NZ-Pt.4, Dunedin to Picton

15 Nov
2015
baldbacktire
Not much of this tire left. It actually did pretty good though, when you consider all highway mileage.

Well T.J. Watt Womens Jersey today is day twenty-five in NZ and I’ve only driven 6400 km so far. But, as mentioned in Pt. 3, the rear tire was being replaced in Dunedin this morning. And a good thing to. The rear wheel bearings had to be replaced as well. Therefore the Southern Scenic Route drive through The Catlins today started after noon. With the new tire on, I looked for some gravel roads to scuff them up a bit. There are lots of them throughout The Catlins.

Not long out of Dunedin I realized I’d forgotten to bring my SPOT with me today. Hopefully I can remember most of it. After going through Waihola on Hwy 1, I turned left onto Finlayson Road heading towards the ocean. As I’m cruising along this guy goes screaming by me on a motorcycle going the other way. My first instinct was to turn and chase, but, brand new tire, unfamiliar roads, and I’m holidays were all the thoughts going through my head and the little voice said NO! A picture stop was needed though and while stopped he comes back in the other direction. I could totally relate to what he’s doing and just imagined the big grin on his face as I waved …again.

sheepandviewonfinlaysonroad
My photo opportunity from the top of Finlayson Road. I do love riding in this country!
finlaysonroadisarocker
Another view of Finlayson Road. You can see why he loves it!

As I left here I wondered if I’d see this guy again. As soon as I hit the coast and turned west he was on the side of the road with his girlfriend, Jocelyn. She had obviously been waiting for him as he was out playing. He was a local guy, Geoff, riding a CBR1000 Fireblade. The two of them did mostly trials riding but every once in awhile he goes out and shakes off a little dust. Did I think of writing down his name? No. But I did give him my card and he got in touch through this web site. So my friend, thanks again. I do appreciate it.

cbr100xxguy
This fellow rider was doing the old “there and back on his favorite road” trick. I do it all the time “on my driveway”.
taieriislandstop
Sitting on this beautiful shore across from the Teirera Island.

Now on the Moturata Road and across from Taieri Island. Short stop only as I was going to The Catlins. Not sure why, but was expecting a paved road all the way back to Milton. Surprise. Not far from Taieri the road turned to gravel. Oh well, that’s why the TKC 80 tires. Good way to get them scuffed up. I followed Akatore Road for a long way before it came to a junction. I pulled out the map and saw I could go right towards Milton or left towards Chrystalls Beach to a dead end on the water. So Milton it was.

gravelroadtomilton
Chrystalls Beach was a dead end on the water and Milton would get me on my way closer to The Catlins, so Milton it was.

Wasn’t long after this junction that the road turned back to pavement. A little fun though on Akatore Road. I was doing some filming with the Sena 10C mounted on my helmet and came upon a herd of sheep being marched down the road and through a gateway right in front of me. The camera was on at the time and when checking the footage later it I captured the moment perfectly. It took all of five minutes to complete. If I’d been five minutes later I would have missed it completely. Now “it’s just another story”.

In Milton now and back on Hwy 1, it was west to Balclutha and then turned off onto the Southern Scenic Route towards The Catlins. And scenic it is. The Catlins drive is rated #8 in the top ten, but I think it’s better than that.

thecatlinssign
The entire Southern Scenic Highway goes all the way from Queenstown to Dunedin. The Catlins was the last piece needed to complete it!

Stops along the way today included the Florence Hill Lookout, the McLean Falls and the Whistling Frog Café, which was highly recommended. Nick, who works in the parts department of McIvar and Veitch Motorcycles, said it was a must stop in The Catlins. And of course how could I T.J. Watt Youth Jersey forget Teapotland in Owaka? It was a bit different.

teapotland
Tea pots of all kinds on display. By donation only.
lunchatwhistlingfrog
An afternoon snack at The Whistling Frog Café was great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

florencelookout
One of the many breathtaking views while driving in The Catlins. Did I mention how much fun I’m having here?
mcleanfalls
McLean Falls was a 20 minute walk after 3 km of gravel road. This was a short, but very pleasant, diversion.
treeswhilewalkingtomcleanfalls
The walk into McLean Falls had lots to offer.
residentsatflorencehilllookout
Florence Hill cows…do you think they appreciate the view?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

fallsnamedfor
The story of Alexander McLean, the fellow these falls are named after.
anotherlookatmcleanfalls
One more view of the McLean Falls, now it’s time to hit the road again!

All good things come to an end…eventually. The Catlins today were awesome but now it was time to carry on. The length of this ride alone, puts it ahead of Glenorchy on the top ten list. But that’s just my opinion.

You know how sometimes as you’re driving along on a new road, something will catch your eye. Sometimes, it’s a bunch of brassieres on a fence or a policeman walking out on the road to pull you over, but every once in awhile it’s something special. As you may recall, a couple of days ago I got my first look at a “black sheep,” but it walked away before I could get a good photo. Today I planned to sneak up close and get a better photo of it. Mission accomplished.

blacksheep
Saw this black sheep on the first drive to Dunedin. Noisy Buell scared him off. Today I parked down the road and snuck up on it.

Once back in town I swung by the Dunedin train station for a photo. They say this building is the most frequently photographed thing in Dunedin. The back tire was good and the Buell was much happier with the new rear wheel bearings. Now it’s my last night in Dunedin. Tomorrow I’ll be in Barrys Bay, near Akaroa and Christchurch.

dunedintrainstation
Dunedin train station.

Had a room booked at Barrys Bay near Akaroa for Tuesday evening and I was going the long way. So on this cold and wet Tuesday morning I left Dunedin and was going through Milton, Alexandra, Omarama, Lake Tekapo, and Geraldine before finishing up at the Halfmoon Cottage in Barrys Bay, just up the road from Akaroa. Cold and a bit miserable, but no big deal. All it meant was no pictures. The area around Alexandra had a very interesting look, but it wasn’t too photogenic on this rainy day. As soon as Alexandra was in the rear view mirror, the weather started getting better and as I got to the Clyde Dam it was sunny out.

clydedam
The Clyde Dam.
damtown
Looking back on the town of Clyde.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the sun was back and the pavement dry again, the pleasure factor went up several notches. It continued sunny as I made my way north through Omarama and on to Lake Pukaki for the view of Mount Cook.

mtcook
Just enough clouds to block the perfect view of Mount Cook.
mtcookandi
Mount Cook and I.
mtcookandbuell
Didn’t want the Buell to feel left out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I continued north I happened upon the Mt. Cook Alpine Salmon Farm.

SENA CAMERA
There were several pens filled with this salmon.

The day continued sunny and warm right up to Burkes Pass and then it went straight downhill. Rain is never a big deal but it does remove some of the fun factor. Driving onto the Banks Peninsula and heading towards Akaroa is yet another one of those great twisty New Zealand roads that is a ton of fun to drive. Thankfully the rain had stopped and the last leg of today’s adventure was on dry pavement so was uneventful, just a bit cool. Once at the Halfmoon Cottage I was greeted warmly by Cornelius and Margo, one of the owners.Cornelius gave me the tour and after unpacking my stuff I curled up by the wood stove and checked my email.

barrysbay
Barrys Bay is right across the street from Halfmoon Cottage.
hammock
The backyard at Halfmoon Cottage.
halfmoonbay
Halfmoon Cottage is another great value place to stay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next morning, Nov. 18th, there was supposed to be a cruise ship anchoring in Barrys Bay but because it was so windy, they cancelled the cruise ship. Apparently there were 3900 people that would not be coming ashore now.

windywater
Barrys Bay was extremely windy this morning and it stayed that way all day.

Today I’d be checking out Akaroa and cruising around on the Banks Peninsula. But ahead of all that comes breakfast. Akaroa had everything I’d need so off I went. A nice casual morning cruise and then a motorcycle came up on me. I let him go by and then just followed him for awhile. he went right downtown and parked so I pulled up beside him T.J. Watt Kids Jersey and started the conversation. Ben, then joined me for breakfast at the Bully Hayes Restaurant..

beninakaroa
Another random meeting on the road turns out for the best!
benandbikes
Wind still howling in Akaroa.
breakfastinakaroa
Bully Hayes Restaurant in Akaroa, great breakfast!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After breakfast Ben and I went our own way. The grocery store and some Christmas shopping were on my agenda before I went to explore the rest of the peninsula. The wind stayed strong all day.

akaroacruise
Looking down towards Akaroa from the tourist road.

Grocery shopping, Christmas shopping and exploring the Banks Peninsula were all very successful. Also topped up the fuel before returning to Halfmoon Cottage so I’d be ready to roll in the morning. The plan now. Go straight up the east coast and catch the 14:00 ferry in Picton. If I drove away by 08:00 I’d have six hours to cover just over 400 km and only have to stop for gas once by leaving with a full tank.

Thursday morning was a beauty. Clear blue sky, dry pavement and I had to ride my Buell over one of the “top 10” motorcycle roads in NZ, first thing and zero traffic! Most of you know how much fun those rides are!!

The Christchurch Earthquake event in February, 2011 is still having a huge impact on life here these days. The roads and buildings are still under construction everywhere you turn. As I made my way around Christchurch and towards the coast highway going north I couldn’t help but think of the impact this earthquake had.

Then I think about the earthquake zone just off of Vancouver Island and all the damage a big quake there would do back at home….    not a pleasant thought.

lookingnorthateastcoastbeach
Looking north, the traffic is still pretty thin.
eastcoastbeach
Looking south at where I’d just ridden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

nov19waves
Last picture for now. Next stop is the Picton ferry.

After the “must” stop for gas in Kaikoura and a few quick calculations I allowed myself time for one 5 minute stop. The last three pictures shown above were among the many that I took during that one short break. It turned out to be the right choice. When I arrived at the Picton ferry and bought my ticket it was less than 5 min. before we boarded this ferry. And to make it even better, there was only room for one more motorcycle.

nov19ferry
Seven of the eight m/c parking spots filled.
carcollision
This is why we must tie down the m/c’s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so ends my South Island portion of this New Zealand adventure. So far it’s been much better than I ever had imagined. Super roads without any traffic and a very reasonable speed limit make New Zealand an absolute pleasure to be riding a motorcycle.

But I did have to go! Hobbiton was beckoning me to get back to the North Island and now I’m starting to get short on time. A few more things I still have to do!

 

 

 

 

 

Pt. 4 is now complete.

 

 

3 thoughts on “NZ-Pt.4, Dunedin to Picton

  1. Hey Chris, we just got back from Baja,Mexico.6 wonderful weeks of fun and adventure.Al Perrett said to say “hello”.Sounds like i missed a great trip. Ride on, B.

    1. It’s been a hoot! Sounds like Baja was pretty good as well. So you know me pretty good by now, I’ve been saving SOME of the best for the end. Going to see Hobbiton on Tuesday. cheers mate

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