After the filming of "The Lord of the Rings" was completed, the little town of Hobbiton, built of styrofoam and cardboard, was left to itself and disappeared almost completely within a few years. But LOTR-fans from around the world found the place and kept coming to see it. When Hobbiton was rebuilt for the movie "The Hobbit" the producers made sure that this time more permanent materials were used, so that Hobbiton could be turned into a tourist attraction after the film was completed. And boy, what tourist attraction it is!
After finding our way back from Hobbiton to real life we climb back on our bikes and continue north. All the way up to Kaiaua the roads are mostly straight, but then, just before we reach Auckland, New Zealand throws everything at you that you came to love during the last two weeks: spectacular curves and spectacular scenery.
Then we get to Auckland, the city of sails, where, sad but true, some of our group have to return their bikes.
We split up the group again - too much to do. One group went along the coast to Coromandel, the other went to Hobbiton and Gabriela, Günther and Lori took a Helicopter flight to White Island.
White Island - its gonna be exiting
the heliflight started at 8.30 h glided in smoothly and landed perfectly on the small platform
the 3 passengers: Gabi, Günther and Lori
Rachel - a femal pilot! Amazing!!
on off they went. Have fun guys!
Who is it???
most of the gang went to Hobbiton
You feel like Frodo is coming
"The Grill" downtown Auckland was really a final highlight. Thank you Manfred for booking us in
what an awesome dinner
2 weeks are over - believe it or not. We have to say good bye to Marty and July, Debbie and Chris, Karen and Dave, Paul and Gerti and to Christian.
Have a safe flight back home. It was a pleasure guiding you. Hope we will see each other again.
Tom, Ursula, Danilo
We follow Highway 5 to Lake Taupo. New Zealand’s largest lake is an ancient volcano caldera that has filled up with water. It is world famous for its giant brown trout. The area between Taupo and Rotorua is geologically very active. We can visit a geothermal power plant and a thermal area or two, complete with geysers, mud pools, etc. It is very touristy around here, but once you venture off the main roads, you are all by yourself.
Rotorua is the country’s largest Maori settlement. Folklore, traditional handiwork, and Polynesian spas with thermal water, all of this can be discovered here. You can also take a helicopter to the rim of Mount Tarawera, a dormant volcano, or even to White Island, New Zealand’s most active one.
Bluff Hill high above Napier
Picnic at Lake Taupo
fighting with the swans
Thermal Pools of Waikite
Hot and steaming water everywhere
Dinner in Rotorua is a typical Maori Hangi. Here a bit a modernized hangi place
Roberto was a great "chief"
the traditional Maori dancers
and than the girls
and the boys did an awesome job
i wished Ted took off his t-shirt
what a funny evening
We cut through the suburbs of Wellington and climb Rimutaka Hill, a spectacular and usually windswept pass road. Then we leave the highway in favor of small roads without traffic and loop through the Martinborough wine region. “New Zealand’s Napa Valley” is a popular place for Wellingtonians to spend their weekends, and on sunny days the area is full of bicycles, motorcycles and convertibles.
Through green, hilly farm country we ride to Pongaroa, where we have lunch in the historic hotel. Be careful, there may be sheep on the road at any time!
We'll end up in Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand. If you want to get there as soon as possible just take State Highway 2.
First coffe stop in Martinborough
Kiwi feeding time at 12 o`clock at the Mount Bruce Wildlife Center
these birds are really cute
a x-ray of a pregnant kiwi. They have immense eggs. It would be like humans giving birth to a six year old kid
2 Tuataras - little Dinos
this Kaka wants to have lunch as well
The art deco city Napier
the beach towards Cape Cidnappers
Roberto`s place at dinner
Today’s short ride leads to the Kapiti Coast where we can visit the Southward Car Museum, the largest vintage car collection in New Zealand and one of the best in the world.
Of course you don't have to ride if you don't want to. Wellington has enough on offer to keep you busy for a day. Very busy!
The incredible Southward Car Museum, in Paraparaumu, is not just a world class museum, it’s a national treasure. It was designed and built by the late Sir Len Southward and houses the southern hemispheres largest private car collection. The museum itself is home to over 400 automobiles and various other exhibits including aircraft, bicycles, a range of vintage tools and other automobile memorabilia and even a vintage Fire Engine. The collection includes many famous makes and models of classic and vintage cars. Among the most popular ones is Marlene Dietrich's 1934 Cadillac Town Cabriolet, a 1915 Stutz Indianapolis race car, a gull-winged Mercedes-Benz, a 1950 Cadillac "Gangster Special".
at the harbour for "windy Welli"
Wellington’s ‘must-see’ attraction is Te Papa - New Zealand’s national museum, which boasts an interesting blend of interactive and traditional exhibits.
Today is a special day because we will embark on a cruise! But first we ride through the scenic Marlborough Sounds, one of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand. Most impressive: a ride on Queen Charlotte Drive, definitively among the world’s most phenomenal roads.
In Picton we board the ferry, glide through picturesque Queen Charlotte Sound out to Cook Strait, and after just over three hours we reach Wellington, the nation’s capital.
Ian, our host, even cleaned our motorcycles. We have to say good bye. Thanks for hosting us
we met in Richmond at a gas station. And everybody made it
Queen Charlotte Drive
our ferry is coming
waiting for boarding
gliding through the Malborough Sound
Gerti and Paul enjoying the cruise
We leave Punakaiki, the site of the famous “Pancake Rocks,” and after only 40 miles we take a break at beautiful Cape Foulwind with its seal colony. Historic gold digger sites mark our ride along the legendary Buller River and through the wild, remote bush and forest landscape of the South Island.
We will spend the night not with the group but on individual, B&B-like “Country Stays”, which gives us the opportunity to experience everyday life in this wonderful country.
Picture stop on the New Zealand Highway no 1
the seal colony at Cape Foulwind
Ted and Karibeth at Buller River
Paul, Gerti and I were in Motueka at Rebecca and Ian Williams. What a lovely couple and nice hosts
We leave the ice behind and head towards gold in Hokitika, the old gold digger capital. Due to its historical background the West Coast is also known as the Gold Digger Coast, but nowadays everything around here revolves around jade, also known as greenstone, or Pounamu, as the Maori call it.
the weather was not so good down in Fox but it turn out to be much better on top
powerfull slashes the Tasmanian Sea against the rocks of the West Coast. Impressing!
so many nice women from front and back
congratulation to the 46th anniversary
it has been a great time so far
see the blow hole
This day is an unforgettable experience. The country's highest pass, a beautiful road with spectacular panoramic views, brings us into Cardrona Valley and to Wanaka, a small town at the southern end of Lake Wanaka.
We ride along beautiful panoramas and past crystal clear mountain lakes that often reflect the surrounding mountains. From the dry steppe of Central Otago we descend to the damp rainforests of the West Coast, an amazing, overwhelming change in scenery. Our route leads us over Haast Pass and along the Haast River down to the Tasman Sea. The West Coast Highway, one of the most beautiful coastal roads in the world, brings us to Fox Glacier.
the Crowne Range Road winds up in 7 hairneedlepins to an altitude of 3000 f to Cadrona Hotel, one of the oldest buildings in New Zealand dating back to 1862, the goldrush times
Ted, Karibeth and Sara
Chris and Debbie
a Tui bird - endemic in NZ. Sorry we couldn`t get closer
Haast River - the wide river bed is impressing
Queenstown is a place unlike any other in New Zealand. It is full of backpackers, adventure-seekers and adrenaline-junkies, the average age seems to be somewhere around 25, and the air is saturated with fun, adventure and party.
This beautiful town, nestled between mountains right at Lake Wakatipu, is named the Adventure Capital of the world; after all it’s the place where bungy jumping was invented. You can also put your courage to the test at jet boating, white water rafting, aerobatics, sky diving, paragliding, or -sailing. But it’s not all about hair-raising adventure activities; there is also relaxing ones like a cruise on the 100 year old steamer TSS Earnslaw, or a tour from winery to winery.
Some of our guest got some adrenalin downtown. We decided to ride. Along Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy. This little town at the end of the lake is called the "Gate to Paradise" and was filmset for the Lord of the Rings. it is also starting point for several tracks like Routeburn and Caples.
The windy road along the lake is spectacular
dinner - or liquid dinner at Winnie`s
This long riding day will introduce you to one of the most scenic corners of New Zealand. From Te Anau we follow the road along the lake of the same name. The road winds its way through the rainforest and climbs up to an elevation of almost 3,000 ft., then drops down to sea level in only a handful of daring curves. It ends at beautiful Milford Sound, a wonderland of high mountains, numerous waterfalls and abundant wildlife, where you'll have the opportunity to embark on a scenic cruise that typically features a seal colony, probably dolphins and sometimes even penguins. Milford Sound is a must-see for every visitor to New Zealand!
After looking at Milford Sound from every conceivable angle, we take the same road that we used this morning and yesterday, until we get to Frankton. This is a suburb of Queenstown, the world's biggest playground and our home for two nights.
So guys - a lot of pictures coming now because it was the ultimate experience.
We started in Te Anau at 7 a.m in the morning with 37 F. We put one everything we had! It was drizzling. But after a while the road dried out and at Milford the sun came out!!!!!
Lori and Scott in the Rain Forest on the way to the ferry cruise
Rain forest all along way - the word is selfexplaining. The forest needs rain. And it rains a lot in Milford. They measure it not in cm but in meter and they had 9 m of rain last year.
it was the first sunny day since x-mas - and we hit it
Mitre Peak - 1.623 m high
Paul and Gerti
Keribeth and Ted
And here the Dolphin pictures. Thank you Julie and Marty
there are between 8000 - 10.000 rain dependent waterfalls which disappear short time after rain stops. As it rained the whole night we had them nearly all
The waterfall causes a rainbow
Lori and Christian
It couldn`t be any better
we saw dolphins and seals swimming along the boat - pictures coming later
Ursula, Fritz and Lori
Seals warming up in the sun
Fjord - our captain - brought us not to the waterfalls but into....
700 m overhanging wall - picture was taken overhead
the waterfall from 700 m high - it never makes it to the ground
this waterfall is called Milford City - Milford gets its drinking water and the electric power from it
at the end of the cruise we had to thank Fjord, our captain. With his sympathic Kiwi accent he guided us through the sound, explained all the hidden treasure with his passionated character. Thanks Fjord - hope you read the blog.
Homer Tunnel - nothing to do with the Simson family
a one way tunnel, completely dark inside, usually colder inside than outside - but today it was vice versa
a Kea - the world`s only mountain parrot, highliy endangered, only 2000 are left on this planet.The bird is protected, and they know it!!!
The little gangsters love to eat rubber and destroy things. Picking on the motorcycle saddles, all kind of rubber on cars and.... nobody can do anything because they are protected
view from the Prime Steak House at the waterfront in Queenstown, where we finished this awesome day.
We leave Twizel behind and follow Highway 8 south. The High Country is very dry, the sun very intense. We cross the scenic Lindis Pass and cruise along Dunstan Lake to Cromwell, New Zealand’s fruit orchard. Then the road snakes along Kawarau Gorge and past the historic bridge where the world’s first commercial bungy jump took place in 1988.
Just before getting into Queenstown, we turn left and follow the eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu. The crystal clear water of this deep, cold lake is of a very intense blue. Our day ends in Te Anau, a small town that owes its existence to its convenient location for a day trip to Milford Sound.
They are everywhere
they coming from a father and sons trip
The Village Inn Hotel in Te Anau. Could there be any better than a motorcycle in front door?
Here are nearly 30 years of tourguide experience. Thomas, Ursula and Danilo.
And if you count Tom`s single word he knows in Suaheli and my single word in Russian (which is nastrowje) we make it up to 7 languages .-)
Fritz from Augsburg, Germany - what a cool t-shirt. Anybody who was on this tour with Fritz???
Briefing time - and off we go
the first highlight was the Summit Road. A gigantic vulcano crater which broke open to the seaside 10 Mio years ago. The crater edge separates the harbour of Lyttelton from the back country. Summit Road winds along the crater edge.
on the way down to the Canterbury Plain we had some other exitement - but one can`t talk about everything.
Christian is smiling only for us
Paul is enjoying the turquoise water
Lake Tekapo and the Church of the Good Shepherd (it`s normally not allowed to take a picture from the inside )
Gabriela and Günther
glacier flour or glacier milk - minerals grained out by glacier movments from the rocks in combination with sunlight - the result is this amazing colour
Selected for its very clear atmosphere, large number of clear sky nights and relative freedom from light pollution, Tekapo was declared the International Dark Sky Reserve
Lake Pukaki - the next highlight just 40 km away with Mount Cook in the background
What a day!!!
The Mackenzie Inn in Twizel
We know that some guys on the other side of the "great pond" can`t wait for the blog beeing online So here are some first impressions....
Air New Zealand is bringing a load of tourguides in
Christchurch from above
a busy day!! Branding the Van, shuttling the bikes, preparing the paperwork and the briefing. Sleeping!!! Getting out of jet lag. Tomorrow the guests will arrive
welcome briefing - lots of informations. Everybody is excited.