Waikato Bay of Plenty September 2012

Well after a long break with lots of interruptions and distractions, a wet winter and not as much riding as we would usually enjoy, the boys are on the road again. A round trip through the Waikato and Bay of Plenty south of Auckland. Jono, Justin and I planned to meet in Rotoiti near Rotorua.

Jono and I left on Friday morning and took the long way, Jono on his Yamaha Tenere 660 and I on my BMW K1200s.

Jono is smiling because of the gravel road behind us.

Comfort break on State Highway 22

We travelled through the Hunua Hills in South Auckland and linked up with SH22 from Tuakau to Raglan. This route is one of the classics for riders from the upper North Island and covers rolling back country roads, bush and river valleys.

With plenty of stops to rest, coffee and talk and at an easy pace we arrived for lunch in Raglan. The food was excellent at “The Shack” Cafe. Raglan has a special character as a West Coast beach town and a mixture of alternative country lifestyle, Raglan has a reputation as one of the best point breaks in the world with almost constant swells coming off the Tasman Sea to the west. After lunch we went to Manu Beach and Whale Bay to see the surf. The sun was warm, the sea was mirror calm but there was a regular 2 metre swell providing long runs for a large group of surfers.

Surf break – Whale Bay, Raglan

Looking west at Raglan

We then made our way across South Waikato, through Kihikihi, Mangakino, Atiamuri to arrive in Rotoiti after dark. We were deceived by the spring temperatures in Auckland and were not prepared for the remains of winter in Central North Island, down to 6 degrees C, which is not much fun if you’re not properly  dressed on a motorbike.

Justin had  taken the more direct route, having left after work in Auckland, and arrived a few minutes after us. It was Jono’s birthday. We stayed with Justin and Jono’s parents, Mike and Jenny, who are always hospitable and after dinner in Rotorua (Chinese, but don’t ask Jono about his thoughts on the food) we settled into the Cabin overlooking Lake Rotoiti. We played Mikes old LP’s (yes good vinyls) until 2:30 am.

The Cabin

Just before Sunrise at Rotoiti

Sunrise at Rotoiti

In the morning we left for brunch in Taupo. We rode through the Waikiti Valley and Atiamuri. You would think a nice sunny day would be warm, but no. At least not until about 1:00 pm. We dropped into the Taupo Raceway to watch V8 supercars practicing and then made our way back to Rotoiti.

Lake Taupo

Dinner was a Lowe family classic cooked on an open fire (bitterly cold again, but then I’m a Jafa).

The trip home was through Tauranga, back across the Kaimai’s, through the back of Walton to Tahuna. Jono took the direct route back to Auckland and Justin and I met Andre at the Kaiaua Fish Cafe for a late lunch. The ride back to Auckland around the Pohutukawa coast was another classic, at last riding ourselves of winter lethargy and enjoying all the bends and straits that make this road famous. A quick coffee at Tony’s Maraetai Beach cafe and then home. A very nice weekend ride with good mates. Can’t get much better than that.

Three Volcanoes at Lake Taupo

PS: We all have a lot of blogs to complete, in my case on our March South Island Trip, Justin on the Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica restoration, Andre on his 916 restoration, and plenty more. Watch this space.

About maxyg

I am married to Glen, I am an architect living in Auckland, New Zealand, and I ride a Ducati 999s
This entry was posted in Connections, Favourite Rides, Trips and Events and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Waikato Bay of Plenty September 2012

  1. Aaron Dove says:

    Another great read Max, as always I wish I was there 🙂
    Looking forward to more stories.

    PS. I’ve just bout a ’79 XS750 doer-upper – I understand Andre has one as well?

    • maxyg says:

      Hi Aaron. It’s easy to satisfy the wish. Get yourself here.
      I haven’t seen Andre’s bike (shame on me) but another friend has finished a cafe racer adaption which I am looking forward to seeing.

  2. Don says:

    Great stuff Max and well written with stunning pics – any biker on the planet reading that is going to be envious. Music from old vinyls too and a few beers with your mates – doesn’t get much better after a good day on the bike.

    A ‘Jaffa’ – I guess that’s the local term for the guys from the northern hotspots.

    Would you be willing and able to copy and lift your post over to from-a-distance just to give our followers a taste of biking in NZ? Leaving a link to this brilliant website Tailpipes and headlamps ofcourse.

    regards – Don

  3. maxyg says:

    Hi Don
    Yes we think we are very lucky. We live in a city of 1.5 million people and within two minutes we start riding the roads shown in our posts. By the way Auckland, being the largest city by far in NZ, does attract a lot of unkind comments from those outside the city. We are referred to by non-Aucklanders as JAFA’s (Just Another F’n Aucklander). It is also referring to a Jaffa, a chocolate lolly coated with red/orange sugar. We take it a term of endearment, but I think we are dillusional.

    Re posting our site in from-a-distance, that is very kind of you. I will organise this ion my next post.


  4. Chris Smith says:

    Hi Max,
    Been a while, I know. Great write-up of a ride I’ve done most of; almost makes me homesick! Just had to drop you a line. Esther and I are currently in Bolivia on a four month stint that keeps getting extended. No bike unfortunately but every road i travel i think of you; this place will blow any bikers mind!! I have sub-consciously devised an amazing bike trip through this place that is going on the bucket list. Cant think of anyone i’d rather do it with. Hope we can talk more soon.
    Regards to Glenn and family,
    Cheers, Chris.

    • maxyg says:

      Hi Chris

      Yes it has been a while. When you are back in NZ, perhaps we can catch up. Incidentally I have a friend who runs a motorbike tour company in Bolivia. Anyway, all the best to you, Esther and the family.


      • Chris Smith says:

        Thanks Max, would love to catch up.
        Is your friend Cory Rowden by any chance? I have emailed him regarding casual hire of a bike to head from La Paz to Macchu Pichu and back?

      • maxyg says:

        Hi Chris Yes it is Cory

        Sent from my iPhone Kind Regards Max Grant ARCUBE Architects

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s