Day 2 – Kaikoura to Akaroa (via Hammer Springs)

by The Crew on April 20, 2010

Distance: 360 kms

After a nice breakfast at the bakery in the main street of Kaikoura, we headed out along the Inland Kaikoura Rd through beautiful twisty roads and amazing scenery.

It was a great ride to the Mt Lyford Lodge where we stopped for the obligatory coffee and a bite to eat.

We sat upstairs out on the expansive deck overlooking the mountains.

Happy Riley - Belly full of coffee at Mt Lyford Lodge

Happy Riley - Belly full of coffee at Mt Lyford Lodge

We then headed off for Waiau, a tiny hamlet, which had the all important petrol station.  At $1.88 NZ a litre, the petrol is cheaper than Australia (when we were in NZ the Aussie $ got $1.30 NZ).

Fuel at Waia was $1.88 NZ

Fuel at Waiau was $1.88 NZ - Average for NZ

The young attendant at the service station spoke in a thick Kiwi accent and we really felt we were heading into real Kiwi country now.  Casting an eye over the sky, he predicted rain within a couple of hours (he was spot on).

It was just more lovely riding as we headed up to Hammer Springs – you have windy roads, then straight sections, more bends and amazing scenery.  It really is a country that is spot on for motorbike riding.

Alpine Village Of  Hammer Springs

Hammer Springs is an alpine village that looks to be well set up for the winter months.

Plenty of pubs and cafes, with skiing and hot springs the main attractions.

We had a quick look around and then lunch as one of the sidewalk cafes – as the dark clouds closed in we decided to head of and make a move for Christchurch and the our final destination for the day: Akaroa.

A few other motorcyclists at the cafe decided to wait for the weather to clear – they we in for a bit of a wait as the rain came tumbling down.

We headed out down through Mouse Point and Culverden, down into Waikari and Woodend into Christchurch.

It was a pretty shitty ride and the bloody rain pelted down in parts.  The closer we got the Christchurch the more boring the road got – eventually becoming the usual 2-3 lane metro highway.

Time for wet weather gear

Time for wet weather gear

Birdman swapped his visor in the rain where I took the photo above and had the not so great idea to place the old one on the back of his bike.  Then he forgot about.

So if you’re riding the Culverden Road down into Christchurch and you see a motorbike visor on  the road – it’s yours!

Once in Christchurch we headed along the water to Scarborough.

Christchurch looked to be a beautiful city on the water, but the grey day and rain made it less than perfect.  I’m sure it would be beautiful on a sunny day.

Beautiful Wharf Area Of Lyttelton

Anyway, we headed up and over the big hill (Evans Pass Rd I think) down into the beautiful little wharf town of Lyttelton.

Beautiful wharf town of Lyttelton New Zealand

Beautiful wharf town of Lyttelton New Zealand

Once here we stopped at another coffee shop to thaw and dry out.

We couldn’t find a petrol station in Lyttelton so headed into the tunnel and back into Christchurch where we fueled up, before getting back into the tunnel and heading for Akaroa.

It was a gorgeous bit of coastal riding from Lyttelton to Teddington and then into Gebbies Valley and onto the Christchurch Akaroa Rd.

That Wind Was A-Blowin’

This was an interesting ride as we headed across some open country and the wind was really blowing – to the extent that we had to lean the bikes into the wind to avoid being blown off the road.

Drop Top Doc was happily driving in front of us at one stage in his car – nice and snug with the top on and being toasty warm and dry.  I was right behind him when the weather started to clear.

Now, being a Doctor you’d expect the bloke the be pretty smart.

Well, if that’s what you thought you’d be wrong!

Traveling at 90 km/hr along the road, Drop Top Doc decides that now would be a good time to put the top down.

Yep, at 90 km/hr!

That he still had the canopy at the end and that he actually got his bond back when he returned the car is a mystery to everyone!

Weather Was Crappy, The Riding Was Good

The weather was still pretty crappy as we headed over the hills into Akaroa, but the riding was good.

Lots of bends, lots of hills and I’m sure it would have been pretty spectacular….if we could have seen it.

Akaroa was a welcome vista and we rolled in to the quaint historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano.

Akaroa is well set up for tourists with craft shops, cafes, bars and plenty to do.

We rolled into the nicely positioned Akaroa Criterion Motel – overlooking the harbour and a short walk to everything.

View from the Akaroa Criterion Motel

View from the Akaroa Criterion Motel

The beautiful harbour of Akaroa

The beautiful harbour of Akaroa

After a quick freshen up, and the obligatory Scotch in the hotel room, we wandered down to the old pub about 100 metres down the road – the Madeira Hotel.

The Madeira Hotel in Akaroa - great food at pub prices (and Wilma!)

The Madeira Hotel in Akaroa - great food at pub prices (and Wilma!)

A great value pub meal was had by all, with the brilliant old fashioned service from Wilma, a former Dunedin lass, taking great care of us.

I Get Robbed Of $50

It was during dinner that Drop Top Doc stole $50 off me.

I was obviously under the influence and put $50 on the mighty Kiwi cricketers to beat the soft Australians in the one day match on the TV – no-one makes that bet unless they’re completely smashed.

The Kiwis were, through a combination of:

  • bad bounces,
  • bad luck and
  • appalling umpiring,

once again robbed of certain victory.

And I was robbed of $50.

The Roundup

The day started off with some amazing riding from Kaikoura through to Hammer Springs, then the combination of rain and city riding made it less than idea.

The ride from Christchurch to Akaroa would, normally, be sensational I’d think.

But as they say, a shit day’s riding a motorbike around New Zealand with your mates, eating and drinking and even losing $50 on the punt is better than the best day at work.

Well, that’s what I say anyway!

To Do In Akaroa

One of things I wanted to do was a harbour cruise in Akaroa.

Ray has a tour with his A Class Yacht Manutara, where he cruises the harbour for a few hours.  My son has been on Ray’s yacht before and loved every minute of it and thought it was sensational value.

The cruise is also rated on Trip Advisor as the top thing to do in Akaroa.

So if you’re looking for a harbour cruise in Akaroa, give Ray a yell.

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