Central Otago Vistas January 2019

So we found ourselves once again exploring the delights of Central Otago, a place which I never get bored of. It is hands down my favourite place in New Zealand to ride a motorcycle.

This trip was at the start of the year when the weather really can be a very mixed bag. Fortunately, this trip gave us glorious sunshine on all but one day.

We started out from Waimate where the three of us headed towards Kurow via the lovely Meyers Pass. Then we headed up high, Via the Awakino Saddle to spend the first night at Ida Valley Hut. On the way to the hut, in blistering temperatures we found an awesome swimming hole way up in the hills which was such a much-needed cool down and a damn good freshen up. Next day was a very fun day indeed which took in the tops of Mt Buster and then down and up over the Omarama Wet Saddle before boosting onto some private land to spend the night in a musterer's hut.

Day three was filled with incidents which included a severely drowned WR450 and a broken big toe (not mine), and we were witness to a large motorhome fully engulfed in flames at the side of the main highway, just north of the Lindis Pass.

Due to the incident-filled third day, we were way off our goals in terms of where we planned to be at the end of the day, so we ended up camping at St Bathans. It was getting dark as we rolled into St Bathans where we pitched camp in the domain opposite the pub. There we enjoyed some well-deserved beer with the friendly (and funny) locals and a small fire right by our tents.

Day 4 morning - Whilst I was waiting for my riding buddy to get ready, I went for a short ride up Mt St Bathans, which was awesome, great views. I'd like to go back there as I only made it to just over 1500 metres before the wild nor'west wind made me turn around and head back to my mate, who, after nearly an hour was only just ready to ride! OK, my mate, I love him to bits but he takes forever doing everything and anything; we have this joke where I say "come on man, it's like waiting for world peace!" But we have a good crack together so it’s all worth it in the end.

Once ready (finally!) we headed into Clyde so my pal could pay a visit to the wee hospital there to see what, if anything, could be done with his toe. The answer to that was nothing could be done! They wouldn’t even give him a needle so he could pop the huge blister which was getting bigger by the hour. We did manage to get it drilled in the end, don’t ask how!

Once we were filled up with what was a truly fantastic full breakfast, we headed to Fraser Dam where we camped for the night. Yet another good fire was had. It’s actually a really good place to camp; I’d defo head there again in the future! There was firewood everywhere, too!

Well, weather wise, so far we had been blessed with awesome hot and sunny days but the following morning at Fraser Dam it started raining, and it didn’t stop all day. With my mates toe giving him jip and with all this persistent rain, we decided to head for the warmth of the lovely Danseys Pass Inn, which was exactly 110km away. This we rode in pouring rain, and it got bloody cold too! Now, this Inn serves up the best pie I have ever had, I shit you not! This alone was worth riding every one of those miserable cold and wet kilometres for. Obviously, we both ate one; we just had to!

The next morning it dawned blue and clear, so the ride through Danseys Pass was really nice. It was to be my first passing through there with good clear weather, and boy was it pretty. The trip ended back in Waimate, where me mate Dan lives.

All in all, another memorable few days away. But saying that, ain't they all!

Day one - Meyers Pass
Meyers Pass is scenic ride which links up Waimate with Kurow. Well worth riding!
Here, my mate Dan Swan had an issue with his luggage system. The steel frame broke and we all thought that was it, game over. But no, Dan has an amazing talent when it comes to 'fixing things, making things and generally making do with what you have! He roped it all back together again and away we went. An excellent track-side repair job.
The way up the incredible Awakino Saddle
Probably the most difficult section of the Awakino Saddle. This hill surprises you; you turn a sharp right hander then it's straight into it. If you don't know what's round the corner you can hit it unprepared, like Dan here, pictured.
Further up the formidable hill...
My mate Fozzy, pictured here, he doesn't seem to be waiting for 'world peace', remarkably!
Dan Swan, pictured here at Pig Shit Inn.
Pig Shit Inn. I've never stayed the night here but would one day like to.
Author of this article: Stefan