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.
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!
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:
Always a good evening with Coldplay! End of school year for Tahn before heading back to Bangkok for summer break. She made me go when the gates opened and boy was it a good idea, right at the front, a long wait but so worth it!
Not far from my daughter’s school in Cambridge is the Lords of the Rings and Hobbit film set of Hobbiton. So a free Saturday morning was taken care of and my wallet NZ$105 lighter. It really is exactly like you imagine from the movies with no detail too small to be overlooked. All of the 55 hobbit holes belong to various folks that make up modern hobbit life; the baker, the fish monger, the cheese maker, the village drunk etc etc. There is also an inordinate amount of hobbit laundry hanging out.
There is not much more than a Hobbit village to walk around (in a rather regimented way) but fascinating all the same with a free drink at the end at the Green Dragon.
Touted as Tokyo’s 16th favourite toursit destination I have been tempted to go for a number of years. Today was the day…
Restaurant is not really an apt description but if crazy neon Japanese madness is what you are after then you get that in spades. It seems expensive at Yen8,000 for a restaurant where you do not actually get a meal but well worth it all the same. There are robots despite lack of photos of them. Hard to describe the whole thing so just put it on the list for your next visit and experience.