Day 14 – Oputama to Gisbourne

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Elevation Profile

We woke up the next morning, and the rain that had been forecast for many days materialised. However, we were fortunate that the next stop was at a friends house in Gisbourne, and that we were able to pack up almost everything relatively dry. The tent was a little wet, as a shower came over at the last minute.

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As we left Oputama, the weather looked like it was going to spare us. P1020633

However, on the way to Gisbourne, the rain really was heavy. We arrived at our friends place completely soaked.

Day 13 – Hastings to Oputama

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Elevation Profile

We got up early the next morning, because the friend at whose house we were staying drives trucks and was doing a run up to Gisbourne. As we were going the same way, Rebecca decided to take a ride in the truck.

I left about 15 minutes after Rebecca, and did a quick trip up Temata Peak to get some shots of the sun rising over Hawkes Bay. I also had to fuel up, but my aim was to catch up with Rebecca by the time she got to Wairoa. When I got to the service station in Havelock North, they were still shut. So I headed up to Temata Peak first.

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Hastings being illuminated by the first rays of sunshine.

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It was fairly clear – I could see as far as the Mahia Peninsular.

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After my descent I fuelled up and then headed towards Wairoa.

Meanwhile, Rebecca was enjoying her ride in the truck.

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While I didn’t quite manage catch Rebecca before she got to Wairoa, as I didn’t want to get any speeding tickets – though I did enjoy the windy road. I arrived about 5 minutes after Rebecca arrived, to find my friend just having started to unload the truck.

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Rebecca really needs to grow a little if she wants to make riding in the truck a regular occurrence.

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This is the lighthouse and bridge at Wairoa.

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And a couple of shots of the truck.

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Loading at Nuhaka.

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We took our gear out of the truck at this point, and parted ways. The truck headed up to Gisbourne, and we went to Oputama. The Mahia Peninsular was looking at its best.

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We camped on the site leased by the Napier Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is a beautiful spot under large pine trees.

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After we pitched our tent, we went for a ride to Mahia and a little bit inland on the Peninsular.

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The peninsular has a stunning coastline.

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It also has some interesting rock formations on the coast.

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Towards the evening we headed to Nuhaka to have some dinner. We saw this fire engine creating a great waterslide for the kids.

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Day 12 – Hastings and Napier

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Elevation Profile

Early in the morning, Rebecca went for a walk. This photo shows Temata Peak in the distance.

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We went to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Napier, and caught up with lots of friends whom we hadn’t seen in many years.

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After church we drove into the heart of Napier and had a relaxing lunch in one of the many cafes. Art Deco is a key attraction for tourists.

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Later in the afternoon we went up to Temata Peak. This is a “must visit” location for anyone passing through the Hawkes Bay.

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The ride is simply stunning.

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Looking at the road coming up the hill, with Hastings in the background.

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The hills facing south-west have great character.

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One of the many wineries in the Hawkes Bay.

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There is significant pressure to keep New Zealand GE (Genetically Engineered crop) free. This farmer obviously supports the stance.

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And a few more shots of taken from the road heading back down to the plain.

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Day 11 – Castlepoint to Hastings

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Elevation Profile

We slept in a little, and had a breakfast sitting at beach overlooking the lighthouse.

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We choose back roads as much as we could, which included some stretches of not so good gravel roads. For the most part, however, the roads were nicely maintained and windy. Great motorcycling country.

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We had a great lunch in the pub at Pongaroa – unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures. The food was excellent and not expensive. Anyone passing through here should stop for a meal.

I had been wanting to visit the place with the longest name in the world for some time, and on this trip I finally managed to do so. It is the name of a mountain: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.

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This is the mountain.

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We took the back road out of Porongahau, and the steep climb was definitely worth it. The sea view from the top of the range was stunning.

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We arrived at our friends place in Hastings just in time for dinner.

Day 10 – Wellington to Castlepoint

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Elevation Profile

The days started looking pretty grim for travel. There was lots of rain, and very dark clouds.

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The wind was living up to Wellington’s reputation. As we went into the city, there were several motorbikes that had been pushed over by the wind!

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Rebecca spent about three hours in the library doing some research, so I went window shopping. By mid day, the weather had improved somewhat, but the wind was still strong. As we were heading over the Rimutaka mountain range, the wind was so strong in gusts that we thought we were going to come off on two occasions. One time we were riding around one of the hairpin corners at slow speed, but still leaning low due to our load, when a wind gust came and pushed us down even lower! We were very lucky not to fall off.

The cloud formations were very interesting.

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The mountains near Castlepoint are spectacular.

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When we arrived at the campground at Castlepoint, our first priority was finding a camping spot that was sheltered from the wind. And we were fortunate to find one!

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The view of the lighthouse from the campground.

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The cloud formations were still very unique.

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And the wind did not let up – just look at how the sand was flying along the beach. Luckily we were walking with the wind, not into it.

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More cloud photos.

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We walked out onto the rocks, where the cliff drops off what appears to be 20 or so meters into the sea. There was a huge swell, and it was great to watch. When we have been here on previous occassions, there were usually fishermen around. But this day it was very quite. There was just one other family that did a quick climb to the lighthouse.

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The lighthouse looked great from below the cliff.

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One of the reasons I love Castlepoint so much, is that the hill directly behind the lighthouse (on the peninsula) is so tall that the light from the lighthouse is at the same level as the top of the hill. Here Rebecca is standing on that hill, and when the light from the lighthouse rotated around, I took this photo (well, it took about 10 attempts to get the settings and timing right). We have been here in winter, where there has been a strong mist. This allowed us to make shadows on the clouds using the lighthouse as the light source. Lots of fun!

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Day 09 – Wellington

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Rebecca wanted to have a quick look through Te Papa, the museum that must not be missed when visiting Wellington. We have been there many times before, but it is still a great attraction after all these years.

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Our day in Wellington was spent visiting friends and relatives. We visited Sarah and Quentin (but forgot to take a photo, so the picture below is from our last trip), and were thrilled to see that they are now happily married. We also visited Jessica at home with her family. It is great to see that they are all doing so well.

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Day 08 – Taupo to Wellington via Wanganui

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Elevation Profile

We got up, had breakfast, took down the tent, packed up everything, and then went for another hot swim at the Waikato river.

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This ended up being one of the most sunny days of the whole trip – it was gorgeous. This picture was taken on state highway 47, just out of Turangi.

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We had lunch outside at the foothills of the Whakapapa ski field.

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The road from National Park to Wanganui is extremely scenic.

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This is a farming area, and the sheep in the next two photos were very audible from where we were. They were making a huge noise. I wonder how many there were? They just kept coming and heading for that one gate at the bottom right.

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We arrived in Wellington in the evening, just as one of the cruise ships was leaving. We stayed with our friends up on the hills in Newlands again. The views from the house are just spectacular.

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Day 07 – Taupo

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We got up early and headed down to the river to soak in the hot water. We were the first ones there – it was wonderfully peaceful.

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Soon after we arrived, the water level started rising very quickly. We presume that because it rained all night, they opened the flood gates on the lake.

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This is the view across the river.

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For dinner, we bought some treats and consumed them at edge of lake Taupo. But it was freezing cold – surely this is not summer!

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Day 06 – Maraetai to Taupo

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Elevation Profile

Sunday morning it was time for us to pack up and leave. However, I had charged my phone a couple of times, my camera battery, Rebecca’s camera battery, and then tried to charge the laptop. As a result, the battery was too flat to start the bike. We tried to push start it, but there wasn’t even enough charge to drive the electronic fuel injection.

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One of the downsides of the panniers we use is that the left one has to come off in order to remove the seats. And the battery is under the seat!

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It was almost mid-day by the time we finally left. We followed the back roads south, and met up with the main highway at Mangatawhiri. This section of road was made for motorbikes – it was windy scenic. And as it was Sunday, lots of other bikers were out and about.

We had lunch in Matamata, where the following picture was taken.

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The traffic before Taupo was atrocious. It was bumper to bumper, stop/start traffic from Wairakei all the way to he center of Taupo. Fortunately we were on a motorbike, as we were able to sneak through on the outside.

Once we set up our tent at the camp ground, we rode to the hot springs in the Waikato River for a relaxing swim. To identify the exact location of this free “hot pool”, zoom in on the map above near Taupo. Our track in Taupo makes a ‘Y’, and it is at the end of the top left end of the ‘Y’ (off County Avenue). I can’t recommend this place enough, as it allows you to choose really hot water (by sitting near where the water comes out of the ground), or completely freezing water (which is the Waikato river at any time of the year), or any other temperature in between. Rebecca likes her the warm water, while I oscillate between the really hot and really cold.

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Here you can see people sitting in the hot section to the far right of the picture.

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Day 05 – Maraetai

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The campsite is definitely a beautiful spot – so there was no need for us to leave the site all day. That also means no motorbike riding :-(.

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There are lots of farm animals to see.

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… and lots of ducks and birds.

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The mangroves looked great at high and low tide.

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Rebecca enjoying the outgoing tide.

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The walkway allows exploration of the area without leaving footprints.

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Our friend Micheal was threatening his brother to drop a wet ball – which he ended up doing before taking off in a great hurry.

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Yes, that was a new port hole in the campervan.

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You can’t escape the lotto advertising (click on the picture to see in more detail).

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As the sun was about to set, the camp manager put on a fire and provided marsh mallows for the children to cook.

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The evening was finished with games that went on till late.

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