Sunday, January 09, 2022

New Years jaunt - Part two

 After a hot night in our sweltering motel room we were up and out of there by 7:30 and filling the bikes before grabbing a "breakfast" at Maccas - apparently what we ate was food, but it didn't really taste like anything I'd eaten before.

While finishing our coffees (yeah, they were like coffee), Carl and Sally turned up on another of those orange bikes.  They've been based just out of Turangi for the break and had decided to join us for part of our ride before returning to their batch.  More the merrier.

As we were in John's old stamping ground it was up to him to led us astray and our first stretch took us North of Taumarunui before hooking a left onto Opotiki Road.

I'd ridden this road a few times before (once with John and Colin) and it is a neat little gravel road that gets pretty tight in places as it takes you up through some bush and then back down the other side where according to GoogleMaps the road name changes to Ararimu East Road.

I think the name changes because the road changes from a windy little thing to a more open and fast gravel road.  We followed this onto Otunui Road to our first regroup by the old school.

Turning right on Kururau Road we got to enjoy some more fast gravel, followed by a neat charge up a hill (a nifty, narrow climb with grass growing in the middle of the road) before getting spat out onto the Forgotten Highway.

A short bit of seal got us to the next gravel turn off on Roto Road.  This and Huai Road snaked their way along the side of the Ohura River until we ended up in Ohura of all places...

Team KTM

After a short, guided tour of Ohura we leapt back onto some more great gravel through to Ahititi.

From this turn-off we were on tar (some of it hot and slippery already) to the main road (SH3) and all the way South to Urenui.  In Urenui we fueled the bikes and then were a little disappointed by the cafe.  They were basically closing the kitchen at 11:30 as they had run out of tucker!  We managed to get cold drinks and a sausage roll but that was about it - and man were they turning away a lot of business...

After lunch we retraced our steps a little before turning inland again and going in search of more gravel to get us to Kiwi Road and it's bumpy little track.  The route continued to take us over some great gravel through picturesque country.  Plenty to see and plenty of animals to dodge too - we had sheep, goats, dogs and cattle (including a few bulls and one cow pointing all it's hooves at the sky).  And of course, the odd tunnel.

Eventually we got onto Kiwi Road and I'd forgotten how much reasonable gravel you do before the final climb up to the tunnel and drop down the unmaintained side.  There's nothing too bad about the track but it is a bit of a challenge for this guy on a big bike.  A lot of slow, careful picking your way around the slow corners and obstacles along the way.  Worth the effort though.

More dusty but fun roads got us past the Mount Damper Falls and back out onto the Forgotten Highway.  

This where Carl and Sally left us.  They turned for Taumarunui while we carried on up over a slick Tahora Saddle and into Whangamomona for a cold drink and a bite.

By now it was after 3pm and very hot again.  John had to get back to Greytown and Colin Waikanae so we still had plenty of riding to do just to get home.  This meant that we decided to flag anymore gravel excursions and instead stuck (or in some case didn't) to the molten tar for the trip into Stratford.

From Stratford we well and truly entered cruise mode for the trip down the 'naki.  We even got passed by a cop chasing down some deviant in a car that dared to nudge 105km/h...

A quick roadside chat in Whanganui had John gapping it on us while Colin and I carried on to Sanson for fuel and a drink before parting.  We even got to watch John ride past...

35km later I was home after around 520km in the heat and plenty of good riding.  Nice little trip away to satisfy an urge and prepare for a decent one in February...


  1. A very nice bimble, Andrew! We've done a bit of exploring round that way in the 4x4 in years gone past. You never meet anyone in Ohura as they all have to be back in their coffins by dawn :-).

  2. Don't you backward kiwis have air conditioning?
    I think I'd rather lick dirt off the ground than eat at maccas. Australia worst food outlet.

    1. Not in Taumarunui...and yeah, Mickey Dees generally sucks the big kumara...