queenstown.

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Rebecca and I found a nice Indian Restaurant and used the 3G coverage available in Queenstown to update our web site and do e-mail.  We stayed there for 3.5 hours, before finally departing for Skipper’s Canyon.

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En route, we stopped at the Shotover river, a favourite for jet boats, rafting and all sorts of water sports.

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The nearby landscape is very beautiful also.

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The view from the road heading up Coronet Peak was absolutely stunning (I may stitch these four photos together into a panorama sometime).

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The view heading into Skipper’s Canyon.

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All that is left of the once famous Welcome Home Hotel.

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The road had treacherous drop offs in many places – but stunning views with the river below.

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If you look carefully, you can see where the road cuts through the rock on the left hand side of the picture.

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Astounding beauty … a read really worth travelling.

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Superb Scenery.  Notice the building in the forest?  It is a school.

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Here is a close-up on the school.

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More pictures of the road, the scenery and the Bridal Veil (name of the waterfall).

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A visitor center.

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The school in all its glory.

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The bridge on the way to the school.

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Final scenery shots as we head back to Queenstown.  Yes, it was cold once the sun disappeared.

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And The Remarkables in the light of the setting sun.

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The TSS Earnslaw.  Little did we realise that only three days later we would be on that ship with our motorbike.

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We found a Thai Restaurant with a view over the lake, and watched the sun set on the Remarkables while enjoying our food.  We finally returned to Luggate via Cromwell by 11pm.

Day 07 – Thomsons Gorge to Luggate

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After breakfast we took a ride up a farm track to the top of the mountains by our campsite.  It was spectacular, with beautiful mountain ranges in the distance all the way around.

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Right near the top we came across a herd of sheep.

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The view of our camp site from a nearby hill.

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As I reached the camp site and was just about stopped, I slid on the grass a little and dropped the bike – every so gently!

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I picked it up, and headed across the creek.

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Some gold prospectors came just as we were ready to leave the camp site. They set up about 300 meters up the creek from where we were. Apparently they found about an ounce the day before.

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This area is full of old gold mines – a great area to explore.

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An old stamping machine.

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View over the valley.

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Welshtown was once a gold mining town, but is now just ruins.

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Hanging at the top of the world.  Phew, that was a close call.

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Bridge over the Clutha river – very beautiful.  And the water was a nice shade of light blue due the minerals that come from the mountains.

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We set up camp, and then went for a swim in a very cold creek.

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Day 06 – Hakataramea Pass to Thomsons Gorge

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As can be seen by the map above, we started the day at high altitude (Hakataramea Pass), and finished at high altitude (Thomsons Gorge), and in the middle we passed over the Danseys Pass.

We took the bike through a river and, while it wasn’t deep, water somehow splashed onto the spark plugs and the stalled.  Yes, that is water coming out of the boot.  Our friendly mechanic applied some CRC and we were rolling again within minutes.

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We stopped for fuel in Kurow – it appears it was peak time for fuelling vehicles.

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Lots of historic buildings in town.

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Maori art was on the rock face by the side of the road.

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You can see the bird in the right picture.

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Stunning scenery heading into Danseys Pass.

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Lunch at Danseys Pass Hotel.

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Peter providing moral support to Evan, who had to change a front tyre.

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Historic Buildings in Naseby.

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We arrived in St Bathans, and Peter got comfortable reading the map.

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Amazing little town with its own, man made, lake!

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Zoomed in to the right side of the lake.

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And then heading into Thomsons Gorge.

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And another campsite in the middle of nowhere.

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Day 05 – Cave to Hakataramea Pass

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We packet up early and made our way to Timaru Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church.  Despite the fact that we took over the library with our motorcycle clothes, and despite the fact that we didn’t have any good church clothes (or normal shoes), we were welcomed unreservedly.

We had a great church service, and stayed for lunch in the hall downstairs.  A nice surprise was the fact that Ben met a student from Pacific Adventist University who there visiting their parents.

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After lunch we headed west,through spectacular farmland to the Hakaramatea Pass.

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These photos were taken at the McKenzie high country, and shows the backdrop to which most of this trip takes place – stunning, snow covered alps.

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At the top of the pass.

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There were always lots of gates to open, as stock are grazed here in summer.  And the snowy alps are a backdrop once again.

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Doesn’t this look like the perfect camp site – we thought so too.

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The crystal clear stream was a little chilly though.

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Our campsite for the night – no-one around for miles.

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Day 04 – Rangiora to Cave

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We left Rangiora around mid-day, and headed to Cave, a small town in Canterbury, via the scenic route.  This took us past Lake Coleridge.

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The Power Station at Lake Coleridge.P1020707

There was a strong wind blasting the river – in the photo below you can see the dust being whipped up from the river bed in the distance.

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We arrived in Cave and asked a farmer if we could camp in his paddock.

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Next to the paddock was a beautiful, privately owned, church.

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There were huge mushrooms in the paddock, and the temptation to cook them was just too great.  However, they ended up not being for eating, as they were riddled with maggots.

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Day 03 – Rangiora

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Having had a wonderful rest staying in a house with friends, the first agenda for the day was to fix the rear seal.  Peter and Evan had a great time fitting the new seal.

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Then it was off to the river bank, to give the bike a little workout and make sure that all is well.  The R1200GS is a little bit heavy for this kind of riding, but without the panniers, it was a lot of fun.

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Peter even managed to get himself stuck on a steep incline, as he hadn’t taken enough run-up.  The bike was just too heavy to make it up without assistance, as it was all loose stones.

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Day 02 – Molesworth Station to Rangiora

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The washing Rebecca had done the night before was still not dry, so we put it on a clothesline and hung it up in the Dodge camper to dry while travelling.

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We returned to Hanmer Springs via Jollies Pass.

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Once we got into Hanmer Springs, we saw this snow vehicle.

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We rode up the dirt road beside the Hanmer Springs bridge, and the scenery was stunning.

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We stopped at a farm in route to Rangiora.

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Rebecca and I then headed down to Christchurch for a quick detour, as the rear seal on the final drive was starting to leak.  We arrived at the BMW dealer at 4:00pm, and were lucky that he had the seal in stock.  However, as it was Christmas Eve, his workshop staff had already taken off for their holidays.  The dealership was going to close at 5:00pm, and not reopen till the 5th of January.  We were very fortunate to get the part!  We decided to fit it ourselves the next day.

Day 01 – Picton to Molesworth Station

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The day started early.  We were going to get up at 1:15am, so that we could get to the ferry by 2:00am.  However, when we got up, we found out that the ferry was delayed by at least one hour, so we went back to sleep for another hour – this was great, as most of us didn’t make it to bed till around midnight!

We arrived at the ferry right on 3:00am, but were advised that it probably won’t sail till 4:30am.  So we stood around talking to the other passengers.

The ferry finally departed just a few minutes before 5:00am.  Here we are waiting for the ferry, and then tying down the bikes once aboard.

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It was just starting to dawn as we headed out the harbour.  The photos below were taken at the same time, facing Wellington and then facing the sunrise.  In fact, you can see the reflection of the second photo in the windows of the large building in the first photo.

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Notice the moon between the smokestacks on the ferry?

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Peter trying to get some sleep on the floor of the ferry.

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Beautiful scenery passing through the sounds.

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Arriving in Picton.

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This is the scenery within five minutes of leaving the ferry.

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Breakfast in the park.

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It was quite cool, as there was still snow on the nearby hills.

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The sea had beautiful colour.

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There were lots of seals swimming in the sea.

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Close-up of Peter … notice the snow on the mountains in the background.

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The scenery is absolutely stunning.

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At beautiful Hanmer Springs.

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We rode out the back of Hanmer over the …. pass, and ended up at the start of the Molesworth Station, where we camped for the night.  It was a very beautiful spot.  The water was quite warm, but the night was very cold.

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