Wellington Area Rep – Ride from the 2018 National Rally at Cromwell.
Monday 8 January dawned fine but chilly when Dave Ross and Peter and Jenny Nash departed
Cromwell at 07:20 for the start of the ride back to Picton from the 2018 National Rally. The Nash’s
were heading for a planned overnight stop in Amberly some 475kms away; Dave Ross was heading
for Christchurch to catch up with friends.
The plan was to head to Lake Tekapo for a coffee, leg stretch, comfort stop so we headed over the
bridge and turned left onto SH8 and set out for the Lindis Pass apart from a few early risers heading
in the opposite direction there was no traffic at all. We past one or two cars along the way and a
logging truck and trailer on the approach to the summit of the Lindis Pass. Due to the lack of traffic a
good cruising pace was able to be maintained this returned a distance 192kms for the first 2 hours
which was great to get this distance before the day heated up. The roads were dry however
approaching Lake Tekapo there was a strong south westerly wind gusting which helped to keep the
focus on staying upright firmly in place.
We stopped in Tekapo for 30 minutes at a Bakery and after coffee and some light food departed on
SH8 to Fairlie. The ride through to Burkes Pass was in light traffic and the continuing gusty South
Westerly wind. We started to get stuck behind drivers who were dawdling along oblivious to the
traffic build up behind them, so it was a case passing each car in the tail back one or two at a time
until we got clear.
At Fairlie we stopped for fuel before turning onto SH79 for the ride to Geraldine with a left turn north of Geraldine onto the ‘Inland Scenic Route’ SH72. The writer has travelled onthis road several times and it is never far from the Southern Alps and passes through some what looks like quality farm land. The crossing of the Rakaia river at the Rakaia Gorge is particularly scenic with its 2 bridges one two lane and the other a one lane bridge.
Dave peeled off to go through Darfield to Christchurch. We rode further north the crossing of the Waimakariri River stopping at Oxford for lunch at what used to be the Café owned by legendry Chef Jo Seagar the food and service
was still great. While at this café Ray and Ann Senior rode past and spotted us and the bike and turned around and came back and stopped for lunch too. The Seniors were on their way to Kaikoura for an overnight and then to Picton on Tuesday. We rode with Ray and Ann as far as Rangiora where we got separated before continuing to Amberly. We stayed at the Delhaven Motels & Caravan Park on SH1 in Amberly.
On Tuesday morning a GS700 was spotted parked at the back of our Motel Unit and it looked a bit
familiar and out walked Ian Sowden about to depart for Picton via SH1 so after a few pleasantries Ian
got on his way.
Dave Ross arrive at around 08:00 so we got on our way; we had booked our travel to the Rally when
the Rally was first advertised in the Newsletter when it was not clear if SH1 through Kaikoura would
be open in time, so the plan was to ride over Lewis Pass through Murchison and up to Richmond for
the night and bookings were made accordingly. The ride Richmond covered 348kms.
The road (SH1) north out of Amberly was quite busy and thinned out after we turned onto SH7
although we passed several ‘B’ trains coming the other way, so trucks may still be using the alternate
route given that SH1 is closed at night. Traffic generally was light particularly so after the Hanmer
Springs turnoff. As we ascended Lewis Pass the temperature dropped and we were in misty rain over
the summit and in these conditions, it is quite foreboding riding through overhanging bush in the
We refuelled at Springs Junction and had a coffee and comfort stop at the Roadhouse/Café
while there a 1200GS pulled in parking beside our bikes, it looked familiar and the helmet the rider
was wearing also looked familiar. The rider was a tourist from the Channel Islands and was riding
1200GS previously owned by Tibsy and wearing a helmet previously owned by Peter Nash but given
back to Motormart shortly after purchase as it became uncomfortable worn for long periods,
however, owned long enough to have a GoPro mounting attached, bike and gear having been hired.
The rider had managed to get himself a speeding ticket soon after collecting the bike.
We rode north on SH65 in dry overcast weather in light to no traffic, turning onto SH6 west of
Murchison and continuing north towards Richmond there were road maintenance work instances
with the usual stop/go men in place. We climbed over a range on a road I was told is known as the
Hope Saddle behind 4 large ‘B’ Train trucks so it was slow going. Added to this was an older
Mitsubishi Lancer being driven by a young guy who was a tailgaters tailgater this close attention
continued after 3 of these trucks pulled over to let the traffic tail back pass. Going up a hill with a
passing lane we overtook a logging truck and pulled in to let the tailgater pass which he was unable
to do so continued with his close attention despite of increased traffic making safe overtaking
impossible fortunately he turned off before we got to Richmond.
We stayed at the Richmond Motel & Holiday Park which was fine. Later in the afternoon the heaven’s opened up and we got a heavy shower which washed all the dust off the bikes.
The plan for the following day (Wednesday) was to have quiet ride through to Picton leaving at
around 08:00 and firstly refuelling in Richmond and heading through Nelson and out on SH6 in
moderate traffic over the winding hilly road up the Bryant Range and down into the Rai Valley all
very scenic. At one point on the climb there were massive earthworks being done to what looks like
a straightening of a steep long uphill curve this had the usual stop/go man in place to manage the
traffic flow. All the traffic ahead of us got stuck behind a guy driving a Work Safe marked car slowly
every where and would not pullover to let the traffic tailback pass it is hoped that his attitude and
ability to work safety is better than his attitude to road safety and driving ability.
We stopped in Havelock for a breakfast and comfort stop again at a bakery in the main street,
poached eggs on toast touched the spot. We left Havelock via the Queen Charlotte Drive for the ride
through to Picton all the camping grounds along this route looked to be full and the weather was
starting to get hot as we made our way into Picton.
After booking in at the Interlslander Terminal and parked our bikes at the head of the motorcycle
queue we wandered into the Picton Subway for more coffee and food to help fill in the couple of
hours wait for the Ferry. The ferry crossing was calm, long and boring finally getting into Wellington
at around 17:30 where it was pouring with rain, so the last 17 km of Rally ride to home was the
The trip to, at and from the 2018 National Rally was brilliant had a great time with special thanks
going to Barry & Sue Richardson for organising an excellent event.
Peter Nash – Wellington