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Pancake Rocks, Wanaka and Queenstown

Pancake Rocks, Wanaka and Queenstown

Now that I’ve experienced the Abel Tasman, the highlight of the north of the south island (i just like saying that) can be crossed off my list and now I must continue to the south of the south island! 😉

Back toward Nelson and over the west coast.. It’s another beautiful day to ride a motorcycle in New Zealand!

I made my way to Punakaiki also known as Pancake Rocks.

It’s easy to see why they call them pancake rocks..  I could take on one of those stacks with a bucket of maple syrup about now!

They are actually formed from layers of mud and sediment packed between layers of limestone.  Earthquakes lifted the limestone out of the ocean bed and erosion has carved them into what they look like today.

It’s late enough, and pretty enough in the afternoon that I decide to stay here and look for a campsite.

Well a campsite here is $20, and this cute little cabin WITH a heater is $30.. I’ll take the cabin!

Forecast says rain, so I cover Tony up for the night.  For now it looks well worth wandering on to the beach for sunset..

The sun was nice yesterday, but today the forecast might be right.  Time to uncover Tony and hit the road!

New Zealand is just pretty.  I haven’t seen an ugly spot yet.  I could easily keep the photos coming, particularly here on the South Island.

Ooooooo!  I’ve crossed a lot of one-lane bridges in NZ, but this is a super long one!  How the heck am I supposed to see if somebody is coming up the other side from this distance!  I jump on and hope for the best.

I’ve got LED lights.  One campervan on the other side saw ME and waited.. yay!

Woo hoo!  It was fun to hit some gravel for a bit even if it was only due to construction.

I’m loving this coast line.  It could easily be listed as one of the most beautiful coastal rides in the world.  This mix of fern forest, mist, and roley poley easy roads, views views views.

I stopped for his night in Franz Josef.  This town looks beautiful and peaceful, but it’s a fooler!  The helicopters are flying low, in and out non-stop.  When the sun went down, I thought, “Wow, what a difference.”  But then the backpackers come out, which is right through the whole town, and they party loud and hard all night.  So!  I didn’t stay long, but the one night I did, I found my peace.  I went to the spa!  I got my first massage in ages and the massuese was happy to tell me my muscles are very tight and might be shortened on my shoulders from riding the bike too long.. Oops!  I then got into the hot pools at the spa. Big beautiful pools all at different temperatures.  It was nice to sit in the steam (even though they were full of backpackers too) and just soak surrounded by that lovely forest and stars in the sky.

Another morning and I’m packed and on the road early!  It never did rain yesterday and the forecast said lots of rain again today. I’m getting wrong forecasts always throughout the world but these ones are way off!

At least it looked like it wanted to rain for a while!  The clouds thinned out and I made my way to Wanaka.  The landscape changed a fair bit since I’m getting closer to the bottom of the South Island.  A lot of the “Lord of The Rings” filming sites are around here and I can see perfectly why they chose these locations!

I found a great place for camping near Wanaka.

How pretty is this with the fall colors!

From Wanaka I ride to Queenstown.

Grape leaves in the vineyard are turning great colors this time of year.

Awesome road, awesome riding!  I can’t get over the paved roads here though.  When I first started riding on them in Auckland, I remember thinking that I hope this doesn’t last long.. but it does.  The entire country of New Zealand paves it’s roads with these super big rigid rocks.  They are eating right through my Heidenau tires and for those of you who know, Heidenau make the hardest rubber tire and usually last far longer than any other tires.  Not here.  That size of stone is usually found on loose gravel roads, and gets moved around when you ride.  Here they are stuck permanent and it’s not smooth rock.  So that’s my tiny gripe, but only because I was stopped for construction I took the photo below and prompted me to go on my little rant.  Otherwise, I AM LOVING THIS RIDE!!!!

The road into Queenstown is well worth the trip.

I’m happy to see my wonderful friends Dick and Diana again. What an honor it is to stay in their gorgeous second home! I’m feeling very spoiled again by the Hubbards.

How’s that for a view while working on our computers!

Dick showed me a great hike from the house straight up the big hills behind them.  I thought that was nice and I noticed lots of trail heads along the road on the ride in.  Pretty well anywhere you are in Queenstown you can walk right out your door to the most beautiful hike in the world.. every dag gone day if you want!  I could see myself living here, and being super fit!

 New Zealand mushroom Amanita_muscaria

I’ve seen these mushrooms a lot in New Zealand.  They remind me of a mushroom I would have maybe seen in “Alice in Wonderland”?  Not sure, but I’m really attracted to these POISONOUS mushrooms!  And they carry on that we have poisonous snakes in Australia… hmpfh!

Just some photos from a morning walk… 😉  A local artist made this basket of reflection mounted along the hike.  The sign suggests you stop and reflect at the world around you.. and the people.  Very nice.

After my walk the Hubbards want to take me to lunch in Arrowtown.  Diana says you can’t leave Queenstown without seeing Arrowtown!  I politely decline because I feel super guilty for how much this couple has done for me both in Auckland and now here, but it’s two against one and I’m not going to win this one either.. 😉

That lunch was so good. Arrowtown is a classic old gold mining town just a few km’s from Queenstown.  As charming as the town is, we were more attracted to the fall colors!

 Happy people after a super yummy lunch in Arrowtown!

Incredible autumn colors in Arrowtown, New Zealand

While Diana is driving she says, “Dick, should we throw Sherri Jo on to a jet boat?”  I’m looking at her like, what sort of question is that?? 😉  Just then we passed over a bridge and the jet boats are in the river below.  Queenstown is known as the adventure capital of the world being famous for jet boats, bungy jumping, skiing along with countless other activities. I suppose I should do at least one of them.. because I ain’t bungy jumpin’!! 😉

This was not just sort of fun.. it was SUPER FUN!!  Gee whiz, the driver goes top speed, aims the front end of the boat AT THE ROCK WALL, within inches of the wall he throws us into a 360.  He did it over and over and how we don’t hit the wall I will never understand.  I’m surprised I don’t see these boats more often in the world.  Diana explains to me that this one particular gorge is rated to be the most spectacular.  So I’m really glad she and Dick decided to throw me on to a jet boat in Queenstown New Zealand!

I’d scream really loud every time that driver took us to hit a wall.  I felt sorry for the kid next to me..

Yep, that’s me in the 3rd row!

SOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  When I got off that thing, as much as I hated paying the money up front, I knew when I got off the boat it was really worth that money.  We went up and down the river twice, countless 360’s, and rarely stopped screaming!

Next, Diana takes me out to the Kawarau Bridge… for BUNGY JUMPING! She was so disappointed to learn that they had finished for the day. I was not even sort of disappointed, I was breathing a huge sigh of relief!  But it was worth having a look at what the super brave people in the world do.

 No way, Jose!

I’ve heard of Queenstown a lot. Many Australians I know come here.  And I quite honestly wasn’t fussed about it because I knew it was going to be super touristy.  HOWEVER, I’ve since converted.  Tourists or not, Queenstown is an amazing unique gorgeous town to visit.  Being the adventure capital of the world, you can do so much from this one place.

Originally from America. Proud citizen of Australia. Currently riding my motorcycle around the world. 44 countries so far and counting. ;-)


  • June 27, 2013

    Such a good way to start a day here in South Africa, reading your blog. It makes me want to cancel all appointments on my calender, and get on one of my bikes, and just Ride! Your blog is always inspiring, and your photos open up parts of the world I have never been, thanks for that!

  • June 28, 2013

    Wow! Isn’t it beautiful in New Zealand? You are seeing and doing almost similar things that we did. You have super photos! My blog site is: if you care to look. Happy and safe riding, rubber side down!


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