As we rode up the West Coast the weather was - mostly - on our side. The highlight were Arthurs Pass and especially the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, where the coast is at its wildest. After that we headed to our Farmstay just west of Nelson, and then on to Picton where we cought the ferry to Wellington, for another rest day. So much to see, so little time...
View of the wild West Coast from Strongman Mine lookout
The famous Pancake Rocks of Punakaiaki
During high seas the surf shoots out from cracks in the rock, so-called blowholes.
Can you see the rat's head?
To this day scientists don't know what exactly caused these formations
The wild, raging Tasman Sea, seen from the hotel room...
Another gorgeous lookout point
Cape Foulwind, a bit further up the coast, is famous for its seal colony. On some days their thick smell is in the air, hence the name of the cape.
They do look cute, but don't get too close!
Playing or fighting?
The Marlborough Sounds are one of the sunniest regions in the country. And one of the most beautiful!
Riding Queen Charlotte Drive is good fun!
Dave from Canada, enjoying the outrageously tasty greenshell mussels of Havelock. Mmmmmhhhh....
Spectacular cloud formations over Wellington
The group at Lake Taupo, well fed after another original Edelweiss picnic.
And then, in Rotorua, it was time to get in touch with the locals. At the Maori Hangi concert and dinner the ladies could practise their Poi dancing, while the guys were tought how to look fierce, mean, and ugly for the Haka. And Jan, the Chief, got to rub noses with all the girls...
Doug on the RT
A rare sight: blue sky over the west coast mountains
Kea birds are highly endangered, and they love to tear motorcycle seats apart and pull out rubber seals. Not a good combination...
Don't feed the Kea. That means, always keep a close eye on your bike!
After a relaxing rest day in Queenstown we rode to the Wild West Coast today. The weather was not as horrendous as predicted, we had sunshine and blue skies in the morning. But after lunch we dived into the rainforest, and guess what? It rained. But the amazing road and the non-existant traffic still made it an awesome ride.
From Crown Range Summit the view reaches all the way back to Queenstown - for one last goodbye
Once in her life this Chinese woman wanted to be part of a group of hardcore bikers...
Storm clouds brewing over Lake Hawea
Dave, trying to make up his mind if it was time for riding or skiing.
Even a small group needs some support
For a closer look at the rainforest we set off on a little walk
Tony and Dave
Kim and Doug
Even in small things there is a lot of beauty
Milford Road is one of the world's most spectacular rides. Despite the early hour (7 o'clock) and the low temperatures (1°C/33°F) everybody in the group enjoyed it thoroughly. We reached Milford by 9, hopped on a boat for a scenic cruise, and then returned to Te Anau for a genuine Edelweiss picnic. It was a fantastic day!
Blue sky like this over Milford Sound? Not something you see everyday!
And yes, it was cold. As Kim points out it was 2°C.
Helmut competes with Mitre Peak for the pointiest hat...
Spectacular views all around
Waterfalls, rainforest, snow-clad mountains: only in New Zealand...
Walter, Jan, Dave, Kim, Doug and Sheila had a great time in Milford
On the way back from Milford
Today we are busy enjoying our rest day in Queenstown, the world's adrenaline hotspot. Activities included motorcycling and shopping, but also burger eating and wine drinking. As usual, it will be hard to say goodbye to Queenstown.
The road to Glenorchy features this amazing viewpoint
Question to Helmut and Walter: is this as beautiful as Austria?
Elisabeth, Walter and Jan in Glenorchy. Coffee is really good here!
Panoramic view of Queenstown waterfront
The Fergburger or Tony in paradise
Welcome to New Zealand, the world's most beautiful end. A small group from Austria, Germany, Norway, Canada and the US left Christchurch today, heading to Twizel. Balmy 22°C and blue sky turned into 8°C and rain by the time we reached the mountains, but the sun was back only moments later. It was a beautiful day! Tomorrow we'll reach the southernmost point of our tour. Stay tuned!
Heavy rain during the last couple of days turned Rakaia River's color from turquise blue to a muddy grey. The scenere was still beautiful, and we were happy to see the sun.
As you can see, it was windy!
The famous Church of the Good Shepherd, next to Lake Tekapo.
The views from Mt. John observatory are simply awesome!
John, Sheila, Walter, Jan, Elisabeth, Dave, and Helmut
It's early in the year so there's still lots of snow on the mountains.
Dave, Sheila and John, looking to where Mt. Cook is supposed to be. But the Long White Cloud covered it today...
The cold temperatures couldn't spoil the wonderful experience