From the hotel in Rotorua the group of 21 embarked on their last riding day, destination Auckland. From here they will go home, only three lucky lads are bound to continue on our one-week extension to Northland. To be continued!
Today we experienced one of the spectacular Edelweiss picnics at the shore of Lake Taupo. If you get hungry just by looking at these pictures, don't worry, you're perfectly normal...
Stephan is in his fourth year with Edelweiss, but he has never done a picnic before. Today was his first, and ist was great! We had enough food for around 50 people, there was everything from salmon to Kiwifruit chocolate. Well done!
As you can see everybody was quite hungry...
Bill from Ohio, giving tour guide Thomas some bullsh..., I mean information...
Upon arrival in Rotorua 7 members of the tour went on a helicopter ride to White Island, New Zealand's only active volcano. Words can not describe this experience, it was more than amazing. Photos once again by Sabine Beck:
The Helipro chopper flying over Lake Rotorua
The Bay of Plenty's stunning coastline
Approaching White Island
Landing on White Island is like landing on the moon: a completely different world!
The scenery on White Island is beyond imagination!
Where else can you take a helicopter to an active volcano?
Years ago people tried to mine sulphur on White Island. It didn't work...
Helipro in Rotorua made it possible!
Returning back to the base.
New Zealand is a very small country, but the diversity of its scenery is astonishing. The relatively dry mountains around Queenstown, the lush rainforest of the West Coast, the orchards, vineyards and golden beaches of the Tasman district, the stunningly beautiful Marlborough Sounds and then Wellington, the small but lively capital.
On our rest day in Queenstown we were blessed with beautiful sunshine and balmy temperatures. An amazing ride along Lake Wakatipu, fun at the luge and countless other ways to pass the time were on offer. Lynda Monroe took these great pics:
Panoramic view of Lake Wakatipu from Blanket Bay lookout
Pat and Lynda on their RT
Hans and Tony: Austrians feel at home in this wonderland of mountains and lakes
What a ride!!!
The previous day was cold and wet, so there is some fresh snow on the mountains. Looks great, doesn't it?
Tony would have loved to upgrade this tour guide ride to this beautiful three-wheeler.
The Queenstown luge. Up here it's hard to focus on the track...
Pat in full protective luge-gear...
Lynda just couldn't get enough of the views!
A ride to Coronet Peak literally topped off this glorious day!
Well rested we left Queenstown the next morning, heading to the West Coast. But no visit to NZ is complete without a ride in a jet boat, so that's what we did!
A jet boat ride through Shotover Canyon is incredible fun. If you're here in NZ you just HAVE to do this!
Following photos by Sabine Beck:
From the Crown Range Road there are beautiful views back to Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. It is hard to leave "QT" behind and everybody waved goodbye with tears in their eyes...
The famous Cardrona Hotel dates back to 1863 and is one of the oldest buildings in New Zealand.
Waiting for leftovers...
The Westland Salmon Farm offers ultra-fresh salmon and great coffee. A good place for us!
The dense West Coast rainforest
Crossing the "Gates of Haast" on the way to the wild West Coast
Ferns are everywhere around here!
As we woke up the next morning in Fox Glacier it was raining. The West Coast receives 4 metres (160 inches) of rain per year, so there is quite a good chance to experience some wild weather. But of course there is no poor weather, just poor riding gear...
All the bikes lined up at Hari Hari
The world famous Bushman's Centre in Pukekura, pop. 2! The place is for sale, if you're looking for a new career opportunity, away from it all, then here is your chance!
Here is the menu. The whitebait sandwich was outstanding!
View of the Tasman Sea from our hotel in Punakaiki.
But overnight the clouds gave way to yet another day of beautiful sunshine.
The surf is rolling in, and the first rays of the morning sun turn it into a magic display.
The wild West Coast
This is not a Kiwi bird, but a Weka. It can run fast, therefore it is not an endangered species...
The Pancake Rocks put Punakaiki on every tourist's map.
Tour guide Stephan was disappointed that these pancakes are made of stone, instead of, well, pancakes. But then he had a great time, too.
Look at these amazing rock formations!
This is not a swimming pool!
If the tide is high enough the surf shoots in underneath the rocks and blows out at the top.
What a fantastic picture! Thank you, Sabine!
Sabine from Munich
Next on the list was the farmstay, a night in the private home of a real Kiwi family. Everybody had to find their own way to the farm, always an exciting exercise...
Daniel and Hans teamed up with Mr. Garmin...
Bill relied on the map (and on his iPhone...)
Mitch and Jeff had no clue at first...
... but then they quickly found their way.
Scott and Julie took Errol's old truck to visit his forest...
... and his cattle. Bull Henry was happy to say hello!
After a spectacular sunrise the group members successfully regrouped and headed towards Picton to catch the ferry to the North Island.
Confucius says: get up early and you will shoot great pictures.
After a sunrise like this, what can possibly go wrong?
The Marlborough Sounds offer some of the most stunning views in all of New Zealand!
A pristine beach, visible but inaccessable from the road.
The ferry port of Picton. We were booked on the one in the back.
Today we spent a free day in Wellington. The sky was blue, the temperature hovered around 20°. We took the bikes out for a ride to Kapiti Coast.
The ride on Milford Road was cold and wet, but also awesome, amazing and spectacular. Fresh snow on the mountains that are covered in rainforest, where else can you see that? Pictures say more than words, so enjoy the following impressions (photos by Lynda Monroe):
After a clear night in Twizel we set out to tackle riding day number two. Only minutes into the day Thomas had a flat tire on his Road King. The team tried to fix it, but to no avail: it takes a crane and six strong men to remove the rear wheel of a Harley. We didn't have a crane. So the bike was loaded into the support van and taken to the dealership in Queenstown. Therefore Thomas unfortunately missed the amazing ride across Lindis Pass.
Highway 8 south of Twizel
The flat tire on the Harley could not be fixed on the spot. We had to load the bike in the support van and take it to a bike shop in Queenstown.
The road across Lindis Pass
Beautiful ride along Lake Dunstan
We had lunch at a historic gold mining center
Hans from Austria, relaxing.
Julie from Idaho, posing.
Tour guide Stephan, waiting for his group.
As we approached Queenstown there were dark clouds overhead.
It looked like we would be heading straight into the rain...
... some of the clouds were really scary...
... but we arrived in Te Anau in almost dry conditions.
After some heave downpours during the night the rain eased off just in time for departure. Highlight of the day: Milford Sound. Destination: Queenstown.
The Harley guys are getting ready
Sabine from Munich put on all the clothes she found in her suitcase. It was COLD this morning!
Nikolaus is always in a cheerful mood. He says the weather is just like at home in Cologne. Maybe a bit colder.
This is not the sheriff of Te Anau, but Rudy from the Czech Republik. One hour after departure he was still visible out on the horizon!
The 2014 riding season has just started down here in New Zealand. 18 riders and 3 passengers from 6 different countries left Christchurch today in pouring rain, looking for some blue sky and sunshine. And guess what? They did find that only a few hours later. Check out these pictures:
Unfortunately our departure from Christchurch was quite wet.
The scenery is gorgeous, even in the rain.
This is Patrick, checking if his riding suit is really waterproof...
A Kodak moment at Rakaia Gorge
A lovely ride on traffic-free roads
After we reached the Mackenzie High Country the clouds finally gave way for some blue sky. We whipped our sunglasses out and enjoyed the magnificent scenery.
The church of the good shepherd, built in 1835, occupies a spectacular location next to Lake Tekapo
Panoramic view from the top of Mount John. A stopover in the Earth&Sky Cafe, the South Island's highest, is a must!
Patrick and his RT are enjoying the view
In the background you can see the clouds that dropped all that water on us during the first couple of hours of our ride
Arrival at Mount John
An amazing road leads up to the observatory and the cafe
A special HELLO to Jeff Kagey from Marty, Bill and Thomas!
Departure from Mount John on the same spectacular road
On the way to our next highlight we rode alongside beautiful Lake Pukaki
Lynda and Patrick
The group and Mount Cook. Unfortunately the clouds around its peak didn't move, so we were not able to see it in its full splendor. But our hotel is only a few minutes away so we can give it another try tomorrow morning!