NZ : South Island Prologue Part 1 – Auckland to Kaikoura

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Auckland traffic was messed up.  Though we got up quite early, there was no point rushing to leave until the traffic cleared up.  We had it pegged at around 9:30, but even when we reached the main road, it still was clogged back all the way up the bridge.  No reason could be found for this massive backlog, except the fact that we’re in Auckland, home of the extremely messed up.

The trip odometer read 150km so we wouldn’t have to fill up until we reached the outskirts of the city.  Traffic seemed more hectic than usual, cars stomping and swerving frequently, pissing off doped up truck drivers making their morning courier drop-offs.  As we reached Drury, traffic finally started to thin out, and we pulled into the BP gas station just off the motorway.  I dashed to the toilet, having had too much water before we left, and Joe filled the tanks.  I came back to find him accosted by a couch rider who was also heading down to the south island.  “Hanmer Springs by the end of next week” he stated, “enjoy your ride!”

Joe: Leaving Auckland was the usual congestion.  It was nice as it seemed to ehphasize the point of this adventure for us.  We made relatively decent time considering the traffic hurdles and eventually stopped to gas up just out of town.  While filling the orange beast an Electra glide rider came up and asked where we were headed.  Giving him a quick route, he indicated he was heading the same way, but in reverse.  We chatted about things to see and the south island in general until Flora came back from inside.  With a wave we took off and headed south.  It’s nice to see people touring, and I think it doesn’t matter on what they ride, as long as they do it.

We parted ways and lazily opted for the motorway route, in New Zealand, this is still a single lane road, what you would barely call a suburbia byway.  The traffic was typically bunched up in groups, and when a passing lane came, they all sped up, then slowed by the end of it.  It was frustrating, but eventually we evaded the pack and shot through the flat Waikato farmland along a long bitumen surface that occasionally averted a river with giant bendy curves.  We had found our grove, and pushed on, mostly in silence as we contemplated the trip in our minds as we gazed past double trailer trucks moving in the opposite direction.

We stopped briefly in Matamata to visit the folks, and it was convenient that they had some healthy lunch ready for us, which we barely chewed, just swallowed.  Refreshed, it was back on the bikes, heading south again, trying to make our destination by 3pm at the latest.  Again, we merged with the traffic; it seemed we found the popular truck route.  The closer we got to Taupo, the more it thinned out, and we found ourselves again alone on sweeping roads that seemed to tear through forested blocks of rows upon rows of pine trees; like a cushions of green blanketing the hills surrounding the lake.

Joe:  I’m pretty sure our new found fuel mileage is from the dealer “re-mapping” back to the stock map at the bike’s last service.  Either way atleast it’s almost respectable now.  One less thing to worry about until hitting the two hundred kilometer mark now.

Finally, we approached Taupo, the traffic was surprisingly sparse for 2:30, which we took full advantage of by filling our tanks, we both managed to get a range of over 250 and no fuel light, which was a nice surprise.  Then, onward to the hotel, where we gathered our gear and exploded it into our room, changing, and finding some time to walk around the lake.  We did a quick loop of town, then along the beach, then back to town, had some below average dinner at a really crap place that seemed to misunderstand what service meant, then finished it off with an ice-cream from the gas station.  I think we managed to walk 8km in total, which is great as we won’t get much exercise tomorrow.

Joe:  In retrospect , I think we both wanted the day and Taupo to be over.  Which would mean we were on our “adventure”


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