Queenstown and Paradise...

I took a short ride out to Paradise this morning... Who knew, but from Queenstown it's a short hour ride away! I think the ride to "paradise" might have been better than the destination, as is often the case.

Queenstown is a hussle-bussle of tourist activity, but at it's heart it is set in just such an extremely attractive place accepting the throngs of tourists is easy to do. But a short ride down the lake shore away it opens up into beautiful country.

One of the things that continually surprises me about New Zealand is how diverse the geography is in such a relatively short distance.


Photo gallery online...

I've added some more photos to the blog, and you can see the entire collection of photos at:

My Online Album


Heli-Hiking in Franz Joseph Glacier

Way cool! Take a short heli ride up the glacier, with the pilot hot-dogging it in a way that they don't do in Hawaii anymore.

Hiking amoung the crevaces and ice caves was very cool!

Tomorrow, off to Wanaka.


Central West Coast: Pray for rain :-)

When I woke up this morning to more rain, I thought the day might be a write-off. It slowed to a drizzle with heavy overcast, so I loaded up the bike, donned full rain gear and headed south down the coast.

The seas where rough and stormy, adding an extra element to there beauty, but the real secret was the waterfalls... Dozens of them, cascading down from the mountains into the streams and rivers and then into the ocean. Not something you can plan on, but it was a pretty amazing site. Of course there where a few "water crossings" on the main highway as well, some quite deep with flooding, but that just added to the adventure.

Coming into Hoktika, another cool little town, the sun finally came out again and I'm glad I decided to stick it out on the west coast rather than heading inland and over to Christchurch.

Will be staying tonight at the old schoolhouse, another highly rated backpacker!

See ya later...

- Paul.


Farewell spit and Golden Bay

Once you pass the cruchy, hip town of Takaka, you are in the land of
beautiful bays, pristine ocean dunes and one lane bridges. Really
wonderful out here, kind of a cross between Amagansett and the North
Shore of Kauai. And great motorcycling roads! The paved sections are
scenic and twisty, with plenty of dirt roads and paths to explore.

The "backpackers" in this area are fantastic as well. Spent a night at
the Shambala, which is right on the beach and picking your own mussels
for dinner is a s simple as taking a stroll at low tide, and the Inn
Let, a little farther down  the road which had a wonderful private
cottage for little cash.


Abel Tasman National Park

As quickly as they came the rain clouds left. This morning was bright
and sunny, and I thought maybe a day-cruise through the NP might be

Sea Kayakers bob all over the place, and a shoreline "tramp" trail
goes from one end of the park to the other. "Water Taxi's", small
aluminum power boats, run in and out of the coves allowing one-way
hikes and kayak routes, also makes a fun few-hour cruise.

When the swell's hit 2-meters, though, the ride became just a tad less fun...

After return, I essentially rode the same route a little farther
inland through the winding mountain roads. Very nice riding, great
vistas where you can see huge stretches of coastline and bays and

Takaka is the town on the North End. A crunchy little town that is
sort of a cross between Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauai and
Boulder 15 years ago. And of course the ubiquitous Internet cafe...

I'm off to the beach!

Africa Twin

What happens when you ride on an unfamiliar dirt road, with jet lag, too fast, on an unfamiliar bike, with a cold?

Minor body modifications to a very nice Africa Twin.

Sorry mate... will be fixed soon!

Motorcycling in New Zealand!

Four hours behind... plus a day!

Still a little strange that I'm starting my weekend here while you are still stuck in so, like, yesterday.

New Zealand seems like a great vacation spot for us US'ers... Minimal jet-lag if you can manage to get a nights sleep on the plane, they speak the same language, even use dollars! Plus with us pissing off the rest of the world so quickly and profoundly, there are fewer places where it's "o.k." to be from the US. The friendly Kiwi's just make fun of George Bush and invite you over for dinner! Perhaps a little less of a real adventure than traveling someplace where you really have to learn a new culture. Not all is rosey for travelers in kiwiland, though. Kiwi's pay a *lot* for everyday kind of stuff. Even though $1US equals about $1.3NZ, things seem to cost at least twice as much. Cars and motorcycles are really expensive, gas of course is pricey, but the real surprise is the cost of food, and the cost of a B&B if you want to go upscale from the comparatively inexpensive "backpackers" which is roughly equivalent to a hostel. Fortunately backpackers seem to be all over, so if you only want to spend $25NZ a night, and don't mind sharing a room, no problem.

Kiwi's are really friendly, giving people. Come on over, I'll lend you a great motorcycle for a month! Let's go over to my friends place for a great barbecue! How bout I show you all the great places to ride

Lots and lots of coastline and plenty of mountains with minimal development makes for fantastic scenery as well. I've only seen a small part of NZ so far, but plenty of amazing views and vistas.

And did I mention twisty roads? And great dual-sport roads? Plenty. Though be careful of the oncoming traffic, or you will earn a new nickname. The Transalp that Murray has lent me is doing great. At first, it felt a little underpowered and squirrelly int he corners, but I've settled into a rhythm with it and am starting to appreciate it's smoothness as well as my ability to flat-foot it in the dirt. I'm so used to riding a tall bike it's a revelation to actually be able to get both feet on the ground!

But another downside I've been warned about, rain! Poured all afternoon today, so I ducked in doors and started reading my book, and had some down time to write my first blog post!