Our last day of the tour takes us back towards Auckland but before we reach New Zealand's largest sity we have some more riding to do. Our first ride takes us along Paihia beach to the Opua ferry, where we cross over to the Russell Peninsula for one of the best rides of the trip so far: Old Russell Road! 66km of breathtaking views, epic twisties and empty roads. Next we continue south, past busy Whangarei and on to the surfing beaches at Waipu Cove for a flat white. Then on we go, through hilly backcountry towards the small market town of Matakana and finally back onto Highway 1 back into Auckland. We drop of our bikes at the depot and hop into a taxi to our hotel and the end of a most excellent adventure.
Having reached the far north of New Zealand it is now time to head south. we follow the coast and take a side trip onto the aptly named Million-Dollar-View Road, then stop for a coffee at New Zealands oldest stone house in Kerikeri. From here it's just a short ride to the stunning Bay of Islands. Here we visit the excellent Waitangi Museum, built on the birthplace of modern New Zealand. Paihia, our stop for the night, is almost next door so we enjoy the opportunity to go for a swim in the Pacific or just laze by the pool.
It's time for another rest day, so let's go for a ride! Cape Reinga, New Zealands most northern point that can reached by irad is only a couple of hours ride away, so that's where we are headed. The road there is remote, with only a few small settlements and farms along the way. We arrive just in time for the rain clouds of the morning to clear and are rewarded with a stunning view of the confluence of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific.
Todays route takes us through some of the most beautiful scenery New Zealand has to offer. Leaving busy Whangarei behind we take the roads less travelled to Dargaville and then swing north along the Kauri Coast. The road is a heady mix of superbly tight twisties and long sweepers, in a landscape dominated by rainforests and the giant Kauri trees, that can grow to be over 80m high and 3000 years old. The next highlight of the day is Hokianga Harbour, a natural inlet surounded by giant sand dunes and beautiful beaches. We cross the harbour on a small ferry, then reach one of the best motorcycle roads in the world, Mangamuka Gorge! 24km of perfectly pitched road, with hardly any traffic to get in the way. Leving the gorge behind we make our way towards Kerikeri, New Zealands most northern vineyard and our home for the next two nights.
The longest day of our trip so far begins with an excellent ride across the Coromandel Peninsula. Light traffic, rainforest and a light mist hanging in the air make this a morning ride to remember. Heading west we join the main highway towards Auckland, but soon turn off the motorway in favour of the smaller roads that run along the western beaches. We take a break in Piha Beach for some coffee and cookies, then head in into the hills northwest of Auckland for some of the best riding so far. After lunch we carry on north and take a break at the excellent Kauri Museum. From here it's more backcountry roads all the way into Whangarei, our stop for the night.
It's a beautiful Sunday as we prepare to leave Auckland, New Zealands biggest and busiest city. We follow the coast heading east towards the bustling seaside town of Maraetai, our first coffee stop of the day, then take full advantage of the excellent twisties along Kawakawa Bay and the Firth of Thames. But the real highlight of the day is the Coromandel Peninsula. The roads are flowing, with stunning scenery and almost devoid of traffic. An excellent lunch of fish and chips at the Coromandel Oyster Company does it´s bit to put big smiles on our faces. From here it´s just a short, but superbly twisty, ride along the shores of the Coromandel to our afternoon coffee/ice cream stop in Whitianga and finally to Tairua, our home for tonight.