Thursday, March 13, 2014

New Zealand - Day 8

Te Anau to Balclutha - Feb 18

Day 8 of our trip had dawned and we were heading for Invercargill and the worlds fastest Indian. The ride out of Te Anau followed the southern scenic route and boy did it live up to its name. The southern scenic route went all the way from Te Anau through Invercargill and across to Balclutha our destination for tonight.

So it was easy we just had to follow this sign everywhere. It couldn't have been easier.

Geoff thought it was going to rain so we pulled over to put on our wet weather gear, which pretty much made it stay dry all day from that point on. Good work Roosty.

After the road had left the mountains we rode through many km's of farming land until it came out upon the coast. It was a little windy along here but not to bad and we stopped to have a look at one of the ocean views. It must get very windy along the coast here as there were quite a few trees that were growing on a sideways angle. We rolled into Riverton for another coffee and homemade pie. My pie was excellent on a cool morning. The scenery along here reminded me of the coastline along Phillip Island.

Te Waewae Bay

Davo having some fun

After we left Riverton we headed into Invercargill which was only a short ride. We found the E Hayes hardware shop in the main street pretty easily and put some coins in the parking meters and wandered on in to have a look. I tell you it was one of the weirdest things I think I've seen. It's like your typical hardware store with tools, chainsaws, etc with classic cars and bike displays in between the rows of goods. They have a couple of rows of motorcycles on display with a mock up of the Indian that you can actually hop inside, if you can fit that is.

Below is a photo of me with the genuine article, the actual bike that Burt Munro rode. It's funny that this ancient bike is faster than my R1. I know which one I'd feel safer on at 285kmh and I wouldn't be in danger of burning my knackers on the exhaust pipes on the R1.

Not much room in there
In the photo above those are the exhaust pipes on either side of the seat, anyone for roasted nuts?

Old Triumphs

Old chevys

Wayne and Geoff decided to try out the mock up Indian that you could get in. They were very squashed trying to get in there so I didn't bother to have a go because I knew I wouldn't fit. The best part of all was that it was free to go and look at all of these cars, and motorcycles. How good is that?

After we left the museum the others had suggested that we ride down to bluff, the southern most point on the south island. I didn't care either way and hadn't planned on it but we had plenty of time to spare so why not. There wasn't much really in Bluff itself so we rode up to the big hill that overlooks the town and looked at the views and took some more photo's.

Me at Bluff
Beaches at Bluff


Lands End
We rode down to the famous lands end landmark sign that was at the very bottom end of bluff. Next stop after here is Antarctica. Davo and I had to get the obligatory picture by the sign just so we could say we've been here. This is the southernmost point on the mainland that you can drive to.

There wasn't much at all in bluff really and it was an unattractive industrial town, not unlike Newcastle or Wollongong although there were some beautiful beaches around the area and I noticed that all of them were empty, not a sole on them.
Flyboy & Chillertek
So it was back into to Invercargill to fuel up for the run across to Balclutha through the Catlin's. I hadn't heard much about the Catlin's except it was a good motorcycle ride so that was good enough for me to plan my route with this road. I'm so glad we did it as it turned out to be one of the best roads of the whole trip.

Geoff and I had pulled over into this scenic lookout over the ocean to have a look at the scenery. It was here that Geoff noticed that his back guard was all wet. Looking into his top box the bottle of coke Dave gave him to carry had exploded covering his clothes and leaking out the bottom over the bike and onto the rear tyre. Lucky we pulled over and found it fairly early on. The views from the lookout were of beautiful beaches and ocean.
Tautuku Bay

Catlin's Road

The road flows through the Catlin's Conservation Park. This is one great motorcycle road, there was very little traffic on it at all, just a few tourists and the road and it wound its way through beautiful forests, hillsides and coastline. I knew we would be in for a treat when we passed a sign that said 56km winding road. For any Aussies wondering what this road is like I'd probably compare it with the Oxley highway back home. It really is that good, probably better.

It wasn't long into this road and I was constantly scraping out the centre stand in both directions. I remember one particularly nasty corner that I threw it into a left hander grinding the stand, I started to run wide and tried to turn it in tighter, to which I heard even more louder scraping noises and thinking shit. Geoff was watching all this behind probably laughing. Looks like when we got into Balclutha that the side stand had started to scrap away. That was getting to close for comfort for me.

Catlin's southern scenic route

Balclutha is only a small country town with not much there. We were staying at the Helensborough Motor inn here which was very cheap and clean. It was on the main highway but we had a unit at the back so we didn't really hear any traffic noise. We headed into town to the local pub to have some grub and few beers. Yet another fantastic day's riding and still with the shiny side up, just.

Just when you think it can't get any better, "POW" somehow it does just that, smacking you up the face and saying hey look how good this shit is! The Catlin's is an awesome bit of road!

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  1. Another great day of riding with no rain.

    I've heard the museum/hardware store is interesting to wander in. We've had friends visit it recently. Sadly he was in a rental car.

    1. Brandy the hardware shop is fuggin fantastic. What is not there to like for a guy. There are all these power tools and manly items plus motorbikes and cars. Its unusual but fantastic.

  2. As awesome as ever mate! I have a photo under the Bluff signpost too, just setting off on the round NZ in 5 days endurance ride. You've also done something I haven't which is ride through the Catlins - just about frothing at the mouth to get down there!! One of the few spots in NZ yet to visit.

    1. Gotta try and keep the standards up now even though some of the enthusiasm is ebbing. Do you mean round the north island ride? Good luck that'll be a big ride.

      Mate when you ride the Catlins, I'm telling you, YOU WILL BE frothing at the mouth in ecstasy at how good it is. You must go there before you die, its a bucket list ride.

  3. Nice. That Southern Scenic road from Manapouri/Te Anau is not too bad - doesn't seem to take too long to get to Invercargill. I think I can guess where you got the pie in Riverton...

    The Catlins is great on a good day but trust me it can be pretty foul on a bad day! Superb riding though!

    Like Geoff, I've got pics at the Bluff signpost and also at Florence Hill.

    1. The southern scenic route was great, Invercargill came up pretty fast really. I know what you mean if the weather is bad. I've ridden the Great Alpine road in the rain here in oz and it's not much fun. In the dry completely different story. Seems bluff is one of those places to go just to take a pic and not really for any other reason, been there done that!

  4. E Hayes is the most amazing place . I was talking to a guy who worked there who told me they have a huge basement not open to the public where they have every nut bolt washer or fastening known to man. A real must do for everyone. The Catlins are awesome except the odd tourist driving on the wrong side of the road!!
    Really enjoying the write ups and so glad you guys had such a great time :)

    1. I loved the E Hayes hardware store, I mean whats not to like. Wow the things you learn from those in the know hey. Yes Catlins was good, gotta be careful of the tourist all over NZ really. We are having a ball in NZ wish it didn't have to stop.

    2. Steve, it's called the Southern Cross and Andrew has done it too. The year I did it, we started at Bluff and had to check in at the top of the north island 3 days later. We then had a day to check in at East Cape lighthouse and another day to check in at Cape Taranaki lighthouse. About 4000 km in 5 days.