ACROSS THE DITCH: Mangonui to Auckland 07/05/18 to 15/05/18

ACROSS THE DITCH: Mangonui to Auckland 07/05/18 to 15/05/18

2018-05-15T08:02:07+00:00May 15th, 2018|General, Lee & Paul Update, NZ Ride|

We are in the Far North and the weather has been just glorious, perfect for riding and almost tempting and warm enough for a swim! We are in Mangonui and our accommodation is right on the water with spectacular water views that change continuously. It’s a “must” here to have a beer in the old hotel and to have fish and chips right next to the pub – so we do!

The historic Mangonui Hotel (1905) would be able to tell a few tales!

The ride out to the Karikari Peninsula is highlighted by stunning Maitai Bay, some say the most beautiful beach in New Zealand – and it’s easy to see why. Wow, this would have to rate as the best camping spot we’ve seen anywhere and we love that there are no shops, power or hot showers as it keeps visitors to a minium (no latte’s or smashed avocado here). It is such perfection that the waves break in a semi-circle…breathtaking!

Magical Maitai Bay on a picture perfect day, Karikari Peninsula

We check out Whatawhiwhi and Tokerau Bay before heading north to Kaimaumau to visit my sister at her boyfriend’s farm.

Lunch at Houhora Heads with Julie and Dean

Dean has a dairy farm right on the water so we head up East Beach at the end of the peninsula on the back of his ute – for a look into his world. It’s remote and good for fishing, with quite a few locals getting into it.

Driving up East Beach, Kaimaumau, with Julie and Dean

Julie is really getting into the farming, helping feed the calves and introducing the brand new ones to the “calfetaria”.

My sister Julie is becoming a “farmer” as she introduces the new calves to their dinner

Dean tells us how the avocados are rapidly taking over the dairy farms in the Far North and already a lot of market gardening as the Pukekohe area in South Auckland is consumed by housing developments. It’s time to head to Cape Reinga, our last piece of road to the very north of New Zealand and it’s quite a momentous day for us. A small weather front has come over but it’s only producing light rain as we head up to the top and can see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean.

Cape Maria Van Diemen and Te Wetahi Beach, Far North

It feels quite surreal to have now reached all the extremities of this amazing and spectacular country.  As we walk out to the lighthouse it feels like the “ride” is over – five months of motorcycling and touring this land has reached it’s finale.

BikesnBeers makes it to the top of New Zealand…five months of riding bliss has reached it’s end

Iconic Cape Reinga Lighthouse…Australia is just to the left!

We head south and out to Henderson Bay, another pristine beach on the Aupouri Peninsula with a great surf break…is there no end to this magnificent coastline!

Beautiful, isolated Henderson Bay

We decide to have our last “camp” with the tent back at Maitai Bay and it’s just magic. The camping area is protected from any breezes and is high above the beach. We cook our last “one-pot-wonder” while overlooking the bay until well after dark with a bottle of red wine to celebrate our day at Cape Reinga.

Our last cooked breakfast on the beach at Maitai Bay, Far North

The countryside and the roads are now familiar territory for us as we come through the Maromaku Valley where Paul was raised on the family farm. Our first-born Mick was baptised at Moerewa but we are made to realise how long ago that was, as the church has now been replaced by a new one!

The old Otiria Catholic Church at Moerewa where our firstborn, Mick, was baptised

We stop for lunch and a wander round Kawakawa where Paul was born, the only town in New Zealand to have a railway track right through the middle of town!

They run the train through the middle of town on the weekends

It’s hard not to notice the colourful sculptures, mosiacs, copper and cobblestones of the town’s public toilets with golden orbs on the grass tuft roof. Austrian architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser lived in Kawakawa from the mid-seventies til his death in 2000, gifting the toilets to the town which have since been voted the best public loos in the world!

Quirky Kawakawa has some great architecture

The Towai Hotel sits right on the highway and is where Paul’s Grandfather and later his Dad would call in for a beer with the locals on their way home from shopping or rugby.

We have to stop for a beer at the Towai Hotel…

Our last attraction is the Matakohe Museum which gives a fascinating insight into what life was like for our early pioneering settlers and the ultimate demise of the mighty kauri tree. The collections and displays are just amazing but we both come out feeling sad – such an incredible resource, that is no more.

Massive Kauri log on display at the Matakohe Museum

So, as we wrap up our tour of New Zealand with a jam-packed agenda seeing as many friends and family as we can, the realisation begins to surface that the ride is over. We have chosen to air-freight the bikes back to Brisbane (details will be on our website in a few weeks) so they have to be cleaned and ready for a departure next week. Both of us are ready for home now as it’s a long time to be on the road. The thought of our own bed, ensuite, and cold beer fridge is very enticing…let alone a change of clothes and some dental maintenance!

Favourite of the Week

The Mangonui Hotel is an institution in the North and what a crack-up when we have the chance to share a beer with their sulphur-crested cockatoo called Barney! He’s 33, still very young at heart (cockatoos are known to live to around 100 years) and seems to enjoy the amber ale…

Sharing a beer with the pub’s cockatoo, Mangonui Hotel, Northland

Show Me A Sign

The Chinese have bought a Winery and Golf Course on the Karikari Peninsula in the Far North and more recently an area of land nearby to build 800 houses for their people…with other rumours of an International Airport at Kaitaia, and on it goes! It seems that one local is not happy about this….

Taking it to the next level, Tokerau Bay, Karikari Peninsula

Pukenui Takeaways

Story of the Week

So here we are, back in Auckland and with a chock-a-block schedule of catching up with everyone before we leave this land…it seems such a long time ago that we rode the bikes off the wharf at Auckland and began a 20,000 kilometre road-trip around New Zealand. From the beginning, we avoided main highways and embraced the mammoth national parks, the incredible beaches, the ever-changing intense green farmlands, the vast forests and native bush, mountain after beautiful mountain and the dynamic Maori culture. We’ve reconnected with so many friends and relations along the way – and the friendliness of the New Zealand people knows no bounds. The weather has been more than kind to us and the motorcycling has been a dream. So many were quick to say that five months was a long time to “ride” this country but it would be easy to see and do more. Has it been worth it to bring our motorcycles across the ditch? You bet it has…haere ra New Zealand and kia kaha. We will be back…


  1. Chris Murphy May 18, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Hi Lee, I have absolutely loved following your journey around NZ. You and Paul certainly seemed to have a marvellous time. The photos were amazing and as always your story telling is just spot on. You are one very talented lady! I hope to catch up with you sometime when you return to Brissie. Love, Chris xx PS I was especially interested in the story about Hundertwasser settling in NZ for his final years – I loved his quirky art and buildings in and around Vienna and Austria.

    • Lee May 19, 2018 at 5:06 am

      Hey Chris, thanks and glad you enjoyed the blog. You would certainly have seen lots of Hundertwasser “stuff”. Love to catch up…back on the 24th so let’s do it soon xxxx

  2. May 17, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Great stories and photos Lee and Paul welcome back to Brisbane and safe travelling.Cant wait to catch up.xxxx

    • Lee May 19, 2018 at 4:57 am

      Hey Ali, we fly in late next Thursday…it’s nearly all over Rover! Definitely a catch-up my friend xxxx

  3. Bruce May 16, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Don’t stop now! I might have to read the bloody newspaper if you guys stop traveling. It’s all been a great read. Thanks for everything.

    • Lee May 19, 2018 at 4:55 am

      Cheers Bruce, glad you’ve enjoyed it! We’ll just have to keep in touch some other way. Forget the newspaper…it’s all fake news anyway!! Hello to Barbara xxx

  4. Beryl May 16, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Again another amazing journey for u and Paul.
    Beautiful country and so many great photos .
    Can’t wait to catch up again.

    • Lee May 19, 2018 at 4:52 am

      I reckon Beryl…looking forward to getting home now – our own bed, ensuite, kitchen, beer fridge, view…and our friends xxx

  5. Beverley May 16, 2018 at 12:34 am

    You are making me homesick….miss you. Beverley

    • Lee May 16, 2018 at 5:29 am

      Aww, miss you too Bev! It’s been an amazing journey through New Zealand…could have had even more time!! And it would be easy to move back across the ditch…xxxx

  6. Mal May 15, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Lee, I have really enjoyed the travel blog and the information you have provided. I now have information on locations I have not seen on previous rides. Great information for the next ride! Thankyou.

    • Lee May 16, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Awesome Mal, this really is the primo country for motorcycling…we hardly touched all the off-road (adventure) stuff. We just have to get the bikes home now…thanks for all your comments along the way x

  7. Sharon Newey May 15, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    I’ll miss your travelogue and great photos. Have a safe trip back home, cousy! Might see you back here, or we’ll try to make it to Brisbane. Have heard too much about that beer deck not to try it out for ourselves. Love Sharon and Ian

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 10:52 pm

      Sounds like a must either way! Love the photo of the boys running along the wharf from the lighthouse in Europe! It has been super cool to catch up with you guys, love and hugs xxxx

  8. les buckton May 15, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    Thank you Lee for some wonderful stories over 5 months.Will wait for your next adventures.We now go around N.Z. with our eyes opened wider! Marlene & Les

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks guys, what a superb country hey! So much to see and learn and most of it still so remote. Enjoy your travels xxxx

  9. Dave May 15, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Beautiful area great country New Zealand but one thing what’s with the red wine finish? Beers please ha ha 😄 really looking forward to our next catch up cheers 🍻🍻

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 10:46 pm

      For sure…and soon xxxx

  10. Kay in Brisbane May 15, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    What a wonderful journey you have been on with so many special memories for you both!👍

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      Thanks Kay, it has been a absolute joy to ride this country…hope to catch up with you in Brisbane xxx

  11. Gillian May 15, 2018 at 11:14 am

    Amazing! Can’t wait to see you and talk about all your adventures!! Gillian xo

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Can’t wait to see you and just have a hug and a catch-up! See you in a week or so xxxx

  12. Sue McDonald May 15, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Hi Lee and Paul.
    What a fabulous trip you have done!!. And lucky too the weather was kind most of the time. So great reading your blog the whole way with excellent stories and photos!! Look forward to a ” catchup ” drink and laughs on your return home.Enjoy your last days with family! Hey Paul! Decided to have a shave!!?Amazing Cockatoo!!

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 9:20 pm

      Hey Sue, a drink and a few laughs sounds like just the ticket! Paul looks much younger without the beard don’t you think?! xxxx

  13. Trish May 15, 2018 at 10:15 am

    Will miss your regular blog. Safe travels home xx

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks Trish…talk very soon xxxx

  14. Susie May 15, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Woohoo, welcome back. Great stories to fill your hearts forever.

    • Lee May 15, 2018 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks Susie, for sure! Let’s catch up soon xxxx

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