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Karamea to Haast - 2017

My father, who normally resides at the top end of Australia as a tour guide, is over here in New Zealand for a few months. I've decked out my backup DRZ400 with 17 inch wheels and a lowering link for his little hobbit legs and we’ve already sunk our teeth into a couple of great trips over the last couple of months. 

My father and I on the two DRZ400 bikes up the Clarence Valley

The trip we've just returned from was another goodie, it was planned around riding and camping down the beautiful South Island’s West Coast from Karamea to Haast.

With New Zealand’s summer so far dumping record levels of rain, we were crossing fingers that Mother Nature would stop being so difficult and serve up some nice weather. Thankfully, she did just that. Before the trip began however, I needed to get from Christchurch to the starting point at Karamea. It was a fairly tame tarmac trip, but very enjoyable as I rode and set some new Mototokens along the way. 

Setting the Lake Grasmere Mototoken
Reference Link : Lake Grasmere
Setting the Mount White Bridge Mototoken
Reference Link : Mount White Bridge
Setting the Hawdon Valley Mototoken
Reference Link : Hawdon Valley
Setting the Bealey Bridge Mototoken
Reference Link : Bealey Bridge
Setting the Otira Vioduct Mototoken
Reference Link : Otira Viaduct
The rock shelter at Candys Bend
Setting the Stanley Gooseman Bridge Mototoken
Reference Link : Stanley Gooseman Bridge
Reference Link : Stanley Gooseman Bridge
Setting the Lake Poerua Mototoken
Reference Link : Lake Poerua
Reference Link : Lake Poerua
Setting the Ten Mile Creek Mototoken
Reference Link : Ten Mile Creek
Reference Link : Ten Mile Creek
Finally arriving in Karamea. A few dark clouds were rattling around the hills but they disappeared overnight and made way for a great start to the trip

Let the ride begin!

One of the main focuses of the trip was to set new Mototokens down the coast and GPS log some new tracks. Most of the places I have previously ridden and simply needed to get some good photos while there were a few spots I hadn’t yet ridden that I was very much looking forward to. With the weather being kind and kicking the day off with blue skies, we were off. 

Not long out of Karamea we stopped off at the first Mototoken on Happy Valley Saddle
Reference Link : Happy Valley Saddle
Reference Link : Tiphead Road Lookout
Reference Link : Tiphead Road Lookout
Reference Link : Cape Foulwind Lookout
Mist was rolling in off the sea in an eerie fashion along Beach Road
Reference Link : Beach Road
Reference Link : Wall Island
Reference Link : Okari Lagoon
Reference Link : Beach Road Cove
Reference Link : Okari Lagoon
Reference Link : Okari Lagoon
Heading inland on a West Coast gravel road
Reference Link : Constant Bay Lookout
Reference Link : Four Mile Road Dam
After setting up camp, dad went for a walk up some of the nearby tracks looking for deer sign and I shot upstream looking for trout. Up this far the river was reported to not hold trout, but I thought I'd have a look and see firsthand
There were lots of grasshoppers around which was going to make fly selection easy should any trout be up this far
After covering about 5 km, the reports proved true and there were no fish to be seen. But, it was an absolutely beautiful river to walk up and a great way to spend the afternoon before heading back to camp for tea
That evening the sky put on a fairly impressive show for us. "Red sky at night, shepherds delight" they say? Tomorrow will soon tell...
The next day the sun was out and we were served up great weather for riding
Setting the Mototoken for the old Fox River Bridge
Reference Link : Old Fox River Bridge
Setting the Mototoken for the Punakaiki River Swing Bridge
The day was spent exploring little sidetracks and lots of interesting places were seen. This is the Waiwhero Creek Bridge remains Mototoken off a nice little bush track off the main road
Setting the Mototoken for Tipperary Creek
Reference Link : Tipperary Creek
Setting the Mototoken for Big Rock
Reference Link : Big Rock
Setting the Mototoken for Taramakau Estuary
Reference Link : Taramakau Estuary
Heading up Totara Valley Road
Reference Link : Totara Valley Road
Setting the Mototoken for Ross Reservoir
Reference Link : Ross Reservoir
The interesting bike shop next to the Roddy Nugget in Ross
Reference Link : Roddy Nugget Cafe and Bar
Setting the Mototoken for Waikoriri Stream Bridge
Reference Link : Waikoriri Stream Bridge
Setting the Mototoken for Bold Head
Reference Link : Bold Head
Setting the Mototoken for the Waitaha River Bridge
Reference Link : Waitaha River Bridge
Heading through the bush track out to Greens Beach
Greens Beach
Reference Link : Greens Beach
After a magic day of riding we were fast running out of daylight so we shot off to setup camp eagerly anticipating the following day...
The next day brought more great riding weather. We continued heading south and exploring side tracks I had marked on the GPS
Setting the Mototoken for Lord Range Lookout
Reference Link : Lord Range Lookout
Setting the Mototoken for Guy Lambton Menzies Plaque, a plaque to acknowledge Guy Lambton Menzies, the first Australian aviator who flew the first solo trans-Tasman flight, from Sydney to the West Coast of New Zealand, on 7 January 1931
As the day progressed we started to hit a thicker cloud canopy, but no rain fell the entire day
Setting the Mototoken for Sandy Beach
Reference Link : Sandy Beach
After a great day of riding we reached our planned destination. I was pretty happy as this was the first opportunity I had to pull out the fly rod :)
This is one of my favourite little spots, a tiny little lake tucked away in the bush near a river. Very few people know about this little lake as it isn�t named, documented or visible from any roadside. You have to cross a river and then push through bush to find it.
It holds a good stock of brown trout and whilst none of them are significant in size, they are great fun to fish to. Before the light started to run out I managed to land two healthy browns with some exciting dry fly action
The rest of the evening was spent around the campfire before retiring to bed wondering if the darkening clouds were going to give us a wet start in the morning�
Throughout the night, rain came down in bucket loads. But as morning broke the rain stopped. How very courteous of the weather gods. After packing up camp and setting off on the bikes, we continued further south poking our noses down interesting looking side tracks
Setting the Mototoken for Lake Moeraki
Reference Link : Lake Moeraki
Watching a hungry Brown slowly patrolling the shoreline
Setting the Mototoken for Waita River Mouth
Reference Link : Waita River Mouth
As we hit Jackson Bay we were met by rain from an approaching front
Reference Link : Jackson Bay Wharf
We caught up with a family friend in Neils Beach where we planned to stay a couple of nights. Here we met a local rider who took us on a ride around the area. The rain got increasingly heavier so we were as wet is drowned rats, but it was a great ride.
The next few days were spent in the Haast area having a look around and doing a bit of fishing. This is one of the small lakes in the Haast area that has tricky lake edge access, but a good stock of brown trout
A beautiful little copper coloured brown trout lifted for a quick pic and set on his way
Heading out to check the cray pots :)
A simply stunning river
After a good few days in Haast it was back on the bikes again
Setting the Mototoken for the Lansborough River
Reference Link : Landsborough River
Setting the Mototoken for the Pleasant Flat Bridge
Reference Link : Pleasant Flat Bridge
Setting the Mototoken for Camp Creek Lookout
Reference Link : Camp Creek Lookout
Setting the Mototoken for The Neck
Reference Link : The Neck
Setting the Mototoken for Hawea Township Lookout
Reference Link : Hawea Township Lookout
With the day running short and unable to reach the planned destination, we decided to camp up at the ruins of the old Lindis Hotel
Reference Link : Lindis Pass Hotel Ruins
Reference Link : Lindis Pass Hotel Ruins
The next day presented a massive foggy patch at the northern end of Lindis Pass, but once we broke through more great riding weather was awaiting us. We stopped in for a look around Three Creeks, an interesting little place at Burkes Pass
You don't see too many of these around
Next up we were off up into the High Country
Stopping for a bite to eat
After a great ride in we headed out and made our way back to Christchurch. We struck it luck for weather on this trip, the only two times it rained was once at night when we were in our tents and the other when we were staying in a house at Neils Beach. I didn't get to set as many Mototokens as I'd hoped as time simply didn't allow but a good number were set and I am planning the next trip to the West Coast to finish off the job...
Author of this article: RMOTO