We have to say good-bye to Cliff and Debra and to Tim, they are not coming on the North Island Extension. It was a pleasure having you on tour. Watch the blog, so you know what you missed .-)
Have a save flight back home, we hope to see you again.
All the best
Ursula and Tom
final dinner at the Sky Tower in Auckland with a spectacular view
a performance of traditional Maori culture - dancing, singing and the Haka
Ralph is taking it seriously
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.
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.
not so many pictures today - we had to ride these 500 km
the historic hotel in Pongaroa
that`s how it looks like when real men go for drink
it doesn`t feel like, but we are close to the ocean and Tim is enjoying his fish platter
nearby is the home of Tui brewery
the longest name on earth - Jane is to small to look over it
A natural disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world. On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake - 7.9 on the Richter scale - rocked Hawke's Bay for more than three minutes. Nearly 260 lives were lost and the vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed, either by the quake itself or the fires that followed.
Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years. New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times - Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco. Local architect Louis Hay, an admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright, had his chance to shine. Maori motifs were employed to give the city a unique New Zealand character - for example, the ASB bank on the corner of Hastings and Emerson Streets features Maori koru and zigzags.
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!
Kapiti Coast with Kapiti Island
the Southward Car Collection - Jo liked it
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.
coffee stop at Pelorus bridge
leaving the Malborough Sound and going out to Cook Strait
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.
the Pancake Rocks
we met some well-known customers at the River`s Cafe in Murchison - Vivian and Paul!
What a pleasure!
Today we have the homestay. Jim, Jane and me we are staying at Bruce and Sandra Monro`s place. They potters, painters, travellers and destillers . And look at the beautiful place we are
it is a homemade delicious limoncello - and look at the bottle
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.
Arthurs Pass is the main crossing point of the Southern Alps, the only road in New Zealand that features high alpine scenery as we know it from the European Alps. It is a lovely ride, but the main reason to come up here are the Keas, alpine parrots with a very bad reputation. They are super-smart and highly endangered, and up here on the pass we have the best chance of seeing some.
but the day started to some of us at 6 a.m. with a hike around Lake Matheson for some awesome pictures. Mount Cook is mirroring in the Lake. It took us some efforts to get these pics
and also the walk to the lake was a highlight
Cliff and Debra saying goodbye....
..... to the world of ice
when ever anybody is on the West Coast - the Bushman Center is the place to go. You have to watch the movie in the high end "cinema" and just have a look round, there are awesome things to discover.....
Justine is making one of the best coffees in the area
..... and some good slogans
Ralf and Justine
the group just doesn`t want to leave - but we have to.Tom is waiting with the picnic
Lake Mahinapua - what a spot for an Edelweiss picnic
Cliff and Debra in meditation
naughty rubber eating Keas on Arthur`s Pass
photoshooting on the coastline
Mountains,lakes, rainforest, ocean, glaciers, all connected by an awesome road. What an incredible day.
the morning started with a wild ride on Shotover River
the Cadrona Hotel
not for motorcycles but for Tesla cars
one FAQ is missing on the list "where is the toilet?"
Cadrona Hotel - the garden, a nice place for a coffee
on the fantastic road along the Waikatipu Lake
he knows how to indulge
and in the afternoon a boat cruise with the TSS Earnslaw - the "Old Lady" of Lake Waikatipu. She is believed to be the oldest working coal-fired steamship in the "Southern Hemisphere"
Walter Peak High Country Farm - on the other side of the lake
Ralf our journalist from the "Tourenfahrer" is always busy
the Remarkables at sunset
Milford Sound,the 8th wonder of the world, was still cloudy when we arrived at 8:45 in the morning. The ride on Milfod Road was quite cold and also there was more traffic than usual: 7 cars and one truck did we pass during the 1 1/2 hour ride. Crazy.
The boat cruise was amazing as we could not only watch the clouds disappear but were also able to spot dolphins, seals and even penguins.
the Takahe - a bird which was supposed to be extinct
only 300 of them are left on this planet
Picnic at Lake Te Anau
the meadows are dotted with white sheeps
Tussok grass - it looks very beautiful
It's spring in New Zealand, the Southern Alps are still snow covered, but the sun is already strong. It didn't shine this morning, as we left Christchurch, and the temperatures hovered around 10°C. But as soon as we reached the High Country the sky turned blue and it became twice as warm. A good start to this tour!
on the Summit Road - view to Lyttelton
the Rakaia gorge
Jim and Jane
the church of the good shepherd and Lake Tekapo
Cliff is meditating on Lake Tekapo shore
since a Chinese celebrity married here a lot of his friends are coming to visit the famous place
Lake Pukaki and Mount Cook
normally I don`t like me in pictures but these are two good ones - of course they are not taken by me but by our journalist
The Cathedral in Christchurch - the city is still suffering from the earthquake
before we getting the bikes ready and preparing the tourstart breakfast is necessary
no 46 on the cappuchinos here it is the silverfern