Charge Of The Midgets!! New Zealand's Northland 2014


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
The last one has been too long ago...but in memory it still seems like yesterday.

Even though the last week blitzed by like a movie at warp-speed, things finally turned good with a few hours to spare before the 3-and-a-bit-hrs flight across the “dutch”.

The way any decent trip should kick off...cheers!


So...what’s up this time?
Oh yeah...New Zealand’s Northland.
Follow the call of “the Platypus”.
Sticking the nose into all those tucked-away places that
the normal tourist will never see.
Follow the lure of the fabled, little 110cc tiddler... letting the 7.5hp rip away and make those skinny pushbike wheels plough through lots of the deeeeep, coaaarse NZ gravel.
And sand...and beaches....and lots of other places those things just shouldn’t go and definitely weren’t made for.


When Bernard promised 2 “ready-to- ADVtravel” Posties, there was not a split second of hesitation.


Add a welcome like this and nothing can go wrong....we all know that’s bullshit, but it sounds... hopeful?




“Where’re you goin?...
“Yeah, my brother was there last year, had a great time with the jet-boats and that train-ride across to the other side of the island...and the chopper ride to the glaciers...yaddayadda groan...

Wrong island, buddy.



“ mean that stinky place, wotchamacallit...Rotorua, that’s it... and those Hobbits. Did a boat ride, too, he did...around all those little islands and a day around that Coriander-place, near Auckland, you know...yeah, Coromandel, that’s it.




Just the bit of NZ north of Auckland.... that narrow, sometimes barely 35km wide piece of heaven that’s been so comprehensively written off as a motorcycle wasteland, hmmm.

There’s nothing much there apart from a handful of tourist spots like the
1= Coromandel (which isn’t really Northland, either)
2= Bay of Islands

and a couple of second-string places like

3= Cape Reinga
4= 90Mile Beach

How about we’ll go and check it out, aye?


The slow way!

A HUGE THANKS to our fabulous hosts Sue and Bernard for making us feel so welcome, it left us speechless and humbled. We've never learned so much about NZ before as in the time spent together...thanks for the patience and ALL the answers, GREAT stuff.


And then, of course, the 2 stars of the show, Hewie + Louie (or something like that).
2 CT’s in their prime, lovingly fettled to perfection and shiny grandeur!




The Steel Pony panniers proved a bit tall... Trim some of the plastic lip off that tub to locate it between the uprights of the rack, buckle the top-bag on top of the crossover straps to hold it all down...and Bob’s your uncle.


Ready packed and with a hopeful eye into the grey, overcast heavens it’s all set to roll the next morning, starting the caper with a dayride from Hamilton towards the coast via some backroads and gravel, some of which might even be familiar territory from the Hobbits+Bobbits Ride a few years back.


A HUGE THANKS to our fabulous hosts Sue and Bernard for making us feel so welcome, it left us speechless and humbled. We've never learned so much about NZ before as in the time spent together...thanks for the patience and ALL the answers, GREAT stuff.

Yes, a big thank-you from me as well! :cdle Maybe one day we can try and re-pay our debt?!


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
Not too sure about all the details of the route here (the “big 250” was leading the way), but it should be fairly close.
Bernard will hopefully straighten out the kinks...


While dry, the skies don’t look too flash and Jeezaz, is it blowing or what?

Adding to the ~70-80kmh gusts, there’s a mind-blowing 7.5hp on tap, which feed into some dodgy $27 Chinese soft-knobbies by the name of “Golden Boy” (see where this is getting dodgy?)


Golden Boys aren’t quite round
... but rather sort of oval, which makes for great traction in the flat sections and some rather interesting moments over the high spots
. At 20kmh things are a gentle, rockinghorse-style, up + down, the horizon sort of wobbling along with the front end going light and spongy, rhythmically... at 40kmh the world is at an even keel again, but now both ends are flighty and the whole affair is fairly howdyacallit??? .....“skimming the surface”.

At 60kmh you’re shittin’ yourself... 70 it’s getting out of control in a bloody hurry.... a downhill-75 with a truck overtaking and a gusty crosswind it’s white-knuckled packed-the-daks-to-the-elastic while the tiny 110cc mill is about to explode and the 1/2inch boingers are sitting on the blocks. It’s fugging TERRYFYING!!

There’s a blind lefthander at the bottom of that 75kmh downhiller....and the white knuckles extend to the kneecaps now!

THERE AINT NO BRAKES!!.....and the $27 Golden Boys go willynilly walkabouts, the dinkytoy rubber squirming and wailing any which way short of popping off the rims.

Now transplant the above to the 4” deep, 1.5” thick gravel of the backroads of the Northland...or the hardpack-sand of the beaches... and it’s pretty obvious where the fun-bit kicks in, aye?

BLOODY AWESOME, I tells ya!!
Harden the f&^k up, sissie!!

Typical Waikato district....



The REAL Wild Turkey!! Abundant...and running in flocks all over the Northland.


Chaperoned by the mighty XT250


It sure shows how the wind blows around here.
Te Akau Wharf Rd.... (check the Gmaps link above)



...which ends in a cluster of amazing “pancake” rock chimneys opposite the small seaside resort of Raglan.



“Cool Dude”



More delicious Waikato gravel...


....and a MONSTROUS roast-pork-roll from the Raglan Bakery,


...before more rolling green hills and the descent off the Old Mountain Rd. under a still-grey afternoon sky.
Beaut piece of gravel, that Old Mountain Rd., looking over the top of Hamilton.


Ready for the start into the Northland in the morning....


What a sweet first day....and what a re- introduction to the fabulous CT's and the delights of the Golden-Boys


Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
Figuring that cruising at 60-70kmh isn’t really all that healthy on a freeway, a route was picked to use the small country-roads, and gravel where ever possible, to sneak into Auckland... then use the city streets (and –speeds) to fiddle our way through the widely-draped-around-the-bays + harbours-city to pop out at the northern head of the harbour entrance for a look at Huia and Whatipu Camp.... trying for the Donald McLean Lookout for a nice view across the expansive Manukau Harbour.


Low cloud and drizzle make for a bit of a subdued start, but only 20k’s north the drizzle stops...the abandoned roads make for some eerie cruising, not a living thing to be seen any which way we turn. It’s a deeeep breath of a place that hasn’t gone entirely nanny-stupid like much of Australia... the lack of signs, lines and road-furniture of all kinds is a HIGHLY welcome change and liberating in a lot of ways.

That alone is certainly worth an NZ-ride on its own!!

The contrast was crushing within the first few meters when picking up the car at the Airport Parking in Melbourne afterwards again.

FREE!! Hoo-bloody-ray


We quickly duck into the Hanua Ranges, and a possible meet-up with someone from the ADVriding NZ forum...then enjoy the first serious set of twisties just south of Clevedon, followed by another sixpack on the Twilight Rd. to Brookby....the uphill struggle in 3. and even 2. gear replaced by squealing brakes and some white-knuckle curvy action, taking a half-dozen bites at each corner while the GoldenBoys insist on following their own lines.

We’ll have to get this sorted at some stage...

Auckland has a great system of well-signed cross-routes which negate any need for a GPS...just follow some route-number until it intersects with another chosen route ...then follow that. Repeat until the suburbs fall by the wayside...Bravo Auckland!

Still threatening...but full of promise!


Skimming the water’s edge at Huia Bay


The turn inland, across the narrow gravel pass to Whatipu Camp is a sea of green with a dark-brownish beach under grey and black clouds which are hiding our sought-after Lookout.
A carpark, some bushwalkers, more drizzle....



Mapping the next ride...
Staff member
Back to Huia Bay and things look better again...



There’s enough water for half a footy-team bursting out of that shower head down at the beach...


Sculpted by nature...


The ride north on the “Scenic Drive” to Waitakere becomes a “dodge-em” trip... the clouds coming from the nearby coast envelope the hills and it’s thick pea-soup fog, drizzle alternating with heavy dumps, 2” of water rushing down the asphalt...and speeds down to an absolute crawl to finally find an overhanging roof at a local fire-station for some temporary cover.
The muesli bar in the jacket-pocket has turned to a plastic-wrapped sausage of grainy slush...

The name fits just perfectly...


Some dog-legging on backroads get us to Muriwai, making quarters at the “Fools+Horses Homestay”.
Hmmmm....the fools bit says it all, just do yourself the favour and keep riding in your wet jox to look for something else....further inland is best.

The grump at the Caravan Park doesn’t like motorbikes...while the guys at the beach-kiosk flog us some ridiculously-priced, end-of-day, deep-fried mush in last week’s newspaper...yo, the local version of fish ‘n chips.
Back to "Puke Rd.", I guess...

But....BUT!!!’s stopped raining and things are drying somewhat. Enough for a little look around...



Even some of the locals are out to play...



Back to the "Fools"....
Looking quite neat... but maaan, a decent clean-up of the joint would start with a stick of gelly.

It’s getting dark early.... and the blackbellies are scraping across the undulating landscape before unloading massive amounts of water all through the night.
Trying to keep the sleeping bag off the sticky bed uprights, we listen to the endless hammering on the tin-roof while the storm howls about the corners of the place....praying for the soft-panniers and top bags left on the bikes out in the open to be REALLY! waterproof....there’s no cover available at all.


The good news....there are some more muesli bars tucked away in the footwell of the sleeping bag.
Just like the pack of ground coffee for the plunger-cups....brecky is SAFE, YEAH!
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