A year goes so quick, this time last year I was dodging rocks in NZ high country following Remotemoto’s great trails, I have penciled in a return trip in April but we will see.
I was just going to do an Ultimate adventure mag on you guys and rerun my ADB story from last year but as I hate reruns I thought I better do it properly.
Using Remotemoto planning was too easy, with GPX tracks and route notes all I had to do was follow the line. Weight limits for the flight offered all sorts of advantages, telling my wife I really did need these new boots as they are 1.2kg lighter etc.
As I’m not very well known in NZ, Suzuki NZ offered up two brand new DR650’S set up and ready to go for Wolfy and I. strangely Wolfys used heaps more fuel and always seemed to be revving hard, poor thing, whilst mine was treated like a baby, washed at every opportunity the bikes were returned like new.
The first day was a gentle run out of Christchurch, relaxed and without a worry I cruised past towns reluctant to stop, only to find no fuel at the next town and after laying the bike on its side to get the last few drops pushing the last 50m to the fuel station.
He may have been cheeky but he shouted drinks as our cards were not working at the pub, carry some cash as this happened a few times over the next week
My dust free ride was shattered by Josh, the fine white dust was everywhere, amazing a place so green can have so much dust, and thankfully photo opportunities happened often opening clean air pockets.
The next day was a series of passes as we zig-zagged our way south, beautiful and rugged, almost deserted but the road surface was good, creek crossing small so we made good time.
The afternoon was our first real look at the high country, at around 1700m it was rock city, as we swapped from ridge to ridge, descending crossing streams and rivers and climbing again all was good. Stunningly beautiful my photo count was rising alarmingly. Soon we were above the snow line and there were rocks and more rocks, before lots of switchbacks, steep drops and incredible views we descended into Ranfurly.
Wolfy decided to walk to get tea and I rode, no one seemed to be around and after a day in the middle of nowhere I cut the corner and headed for the takeaway. No one except the cops, despite only 30m on the wrong side of the road they pinged me for it and with the cameraman from the NZ highway patrol, I declined to make an interesting story and star on NZ tv.
They thought it was funny, lots of international tourists on the wrong side of the road but they drove on that side in their country, yeah yeah $170 bucks later free to go.
Day three was different again, the morning was spent dodging huge rock formations in farmland followed by a high country lake, dropping back down to civilization before spending the whole afternoon on old man range complete with rock steps and snow.
Somehow I missed the lunch stop so we snacked by a picturesque river and saved ourselves for tea at Alexandra. We may have saved our appetites’ but it took a big Maori to save Wolfy from choking as he tossed him around performing the Heimlich maneuver
Day four was up and down, literally. We climbed up then we went back down again and repeat, lakes, great views and then Nevis in all its glory, high then cross creeks then high again, good road surface, incredible views.
We came within a few kilometers of Queenstown today but no dirt there so we kept on going to Cromwell, only about 30km from last night’s accommodation but nearly 400km the way we went.
The races were on in Cromwell and the town was jumping, our accommodation was filled with so many attractive young girls, later it was girls gone wild and like a bee to honey 100 odd young blokes turned up and partied all night, the next morning there was people lying all over the ground, heaps of empty bottles.
Bleary-eyed we headed back into the high country with around twenty-six gates to open and close.
That afternoon we ran into the KTM rally about to tackle the thirty odd river crossings we just completed, it was unbelievable how much dust these guys had to contend with, horrendous, we soon turned off and headed to the foothills of the mountains, brilliant streams bright blue flowed beside the road.
A late lunch had the stragglers and the injured from the KTM crew, the sweeps had their hands full. A leisurely ride into Twizel for a great pub meal and much better night’s sleep.
The last day was happy but sad, flowers lined the backroads, more trips into the foothills, river crossings you could have gone rafting on, followed by the green ridges from day one back into Christchurch, a quick scrub and we returned the DR’s unmolested.
The next few days were spent flogging a renta-racer corolla over the west coast for some business meetings for Wolfy then the long trip home with Emirates because they allow more luggage. It took ages for the burning desire to go back, about the same time the snow came back and buried all that good riding.
Josh from Remotemoto thinks April/May is the best so still time to plan your adventure using Josh’s fantastic routes. Hopefully, this will be us again, time will tell, the top of the south island beckons.