Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Taranaki Tunnel Tour - Part 2

So where was I?  Oh, that's right, we'd just popped out of tunnel 2 or 4 and it was time to head for Whangamomona for a late lunch.  But first there was a little more gravel on Junction Road to get us back onto the Forgotten Highway.

Our last little bit of excitement was the Whanga Saddle and all its neat twists and turns before dropping back down into Whanga itself.  As per usual on a weekend we weren't the only bikes there, two filthy trail bikes and an even filthier 1190 were parked up having found some even more interesting scary roads.

Nice day in Whanga

Rose between 2 thorns...

Stephen finally stopped moving...
It took quite a while to get the tribe fed so there was plenty of time for the telling of tall tales and while we were there the heavens really opened up helped me make the decision to put my wets back on for the rest of the afternoon.

We finally got back underway sometime around 3 and next up was the familiar tunnel on the main road itself - I wonder how many times I've ridden it now?

Next up we had a fairly long stint towards Kiwi Road.  One part I really liked was the drop down Okau Road following Reuben on his KTM Supertanker (45L onboard!).

Next up was the scramble up Kiwi Road to Tunnel number 5.  Having done this on the last tunnel tour with the BRR I knew what to expect - narrow, twisty, rough and tricky work.  It was slow going in places with 2nd gear most of the time and even first a couple of times.  The Tenere got a bit hot and bothered but seemed to handle everything pretty well - I reckon that even though she's heavier than the Vee, she is the better bike in all situations.

Here's a few snippets of the climb up the hill:

Out the other side of the tunnel the road improves and I had a blast following Reuben again and even managed to pass him at one stage.  He got me back when there was some fresh (and deep) gravel later on when we hit Moki Road.  There was also a few muddy looking sections which I took nice and easy too.  Still a lot of fun though...

The last tunnel of the ride came just up the road a bit on Uruti Road and then we eventually ran out of gravel as we came out on the coast just North of Urenui.  It looked like a nice day was slowly ending there...

At the bottom of the hill we stopped and then started separating as people either made their way to petrol, motels or in my case home.

Homeward bound

After saying thanks to Phil and seeya later to some of the others I took off and made for Urenui.  The Tenere had been pretty fugal on the fuel during the ride (5L/100km) so when I hit Urenui I still hadn't got a low fuel warning and kept on rolling...only to have the alarm come on at Motnui...

I turned off onto 3A and aimed for Inglewood for my top up but when I hit Inglewood there wasn't a station on the South side of town so I carried on under skies that were starting to look fairly dark and ominous.

By the time I hit Stratford the sky was really black and I managed to squeeze in just over 20L (so theoretically nearly 3L to spare) for the 378km the bike had done - not too shabby.  I also popped on my Goretex gloves and then hit the road.

As it happened I managed to avoid any real rain only had  a few spits coming into Palmy.  It was quite a good and quick (5.5L/100km) trip back and I got to enjoy my Denali's and their motorist zapping potential a few times too.  I rocked up home a smidgen before 8pm and in this order: lit the fire, had a hot shower and then fed my worms - what a great day out on the bike.

So, a big thanks to Phil for organising the ride and leading us around all over the 'naki in search of holes through the rock - it's a cracker route and one I'll be keen to do again sometime.  My GPS decided not to record any tracks for 90% of the day so the map below was created from Phil's GPS route that he sent out and I don't think that we deviated from it.  The Tenere's (except the one in NP) show the approximate location of all the tunnels.

Oh, and finally, here's all the tunnels in one video:


  1. You missed the Moki Tunnel? Tunnels in order were Otaoroa Rd. Matau Tunnel, Makahu Tunnel, Matau again. Hobbits Hole, Kiwi Rd, Moki Tunnel the Uriti Tunnel. You would have gone through the Moki but haven't filmed it?

    1. Doh! probably got it on video somewhere - there was a lot to go through...

      And my memory sucks...

  2. Thanks to Phill for the great day, and Andrew for the excellent blog on the ride. Kiwi-Alan Patea.

  3. What a fab day out riding mate, little bit jealous.
    Those tunnels are fantastic, looks like tunnel number 3 had a bit more money spent in its construction. I didn't realise how many of those dodgy little tunnels you actually had.

    1. They are cool alright. Someone was saying that the rail line (now defunct) has over 20 of them over its distance.

  4. That Tenere sure is a nice looking bike.

    Sounds like you had a lot of fun. Good that the hotel could accommodate so many diners too at one time.

    Thanks for the summary video of the tunnels. So narrow, but very cool.

    1. You're not wrong :)

      The pub is pretty used to it - it's a very popular spot on weekends and for tourists.

      Apparently I missed a tunnel, so may have to edit that video...

  5. Awesome blog/rid Report Andrew. This ride was right up there as one of my most enjoyable. Great roads, awesome scenery and great company. Cant ask for better.

    1. Thanks Martyn. A fantastic day out on the bike alright!