Fletcher Bay

Day 191, Wednesday 28 February 2018

I rode over the 309 road between Whitianga and Coromandel, which is an alternative route to State Highway 25 and has a number of points of interest including pigs wandering along one stretch of the road. About a dozen km are gravel, but it is quite easy gravel.

After brunch in Coromandel town, I led a group of motorcyclists up to Colville on nice scenic sealed roads, then a smaller group on gravel roads to Port Jackson at the north end of the Coromandel peninsula, and beyond to Fletcher Bay. Wonderful views from the road, and well-behaved gravel. On the way back I separated from my companions and came back solo via Kennedy Bay, which was scenic but the gravel varied repeatedly between good, bad and ugly, which made it difficult to settle into any routine. From Coromandel town to Whitianga I thoroughly enjoyed not having the responsibility of leading a ride for the first time this trip, and threw the bike into corners exuberantly!

Distance travelled: 224 km. Total distance so far: 25,173 km

Coromandel loop

Day 190, Tuesday 27 February 2018.

I rode around the larger Coromandel loop clockwise today with the friends I’m staying with in Whitianga. We rode south to Whangamata, with a side excursion to Opoutere, then through Waihi Beach to Bowentown, skirted around Waihi, and came back along the Thames Coast Road.

I hadn’t been to Opoutere before. The sealed road leads to a car park in Wharekawa Harbour, and a track leads through a pine forest to a sandy beach with views of Slipper and Mayor islands. The pine forest has been poisoned, presumably because the trees have no commercial value and will be replaced with natives.

Bowentown has a pair of hills which were once Māori pā, which have nice views over Tauranga Harbour.

First two photos at Opoutere. Last photo at Bowentown.

Distance travelled: 311 km. Total distance so far: 24.949 km.

Whitianga

Day 189, Monday 26 February 2018

I’m spending a few days in Whitianga on the east coast of the Coromandel peninsula. This is a holiday town, well supplied with restaurants, but also with full-sized supermarkets. From here, there are wonderful roads for riding, both the sealed road around the coast, and the gravel roads across the central range and in the north of the peninsula.

Distance travelled: 214 km. Total distance so far: 24,189 km

Scenic Lookout Airport Runway

Day 188, Sunday 25 February 2018.

This parking area off Puhinui Road is the best place to watch aircraft land and take-off at Auckland Airport. I just missed a nice photo of a huge Singapore Airlines jumbo taxiing before taking off. I didn’t know it existed until recently, since I don’t usually approach the airport from the south/east.

The area was busy, with all parking spaces full. It seems that it is popular to sit here and watch the planes.

1

Distance travelled: 44 km. Total distance so far: 24,424 km

Okura

Day 187, Saturday 24 February 2018.

I went exploring in the Okura area today. Okura is a small settlement on the south side of the Okura River, which is part of the Long Bay-Okura Marine Reserve. Okura seems to have no facilities other than a community hall. I was there at high tide, and the road ended abruptly on a steep downhill slope into the water. This is a tricky place to turn a motorcycle around!

I then took Vaughans Road east, as my map shows a several roads going off Vaughans and approaching the river. However, Vaughans ends in a locked gate, and an extensive development site. I thought at the time this was part of the Long Bay development which I visited in October, but it might be the extension of this into Okura which I understood is still being considered by the Environment Court.

First photo: Long Bay development viewed from Vaughans Road. Other photos: Okura River from the end of Okura River Road.

Distance travelled: 61 km. Total distance so far: 24,380 km

Motorcycle parking in Auckland CBD

Day 185, Thursday 22 February 2018.

I had a busy day, but I rode into the Auckland Central Business District. Auckland Transport are motorcycle-friendly, and provide free street-parking for motorcycles in the CBD, and also free parking in its parking buildings. The street-parking is time-limited, and in some areas it always seems to be full, while in other areas there are always parks available. The parking buildings do not have time limits as far as I know, but the parking in them reserved for motorcycles is usually full. However, there are always areas too small for a car to park which are suitable for motorcycles. They are marked with yellow boundaries. A few of these have “motorcycles prohibited” signs, but most seem to be available for parking. I’ve parked in these areas for years without ever being hassled.

motorcycle parking

Distance travelled: 11 km. Total distance so far: 24,279 km

Tāwharanui and Baddeleys Beach

Day 184, Wednesday 21 February 2018.

I went back to Tāwharanui Regional Park today. I’ve been monitoring the progress of sealing Takatu Road, and sometime since my last visit in December it is complete. This is now a very pleasant road to ride along, and the destination has always been worthwhile. Today I visited at high tide, and noticed that a flat rocky outcrop at one end of Anchor Bay was under water, while on my previous trip it was well above water level, and I wandered around it.

I also visited Baddeleys Beach, a small sandy beach on the south side of the Tāwharanui peninsula. It’s nice when the tide is in but the shore is shallow so the tide goes a long way out.

Distance travelled: 203 km. Total distance so far: 24,268 km

Riding in gusty winds

Day 183, Tuesday 20 February 2018.

Cyclone Gita is hitting New Zealand well south of Auckland, but we are feeling the effects of its peripheral winds. I took a small group of Ulyssians to Port Waikato today. The Waikato River, normally very calm, was showing white peaks, and gusts blew us around the road a bit.

Riding in the wind can be tricky. Some bikes are more suited to it than others. I took my sports-tourer today. It’s a heavy bike, which makes it less affected by the wind. In contrast, my adventure bike is lighter, higher and has a windscreen which is more nearly vertical, and is much more affected by gusts. The adventure bike also has less power, and is noticeably slowed by head winds.

On the motorway coming home after lunch, the gusts were stronger, and it took extra concentration to keep the sports-tourer in its lane.

Cyclone

Photo from https://earth.nullschool.net

Distance travelled: 199 km. Total distance so far: 24,065 km

Birkenhead War Memorial Park

Day 182, Monday 19 February 2018.

I explored the Birkenhead War Memorial Park today. There’s a cricket playing field at the south entrance, and a second playing field behind it which is currently the scene of massive construction. Behind that is a series of lovely little paths following a small stream, with lush tree ferns all around. It certainly doesn’t feel like its part of a city! The paths eventually led me back to the far corner of the second playing field, and I skirted the construction zone to get back to where I’d parked my bike.

Distance travelled: 26 km. Total distance so far: 23,866 km