Great Ride Number Four - Takaka Hill, South Island.
Since I've started writing up these great rides there's also been a bit of talk on the Kiwi Biker website about the best roads in the country. So far people have mentioned all the one's I've posted so I guess we motorcyclist's are in agreement on what sort of roads make up a good ride - generally scenery & corners (not necessarily in that order).
The Takaka Hill is another ride that has also been mentioned on the Kiwi Biker and I was lucky enough to get a chance to tackle it last Christmas. If you were only allowed one word to describe the road it would be "corners" - a good place to put some wear on the sides of your tyres.
This ride is similar to the Milford Sound ride as it is a there and back ride. If you're based in the Nelson/Richmond area it makes a good day trip as you get to cane the hill, stop if in Takaka or Collingwood for a bite, maybe head out to Cape Farewell (some gravel) and then turn around and tackle the hill again.
The hill road climbs up to nearly 800m and there are not many straight bits joining the corners. Once up on top there are a few areas where you can pull over and check out the great views either side of the hill.
When I rode it in December I ripped up to the top of the hill, pulled over and whipped my camera out to see if I could get a photo of the old man and my brother in-law coming up over the top on Dad's BM. Bad luck, when he came past he was passing a line of cars. Never mind, back on the bike and after him.
He pulled over a few hundred metres down the hill so I stopped. He then grabbed my camera and sent my off to have a bit of play and see if he could get a piccy of me gouging a corner. Well, he wasn't that used to my camera either but we got some nice pictures of the view...
Never mind, we carried on and did the lunch thing and went on out as far as Puponga where we climbed the hill (hot work in bike gear) and had a good look out towards the Cape & Farewell Spit. Also watched some seals surfing below. Well worth tackling a little bit of gravel.
On the way back up the hill there was a truck broken down on one of the big corners and traffic was built up behind it. I was lucky enough to get past and had no traffic to worry about all the way to the summit - yeeha! A quick stop in Kaiteriteri for some gas & an icecream before heading back into Richmond - a great ride.
I definitely recommend this is a great ride - perhaps not as scenic as some of the rides I've written up but a fantastic road. In summer you will hit a lot of traffic from Richmond to Motueka and even on the Hill so you definitely need to take care. The road was in pretty good condition although a little bumpy over the top. Probably not a good ride in winter - when we lived in Nelson many moons ago we went up there in a car to play in the snow...
I must give it another bash one day...
Google Map here: Takaka