Saturday morning walk in Ohiwa at Onekawa Te Mawhai Regional Park. A few route options in this small reserve depending how far you want to walk. We were cut short as it started to rain so headed back via a short cut to the beach and back to the car park. A longer 5Km route takes you further over the hill and out further east along the beach.
The route can be found on my MapShare. Look under ‘New Zealand’ collection, ‘Routes’ and select “NZ – Ohiwa Walk”. Several Waypoints can also be found to check out interesting spots – Puriri Tree, Glow Worms and Ohope Harbour views.
A cancelled appointment at the end of the day gave me a rare opportunity for a quick walk as opposed to collapsing back in my hotel room. I do not visit Perth that often but is always a charm. Below are a few snaps as a walked from Intercontinental down to Elizabeth Quay and back again to the hotel.
I have for a while been checking out Personal Locator Beacons (PLB) or a more techy gadget of a Satellite Navigator. Often in New Zealand you find yourself without mobile phone coverage and my last bike blast in Thailand on the Scrambler resulted in a flat tyre in the countryside. In the end I purchased a Garmin inReach MINI which gave me worldwide coverage with one button SOS service and additionally some other cool features you will see more of in this post.
So one thing I can do now is record tracks and waypoints and publish them to the MapShare website, where you can check them out. It is a bit sparse at the moment but will fill up in time. I am learning how it all works and best way to organise things. The MapShare link can also be found from the top of the page.
My first test for MapShare and the inReach MINI was tracking a drive from Whakatane to Auckland and marking a few interesting points along the way. The day was somewhat overcast but NZ looks great in most conditions. All the photos below and the routing can be found on the MapShare website. When you first go to the website it will show my last location so click “Tracks” under “Library” and select “Whakatane to Auckland”.
Back in 2017 was my last MotoGP experience and my fourth at Sepang, Malaysia. Splashing out on a VIP pass at Sepang gives you access to paddock unlike events in Europe where the paddock is somewhat more restricted. If it was not for the Paddock access I would not pay the extra for a VIP pass as you do not get that great a view of the actually racing. Paddock access, all day food, drink and air-con are worth it though!
To experience the race any of the grandstands at Turn 1 or the central main grandstand on the opposite side to the start line are a way better places to watch the track. But be prepared to sweat and take a load of fluids to survive the day.
Back in the paddock you can meet almost anyone you want to if you are prepared to wait and stalk them out. Valentino Rossi is obvious the most difficult as he gets swamped and security is of course an issue so is heavily protected. However I still managed to wander past the Yamaha garage just at the right time and to my surprise turned around and was suddenly face to face with the man himself as his entourage left from the garage to the Yamaha hospitality area.
My wife abandons her shy demeanour to hunt out all her favourite MotoGP people as I just tag along as photographer! See her catches below. Alex Rins (she is his number 1 fan), Papa Rins (proud father of Alex), Marc Marquez, Bad boy Romano Fenati, Joan Mir – now MotoGP Suzuki, Johan Zarco – Now Factory KTM and Thai young boy Nakarin Atiraphuvapat in Moto 3.
The vibe is very chill and nobody seems to mind having a camera clicking away at them. Even when we got caught out track side at turn 1 by a Dorna staff member it was all relaxed and we fiend ignorance and headed back to paddock complex.
Check out more photos below. Later in 2019 we head to Philip Island for the Australian MotoGP. Excited already!
Gallipoli – The Scale of War is a current (as of Early 2019) exhibit at New Zealand’s National Museum Te Papa in Wellington. Gallipoli is one of the most moving experiences I have ever had. It is confronting, sobering and emotional.
The exhibit takes you on a journey through the ill fated naval and amphibious attacks on the Gallipoli Peninsula (in Turkey) through five amazing larger than life size models in poignant moments. It is hard to describe the impact these models, of real life men and woman, have on you as you step through chronologically the events of the Gallipoli Campaign.
A total of 100,000 died with Australia and New Zealand suffering about 10% of that total. Gallipoli for both New Zealand and Australian is highly significant and widely accepted as start of a national consciousness of their nations. It is commemorated each year with ANZAC Day on the 25th April.
The scale of the models can be seen below with my wife visible in the background of Lieutenant Spencer Westmacott:
Early last year I spent an excellent few days out of Bangkok with David. He was on his BMW R1150R and I had my Ducati Scrambler loaded up for camping for the first time. Heading out west for a few hours from Bangkok is Kanchanaburi. Heading northwest out of Kanchanaburi is the Erawan National Park and further still the Sinakharin reservoir where we camped on the west side. Heading home involved catching the ferry across to the east side of the reservoir and back down the east side to had back into civilisation.
The first night we rested at a small resort by the river that connects the two dams, second night camping and the third night in Kanchanaburi. We enjoyed the company of several Soi dogs (stray dogs) during our travels, they all look similar, as they all do, but each friendly and just wanted to hang out with two bikers, maybe grab a bit of food and a few patsa !
Unfortunately the camp ground where we stayed at is now closed off. We understand the owner was operating illegally. I certainly hope he gets his paperwork sorted out with the local authorities as the site is a gem and he was a lovely man who joined us for a chat in the evening with stories and photos of previous ‘biker’ visitors.
The two ferries that operate across the two crossings at the Sinakharin Reservoir are fantastic. Although pontoons more than ferries, they are cheap, relaxing and reliable. The one of the east side is regular but if you ride consider taking the road instead for a blast of twitsty fun on two wheels.
The northern ferry crossing is less frequent and you may have to wait a while. But as ever in Thailand food is not far away, so relax, eat and wait. The restaurant there is great with birds and a few Soi dogs!
On a lazy Saturday road trip along the East Cost road (State Highway 35) we stumbled across the beautiful Christ Church in Raukokore. It is open for the local citizenry and passing traveller alike. As a local landmark it comes into and passes out of view over a number of kilometres.
The church is named as one of the region’s “101 must-do” sites by the AA!
First time in 14 years for Coldplay to be back in Thailand. Photos from before (dinner, Roti and cigarette concession stand!), during and after the show. The rain threatened but never materialised, thank goodness, although a water dousing may have been appreciated by those in the pit. I enjoyed Jess Kent more than I did in Auckland, but sad Lianne La Havas was not supporting them again.
As ever Chris Martin declared the audience the best ever. I am sure it is me as he always says that whenever I see them. Still it always comes across as genuine and Coldplay gigs always have a lovely chilled, joy and love vest vibe to them. Nice touch to dedicate a song to the King. Stadium was packed and up for it. Fantastic night! 9/10.
The renovated railway line in Awakeri near Whakatane in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand is a delight. Drive yourself (with up to three friends) on a modified golf buggy along about 16Km of track; watch the world go by, feed the fowl, walk in native bush and hear tall stories of wild animal attacks with your friendly Kiwi railway line renovators and tour guides.
Check it out and book here: Awakeri Railway or call 0800 537 4724 if in New Zealand
I was not in the mood for a flashy video but a more chilled overview of the trip can be seen in the video along with photos below: