This will be our last day and we will have to ride back to Auckland, but not without tackling one of the best motorcycle roads in all of New Zealand -- the Old Russell Road. It is outrageously curvy and hardly sees any traffic at all because most people leave Russell by ferry and take Highway 1.
If you are exhausted from all those curves, or if you're just not ready yet to finish the tour, you could spend some quality time in Mangawhai, a small seaside resort just 60 miles north of Auckland. The broad empty beaches and the relaxed atmosphere will make you want to stay, just for another five minutes. Just one more minute. Just a little bit longer..
breakfast at the waterfront in Russell. Not too bad to start a Saturday morning
view from Flaghill into the Bay of Island
After 3 weeks of travelling, exploring, sharing, laughing, riding, meeting people, eating last not least drinking - it is hard to say good bye.
Have a safe flight back home. It was a pleasure having you.
Stay in touch
Ursula and Tom
The Bay of Islands is one of the top tourist spots in all of New Zealand. Countless islands, sheltered beaches, warm water and almost-year-round sunny weather make it "the nation's bathtub." The downside: there is more infrastructure and more traffic here than on the west coast.
You can shorten your riding day to around 60 miles, if you choose, and spend some time in the "bathtub." Sailing, fishing, diving, waterskiing and any other kind of water sports are available.
million dollar view road
Dave and John
The Stone Store - oldest house in New Zealand
This small town on Highway 1, just south of the Bay of Islands, is famous for its toilets. They were designed by the famous artist, architect and environmentalist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, who was born in Austria in 1928. He was buried here after his death in 2000, in Kawakawa, under a tulip tree. His toilets put Kawakawa on every art-lover's world map. They are probably the most photographed toilets on the planet.
Friedensreich Hundertwasser - the toilets in Kawakawa
dinner at the Duke of Marlborough hotel at the waterfront in Russell
food there was art
the brothers from 2 different mothers
guess who this is!
Roberto`s and Scott`s place for quite a while
we just didn`t want to leave
Today we could ride from Kaitaia to Karikari in less than an hour, but we would miss Cape Reinga, one of the major highlights of this tour. While getting there is not very spectacular, being there actually is. This place is of great significance, not only for the Maori, but for every "real" New Zealander, as well. They consider it their duty to visit the northernmost point of the mainland at least once in their lives. (The same duty also attaches to Bluff, the southernmost point.)
On the way back from the Cape several side trips to interesting places are possible, for example to 90-Mile-Beach or the Ancient Kauri Kingdom. Our destination for tonight is the Carrington Pepper Resort at Karikari - guys you will be surprised!!!!
Awake, in a good mood, laughing
the briefing location
the Ancient Kauri Kingdom - a staircase carved into a massive Kauritrunk
"the Father of time" you can buy it for 75 grand
anybody finds the Gecko?
at the Gumdigger Park. The Kauris were preserved in the swamps for thousands and thousands of years. They don`t know what these massive trees caused to fall, a hurrican, a tsunami or another kind of desaster - but they all fell and facing the same direction.
our hotel for tonight
what a place for lunch
view from the lunch place
Doubtless Bay - kilometers of perfect beaches. Yes it is quite nice up here far north
State Highway 12 is known as the Gumdigger Highway, after the diggers who searched for Kauri gum, a precious amber-like substance. Past Ripiro Beach, the Gumdigger will take us up to Waipua Kauri Forest, where several short walks bring us face to face with the biggest and oldest Kauris in all of New Zealand.
Further north we use a small ferry to cross Hokianga Harbor. The roads are small and narrow there, with essentially no traffic whatsoever. It's a 45 mile ride to Kaitaia, and what a great ride it is!
our first stop was the "Lord" - a massive Kauri tree.
The Kauris were blueprint for the tree (Heimatbaum) in Avatar and maybe you also remember the Ent (den Baumbart) the treebeard in Lord of the Rings
Sorry this is not translateable! But Roberto, our LOTR fan can understand it.
Pippin hat den Baumbart so beschrieben:
"Man hatte das Gefühl, als ob ein gewaltiger Brunnenschacht hinter ihnen lag, angefüllt mit den Erinnerungen einer unendlich langen Zeit und langem, bedächtigem, beharrlichem Denken; aber auf ihrer Oberfläche schillerte die Gegenwart: wie Sonne, die auf den äußeren Blättern eines riesigen Baumes schimmert, oder wie das Wellengekräusel auf einem sehr tiefen See. Ich weiß nicht, aber man hatte das Gefühl, als ob etwas, das im Boden wächst - schlafend, könnte man sagen, oder sich einfach selbst als etwas zwischen Wurzelspitze und Blattspitze, zwischen tiefer Erde und Himmel Empfindendes -, plötzlich erwacht war und einen mit derselben bedächtigen Aufmerksamkeit betrachtet, die es seit endlosen Jahren seinen eigenen inneren Gedanken geschenkt hatte."
you walk through dense rain forest. Ferntrees everywhere
than we had to walk a little bit. It was worth it - the 4 Sisters
The "Father" - everybody got quite in front of this tree. It is touchy. Estimated age: 2000 - 2500 years
In dignity he stands
Gabi in front of the Father - just to get the dimension
than we came out of the rainforest over a crest - and this view opened up
after an awesome ride we met Tom at Opononi. Not too bad this picnic spot
Yeah, Tom the expectations were high! But I must say it is a pitty that you are already married
A good biker, a good cook - that`s half way through (or did I forget anything?)
and there is always something to laugh
Scott, Ted and Roberto
we went on the ferry in Hokianga harbour which brought us to the other side to the maybe most spectacular road on this planet - Mangamuka Gorge
The north is something special. Pretty ladies in rubberboots, men in shorties and tanned, all open hearted and very friendly - you get what you see
Yes - we have been there at dinner for a while.......
Today's route takes us north, past Auckland, to Whangarei, the largest city in Northland.
The famous West Coast Beaches are only a short drive from Auckland, but they seem to be a world away. Beaches of black volcanic sand are wedged between lush green forest and the turquoise sea, and the wildlife on land and in the water is still intact, despite the proximity to the big city. Aucklanders love to come here for surfing. Piha Beach, especially, is rated among the best surf spots in the world.
We won't have time to visit all the beaches, because further north another highlight awaits us: the famous Kauri Museum. Even if you're not into museums, you should have a look at this one -- it will help you appreciate the giant Kauri Trees that we will see on the morrow.
Scott and Piha Beach with the Lions Head in the background
Kaipara Coast Lookout
the Kauri Museum in Matakohe - really a highlight
amazing trees dating back to the Jurassic Period 150 mio years ago
the lady gave us an interesting introduction to the Kauris, the wood, the gum and the Kauri die-back desease
just to get the dimensions of this trees - a Kauri trunk, the staircaise around is also made of Kauri wood
gum collecting - this killed the trees
biggest gum collection in the world
Whangarei - our destination for tonight
thank you Manfred - another outstanding dinner place
cheers on another great day
After saying good bye to part of the group we enjoyed a restday in Auckland.
A very warm welcome to Jonathan and David - the 2 new riders joining us on the North Island Extension.
During our regular New Zealand tour there is not much time to enjoy the beauty of the Coromandel, so we included it in our North Island Extension, for a closer look.
The ride takes us along the coast at Kawakawa Bay, and looking across the Firth of Thames we will see the forested peaks of the Coromandel Range. After crossing the River Thames on the newly built two-lane bridge we turn left and follow the west coast of the Coromandel. It is a spectacular ride. The narrow road is so close to the ocean that you can touch it if you lean your bike over far enough. Well, almost.
Charming little Coromandel Town used to be the center of the gold and timber rushes during the second half of the 19th century. Today it is the center of the region's booming tourist industry and boasts numerous cafes and restaurants.
Mission Bay - or Beverly Hills of Auckland, or Starnberg of Germany
Kawakawa Bay and Coromandel Peninsula
Rainforest all along the way.
Ferntrees - an icon of Kiwi land - thats why there is a fernleaf at the planes of New Zealand Air and on the trickots of the All Black
the coast is also named the Pohutokawa Coast, that is the x-mas tree of New Zealand. They are all blooming red in december. Beautiful
Bootbeer, yeaaah after a hot day. We are in Puka Park Resort in Pauanui. Our little huts are in the rain forest.
a possum at our Lodge in Pauanui - thanks Roberto, great pic