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Old 14th August 2015, 23:38   #1
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Default Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!


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Where to go ?

Somewhere in 2013 me and my wife (then girlfriend) decided to take the plunge and get married. So after the mandatory few months of Indian soap opera scenes at homes, the folks relented. And, in December of 2013 we were engaged and all set to be wedded almost exactly a year later. Now, this meant we had the whole year to plan which may sound like a good thing, but trust me its more bane than boon. You have no excuses to fall back on like, 'sorry didn't get enough time to plan the wedding and honeymoon both, so lets go some where easy to manage' or even the most common middle class line, 'The wedding expenses came as a big blow, I could not plan for a honeymoon' None of that was going to work. So we basically spent the next couple of weeks swaying (and arguing) between every place there is in the world from Ladakh, Sikkim, A Euro Trip to even Bora Bora. And then came the all to familiar realization that pockets aren't deep and free time isn't available in abundance. So we agreed that we wanted to go 'abroad' but some where cheap and for maybe 5-6 days at the most, Maldives was the all too obvious answer and that was on the radar for the next few months, though we didn't do any bookings as such.

With something like 8 months to go the D-day, my wife chanced upon a article about motorcycle trips in New Zealand and she was already more than convinced. It did not help that a good friend Haroon from xBhp had done this a few years ago with his wife and reading his blog about it both of us were sold to the idea. So I spent the next few weeks budgeting the whole thing out and even by conservative estimates it was costing almost as much as Ninja650 in Delhi, and with a slight amount of splurge factored in it was costing as much as a Ninja650 in Bangalore . Just to add that ever since the 650 was launched 4 years ago, I've wanted to pick one up but its been 'unreachable', much like the plan for New Zealand. While my wife is an eternal optimist, I am a pessimist who thinks he's a realist and in my books this was impossible to do plan. But my wife was convinced that it had to be this and nothing else because of the whole biking element which would be a massive plus for me, but also for her it would be a varied experience of everything unlike the sunny beaches 'only' experience of the Maldives. She even threw at me her version of the line, 'In twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed with the things you didn't do, than the things you did!!!'. To keep it simple and short, we decided to take some hits, cut down on a lot of things for the wedding and few other things over the next months, break the bank and even take some from the bank. But we were going to do this!

How to even plan this ?

First things first, speak to someone who's done this before. No problem on that front, I spent more than an hour chatting up with Haroon bhai over the phone to get an idea about things. I had done some preliminary research before I spoke him, so that helped to throw some ideas at him and understand if I was being just a little insane or completely insane. Given the extremely tight budget, all the minutest details needed to be tracked and had to be assigned a number as to how much it would cost. Variable cost items like meals were assigned a variances and we had to see how exactly an upward or downward trend had an impact on the budget. Fixed expenses like flights and bike rental and stay were more or less known, but the biggest budget impact items and most 'toughest to drop off' items were adventure activities which NZ is famous for. With about 6 months to go, we first booked our flight tickets as the prices tend to spike up quickly and without notice. The next item checked off from the list was the bike rental, this part was easy as I decided to stick with the same company (South Pacific Motorcycle Tours) that Haroon bhai had used. Choosing the bike was even easier, it had to be the cheapest one in their lot and the only two starter options available were, either a 2014 Suzuki VStrom 650 or a 2014 Triumph Bonny. It was a no-brainer and the VStrom was booked. With two of the biggest expenses sorted out, we felt at ease as now the only things left to do was accommodation and visas.

Though accommodation usually can be expensive, we chose to stick to BnB's (best resource: AirBnB) for the most part which works out pretty cheap when compared to hotels. Plus, the added advantage of a BnB is the ability to interact closely with the locals get some really cool insights. Though at some places we did splurge and booked expensive BnB's and hotels, we allowed ourselves these luxuries within the tight limits of our budget, because after all it was a honeymoon trip . But to book the stay we first had to chart out a route and decide where exactly we wanted to stay for the night. Everything had to be planned to the T because December is the start of the peak season and we did not want to be caught in a unwanted situation. One thing was certain that we would be sticking only to the south island of NZ as two weeks (yes, we bumped up the time from 5-6 days) would be just about enough for South Island alone that too without much time to spare. We used the next couple of months make the stay bookings at a relaxed pace and chart out the route as we went ahead, barring maybe 2 locations we did not have much trouble find a nice place within our parameters.

The next big task was to sort out the visas, we had to apply not only for a NZ tourist visa but also an AU transit visa, because our transit time in AU was more than 8 hours. I read up all the documentation and based on that we could apply with just one application for the NZ visa as we came under the 'partners' category and I had almost all the documents available. But I decided to speak to the visa application center first, and it was a hilarious turn of events. The requirements mentioned by the visa applications center were over and above the ones mentioned on the official website. The guys wanted a copy of the wedding invitation card (ok fair enough!!), a signed letter from both our parents stating that we are indeed getting married (***!!!), a company letter head signed letter from the HR that we actually have approved leaves for the duration of our travel (again ***!!), all this was over and above the already long list of documents that were needed for the visa processing and to top it off we could not apply as partners and needed to put in separate application forms (ouch! cost shooting up). In most weddings the cards are printed just a few weeks before the wedding and ours was no different. We were scheduled to get delivery of the printed cards about 6 weeks before the wedding, now given that the visa processing time on their website was mentioned as about 2 weeks processing, we comfortably left this for a time when we got the cards in hand (a super idiot move on my part, we could have just printed sample wedding cards in advance and applied). Cutting a long story short, we applied for the visa 1 month and 2 weeks before the wedding, my wife's visa came in exactly two weeks as promised and mine was nowhere to be seen. I called the helplines, sent multiple emails without any luck, it was just lying in a 'In Progress' status on their website. With quite literally everything booked we both were on tenterhooks all the time. I was to drive from Bangalore to Mumbai with our entire luggage a week before the wedding, as we were to fly out of Mumbai. My passport arrived after 5 weeks, just the day before I left for Mumbai. And we were yet to apply for the AU transit visa and that had a promised processing time of 1 week. In the end, it all worked out in the nick of time. We had our version of the mad Indian wedding, and once that was over we had about 2 days of rest (so called!!) before jumping onto a plane for a 30 hour journey to Christchurch, New Zealand.​

Wedding, Done & Dusted!!!

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Next Chapter : India to New Zealand

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What's coming later ?
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Old 16th August 2015, 14:16   #2
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

The journey to 'Middle Earth'​

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When you're fishing for 'cheap' flights, a lot of the other stuff around the flights get overlooked. Long layovers, too short layovers all of it gets excused in the hurry to get the best deal available. Something like that happened with us as well. We were booked on Qantas to fly from Bombay to Singapore to Syndey and finally to Christchurch, all of which was supposed to take about 30+ hours to complete. We were scheduled to leave Bombay at about 10 in the morning on 11th December and were supposed to reach Christchurch at approximately 5 minutes before mid-night on 12th December. The catch was that we had just a hour and half layover in Singapore to catch our next flight, so even a 30 minute delay could prove to be quite dangerous. Though Qantas had assured me before the booking that they will ensure they will 'take care' of the situation if any delays were to be encountered. Not that these assurances work with us Indians, we are always anxious about these things.

I am a bit paranoid when it comes to flights so I usually reach a bit before the scheduled time, which meant we were at Bombay's amazing T2 terminal at almost 7 in the morning, three hours before the scheduled departure. Clearing check-in and immigration was a breeze, because the queues were short at that hour. Not much to do except laze around and catch some shuteye before boarding the flight.

Some monkeying around at Mumbai Airport
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It was a boring five and half hour flight to Singapore and it being one of the busiest airports in the world meant we were kept in a holding pattern for almost 20 minutes before being allowed to land. The clock was ticking faster for us than the rest of the passengers,and also because now we just had 70 minutes left to de-plane and get to the other plane. At that point we were not even sure if we would have to clear any more security checks which would eat up even more of our time. Every minute now was a nail biting match till we made touch down, at that point we had only 55 minutes left for the next plane. We informed the cabin crew that we would like to deplane first and hence please don't stop us when we start wrestling people out of our way . Finally the doors opened and the both of us bolted out, running into the airport with nobody in sight to ask where to find our airplane terminal. We spent the next few minutes just running in random directions where we could find anyone or any information, but there weren't any. Finally after what must have been two minutes but seemed like twenty, we found someone who told us that we had to take the sky train and go all the way to the other side of the airport or we could take the travellators. But they left the choice to us since both could mean the same amount of total time as with the train there is some wait time involved. We took a gamble and ran in the direction of the skytrain, the moment we reached the sky train terminal we saw the train leave. With a sinking heart it was now a decision between waiting for the next train which was 4 minutes away or heading back in the direction of the travellators. At that point we 'assumed' that the skytrain would take us all the way, and thus should still be quicker.

We couldn't have been more wrong, the moment the skytrain came we boarded it. On the way to the other side of the terminal I kept looking for a map which would indicate when would our 'station' be coming up. Again there wasn't anything to indicate that, even if there was I am sure in the 'rush mode' that we were, it was easily missed. The first stop came and it looked like the train would not go any further, at this point I thought it will go back out and move to a different track to take us to the other side. I was wrong again, just before the doors closed an automated announcement said that the train would head back to the terminal it came from. I just grabbed my wife's hand and we ran out of the train before the doors closed. I did not even want to look at my watch at this point, we were running again and this time we had to use the travellators and when those finished we had to make our way running through all the duty free shops. We asked at a couple of information kiosks on the way and nobody could tell us for sure which terminal our plane would be. Finally I found a machine that could read the bar code from the boarding pass and give exactly our location and where exactly we had to head to. Huffing, puffing we reached our departure gate only to see that boarding had not even started. We may have been running for not more than 10-15 minutes, but we were already exhausted. Finally the short but exciting story of the Changi run had come to an end. It was about 6.30PM Singapore time and we just wanted to get to our flight and fall asleep.

Changi Runners!
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This next flight was going to be a really long 9 hour flight all the way to Sydney. This was a much better flight compared to the Bombay - Singapore filight. Exhausted from all the running we just had our meals and knocked off to sleep. I somehow never get continuous sleep on these long inter-continental flights, so I switch between taking power naps and watching a few movies on the go or just keep checking the in-flight maps to see how far we've reached. It was somewhere over the Timor sea, I woke up around midnight to one of the most astounding views I've ever seen from an aeroplane window. A sky full of stars as we were gliding above the clouds, it was just amazing. With my limited skills as a photographer and my relatively ancient slr I managed to capture one steady shot of the stars.

Top left corner are not stars, but the cabin lights
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Sydney Approaches
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We woke up to the rising sun in the horizon as we inched closer to Syndney. This flight was bang on time landing exactly at 6.50AM Sydney time. Not that we were bothered this time if there were any delays, because we had a twelve hour layover here. Yes, you read that right, we had a 12 hour long layover in Sydney. But we also had a transit visa which is valid for 72 hours to enter Australia, which meant we could spend a good part of the twelve hours in Sydney outside the airport exploring. After breakfast we headed out of the airport and got ourselves the full day public transit passes which gave us unlimited use of the Metro, Bus & Boat trips through the day. We had already planned our itinerary for the day so we knew exactly where wanted to go. We took the next train straight to Sydney harbor and spent a good few hours roaming about there. We took a ferry and did the whole round trip which gave us a fantastic view of the Sydney harbor bridge and Opera house and also killed a lot of our time. After that spent some time walking around the Opera house, clicking the usual 'patel shots' followed by lunch by the harbor front.

Sydney Harbour Bridge
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Sydney Opera House
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Yes, that's grumpy me
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Bondi Beach
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After lunch we headed towards the iconic Bondi beach and had our first (and last) brush with what we thought was minor racism on the way. Could be that we were mistaken and it wasn't really racisim, but we were least bothered by such behavior. When we reached, we were just awed by the massive Bondi beach and spent some moments of staring at from the cliff side, and then we descended to the beach and got our feet wet in the icy cold water. After lazing about a bit in the warm summer sun, it was finally time for us to head back to the airport. We did not want to get stuck in long queues through immigration and customs so got back to the airport a bit earlier. In the customs check line, I spent a bit too much time putting stuff back into my backpack and in the process broke one side of the zip trying to stuff everything into it. As a result the moment I cleared the customs security flagged me down for a bomb squad check, yes that happened too . I wasn't not too fazed, I've been flagged down by the police here in India for being a terrorism suspect and once by Forest police on account of being a Naxalite suspect, so this was not too very surprising .

It had already been about 14 hours of flights and around 13 hours of layovers and with all the walking around Sydney harbor and running like crazy people in Changi airport, we were exhausted. And this is when you realize that airport chairs aren't the most comfortable places to be when you're so tired, giving up we just took turns to ease our backs lying on the floors (we weren't the only ones doing this ). Finally after what seemed like an eternity we left Sydney at 6.50PM local time, on what was one of the best planes of the trip so far. The three hour flight went by in a blink because we were dead tired. We finally landed in Christchurch, New Zealand a few minutes before midnight. It looked like the only New Zealanders at the airport were the immigration officials, possibly more than 90% of the passengers were Asians. I made a quick call to our hosts to let them know that we had landed by would take a while to reach them, they had assured us that they will be awake but it was already 1 AM by the time we cleared immigration and customs. We also picked up a local sim for our cheap calling and data needs, I had already picked up a Matrix sim in India so we have a number the moment we land and in case we can't get a local sim.

At about 1 AM we stepped out of the airport to see not a single cab or soul in sight which was really a strange sight. To put things into perspective the total population of Bangalore is more than the whole of New Zealand, and we had landed in one the bigger cities and yet it seemed like a ghost town. We were told that December is the start of summer in NZ and it usually a comfortable 20-25 degrees through this time and we had packed accordingly, it was in fact a chilling 12 degrees when we stepped out totally unprepared for this cold. We found a cab who agreed to take us to Riccarton where our hosts were located, I had choosen an outside suburb of Christchurch to stay because it was closer to the airport and also closer to the bike rental place. Our quiet drive in the Toyota Prius took about fifteen minutes to reach, and at that hour we were so sure our hosts had slept off and we would have to find a hotel or worse spend the night in their front porch. I was amazed when Sharron (our host) opened the door without even us ringing the bell or even calling them. Pleasantries exchanged, we retired to our room to open up our luggage and retire for the night. It had been almost 36 hours since the last bath and jumping halfway across the world was tiring enough, so after a hot shower when we finally went to sleep at around 3AM I felt the whole bed shake and creak. We were so drained and tired at that point that I thought it was a figment of my imagination and dozed off to sleep.

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Despite the jet lag and fatigue, we woke up by about 10AM. We formally met both our hosts Laurence and Sharron in the morning and had a heavy fill for breakfast. And they asked us if we felt the 'earthquake', we both were stunned! I had assumed at night that the shaking and creaking of the bed was something I had dreamed about, but in fact it was a 4.5 Richter tremor that we had felt the previous night before. Well that was quite the rocking start to the trip. We caught up on some more sleep as the good folks from SPMT were to come around 2PM to pick us up. Mike arrived well before to pick us up and we were off in his Range Rover to their estate outside the city. Along the way we had a good chat about Mike and his wife's Carol's motorcycle adventures and about the biking scene in NZ and India. We got to meet 'Amber' our orange Vstrom parked waiting for us.

The VStrom may not be great looking bike, but it had road presence and moment I swung my leg over it I felt at home and that is the most important part and did I mention it came with the Yoshi full system . Yes, the 210+ kgs made their presence felt and I knew it would get a lot more tough with a pillion on board and full luggage. Also, the weather had not improved in the morning, so we decided to rent riding pants with thermal liners, because our jeans and knee guards were just not going to cut it in this weather. After a few formalities, signatures and a short information video about riding in NZ we were handed the keys to our bike. The information video was particularly helpful, because coming from a land with practically no rules to very strict rules it was going to be a transition that would take some time to adapt. Along with us there were 3 other Australian couples who were taking delivery of their rental bikes too. So Mike's mechanic told us all to take the bikes out for a short spin, apparently this was some sort of a test for the SPMT folks to be confident to give us their bikes. I was a bit nervous because it was the first time I was riding such a powerful bike and to start off the test was on gravel. I took it really slow because I did not want to f*** up in the first hour of getting the bike and I wanted to spend the first hours getting used to the power.

Amber and Us!!
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Parked after our first short ride on Amber
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Satisfied with our riding capabilities, the friendly SPMT folks bid us goodbyes and thumbs up for the two weeks ahead. And we were off on the twenty kilometer ride back home, we were going to be using this as a rest day and start only the next morning. After getting back home, we connected with some friends of the family and planned to meet them later in the evening. Thanks to the Garmin GPS we were easily able to find our way back home and also to our family friends. Because it was summers and we were so far away from the equator the days were really long with the sun setting only around 9PM. We spent an interesting evening with our family friends over dinner as this was the first time I was meeting them and we got to know quite a few bits of information from them about our trip. After go back home we started transferring all our luggage into the Givi boxes, it was immediately apparent that we had more luggage than we needed and there was no way we could have carried any more. The capacity of the side panniers were 15 kgs and top box about 10 kgs, I know that I had over packed each but a little more and was really worried if the mounts would break. But I think we were too tired and excited about starting the ride next morning to bother too much about these things. We knew were a little under prepared when it came to the weather and were probably carrying more luggage than we should have. But that was for another day to tell us how wrong or right we were.

The mind blowing view from my uncle's house
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Up Next, Christchurch to Kaikoura
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Old 18th August 2015, 16:04   #3
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

__________________________________________________ _______________
Day 1 - Moment of Truth

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14.December.2014 Christchurch to Kaikoura - The previous day was meant to be a rest day to recuperate from the tiring 30+ hour flight. But with collecting the bike and spending the evening at our family friends place there wasn't much time to spare for rest. To top it off, we still had to rearrange all our stuff into the panniers and top box. Considering we had two full suitcases, it looked highly unlikely that we'd manage to stuff it all in, moreover the Givi cases can take only upto about 10-12 kgs of weight on the side panniers and about 7-8 kgs on the top box. Anything heavier and you might just crack the frame. After we packed everything into the boxes, we were still left with almost as much as one suitcase worth of stuff left out side. We repacked everything again the 'right' way, still just managed to squeeze in just about 10% more stuff. We did not push further because we were already a little over the limit of the Givi cases capacity.Now our quandary was what to do with the extra luggage, whether to leave it at the current BnB or cart it all the way back to the motorcycle rental where we had left our empty suitcases the day before. It made more sense to drop it off at the rental place because it would mean one lesser thing to do, moreover it was just a small deviation from our route today. After a light breakfast at the BnB we bid our goodbyes to Laurence & Sharron and left. We stopped over at the motorcycle rental place to dump the extra luggage and just re-org all our stuff before we 'finally' started our trip.

Today was a short 180'ish kilometers ride to Kaikoura, and google said it would take us just 2.5 hours to reach. I knew we would take a lot more than that, but I had planned for the first day's ride to be short because I would have a fairly large learning curve adapting not only to the roads and traffic rules, but also the the bike. I've been riding a 220 for years now and that too solo. Riding a 220 Kgs bike with almost 40 Kgs luggage and a 50 Kgs pillion is an entirely different ballgame. The traffic was really sparse on the highways despite being a Sunday, this was good for me because it gave me plenty of space to adapt to the new bike. On these open roads, even a slight amount of wind and the bike would get thrown about. All the weight concentrated on the rear didn't help either because it made the front end quite light, which was good for quick turns in traffic, but at higher speeds it would get a little twitchy even in the slightest hint of wind. The boxes just added to it because it made the bike almost like a sail which caught slight any wind thrown at it. It was almost as if I was riding a bike for the first time.

First break, So far so good !!
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Smooth, Empty, Beautiful NZ Highways
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New Zealand highways are like 'good' quality Indian state highways, they are mostly two lane highways but wide enough to fit large size trucks in one lane. Everyone sticks to the rules (well almost!) and the speed limit (100 Kmph). For overtaking on these highways, you need to wait for dedicated passing lanes that allow slower vehicles to move into a left lane and allow faster vehicles to move ahead. I stuck to the well within the speed limit, not wanting to be slapped a fine and controlled all my 'Indian' instincts of riding, this lead to me holding up a few faster moving vehicles at times. We took our first break within 60 Kms to stretch and we took another break for light brunch at Mainline Station cafe 40 Kms later. We were making really slow progress and we slowed down even further once the twisties started. With wife in tow I was extra cautious and did not want to push my luck too much. While 100 is the speed 'limit', the highways have signs at many places which show the 'recommended' speed for that stretch of the road. And guess what, I stuck to that recommended limit like a leech, because it was admittedly quite scary and I did not want to drop my wife (and/or bike).

Light brunch at Mainline Station Cafe
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The guy at the back jumped in for a photo bomb, but sadly no pic of that
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As we were descending from the twisties, we had our first peek-a-boo of the pacific ocean. The chill in the air went up a bit as we got hit by the cold sea breeze, quite the opposite experience here in India where it gets hot and humid as we get closer to the coast. We were glad to have rented out the riding pants with thermal liners, else we would have frozen our butts off. After we got down to sea level, it was an impressive last 20 Kms to reach Kaikoura where we had mountains on one side and the pacific ocean on the other, and there were also a few tunnels along the way. The cold weather and riding the bike the whole day (though barely 180 Kms) had tired us out a bit, we were super hungry but at 3.30 in the afternoon most of the diners were closed and there were no cafe's in sight. So we just rode directly to our BnB, only to find nobody there and the folks not picking up calls as well. Strangely enough the door was open and there was a note for us with all instructions that we needed, self-sufficient, yes! But the Indian in me kept feeling how is this even safe. After got our luggage into the room and got out of our gear our host dropped in for a visit, apparently they were taking a nap. After a quick exchange of pleasantries, we got a lot of tips on where to go and what to do for the next day and a half that we're there.

First view of the Pacific Ocean
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Riding down the twisties
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Short Video of the ride down the twisties to sea level

Mindblowing colours of the South Pacific Ocean
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Riding along the coastal highway
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Walking along the beautiful alpine trees along the Kaikoura Beach
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Passione Italian Restaurant
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Our host presented us with plenty of options to grab a bite, of course most of them were not going to open for another 1-2 hours at least. So after resting our backs for about 30 minutes, we put on our walking shoes and headed towards beach to take a walk and try our luck with any place that may be open. We ended up walking almost two kilometers to the other end of beach where the main market area was along with plenty of cafe's and restaurants. Finally we found an Italian place (http://www.passione.co.nz/) which worked for both of us, my wife being a pure vegetarian makes finding places to eat a challenge in itself. Being summer meant we had daylight almost till 9PM, which is excellent for riding because that allows us plenty of time to ride and also to see places along the way. The breeze had picked up as started our walk back because the tide was coming in at that time. In adequately prepared for this wind we just shivered our way back home. It had been a tiring day from riding 180'ish Kms to walking for almost 5 - 6 Kms after that, we were exhausted and just crashed for the day. We needed the rest for tomorrow, because it was going to be an exciting day with two adventure activities lined up.

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Day 2 - The Sea Beckons

15.December.2015 Kaikoura - I was up early in the morning, partially because I was excited for the upcoming day today and also because I had slept very early the previous night. Since we were on the East coast of New Zealand, it also meant there would be an amazing sunrise to catch. Out of excitement I jumped out of bed and slapped on some thermals and stepped out into the cold morning with camera in hand. It was a lovely morning, but unfortunately where I was positioned I could not see the sun rising out of the sea as it was hidden behind the hill in the bay.

First rays of the sun
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As the sun's rays break over the mountain over the bay
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A short time-lapse video of the rising sun

Our street
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The first activity we were to do today was swimming with wild dusky dolphins in the open ocean, followed by whale watching late in the afternoon. Encounter Kaikoura runs this fantastic operation for swimming with dolphins, and we had booked this months in advance. I was just a little worried about my wife having motion sickness as we head out into the open ocean (more on that later). We had booked the second trip of the day with Encounter Kaikoura i.e. 8.30AM (their first trip is at 6.30AM), and we reported there much ahead of of schedule only to see a big line of people already signing up. After the formalities were completed, everyone was huddled up for a brief talk about the gear we were getting and the basic do's & don'ts about it. Men and women were then sent to separate rooms to find the right size of the suit and flippers. Once everyone changed into their suits, we were made to watch a 20 minute documentary which took us through of what is expected out of us and a brief history about how the whole company came to be. We were then packed into two small buses and we drove out of town and to the south bay where two boats were waiting for us.

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The boats took us out into the open ocean to areas where the dolphins were swimming, we would enter into the ocean at that point and swim along side the dolphins. We were not allowed to make physical contact with the dolphins but it was OK to swim with them. And, the dolphins weren't entertainment for us, rather it was the other way round where we were to entertain them by making all sorts of funny noises. While on the way out to sea, every time the boat would sway up and down, my wife would feel sick and I was worried she would get sea sick. But by the time we completed our fourth jump into the sea I had started to have signs of sea sickness, this was very strange for me as I have been on boats out in the ocean many times in my life. I could not manage the 5th round, which my wife did by herself. On the way back, I was just sitting with a bucket in front of me wanting to puke at every slight undulation the boat went through. We could barely capture photographs as were busying shooting video of whole series of dives. Here's a short trailer.

I was really sick by the time we came back and was literally puking everything out, which made me really weak. Back on dry land I was starting to feel a bit better, but my stomach would take some time to settle in. So we called the Whale watch folks which we were scheduled to board in a few hours, to find out more. They told us that if you got sick on the Dolphin boat then you will definitely fall sick on the whale boats as they go out further into the ocean and later in the day the sea gets more choppy. They were kind enough to issue a full refund of whole ticket amount because I was in no condition to make it for the whale watching experience. I just spent the rest of the afternoon in bed recuperating from the morning episode, while my wife enjoys poking fun at me for the fact I got sea sick, I feel it was the diving suit which was too tight which made me sick. Who is right? I guess, we'll never know.

After a short siesta in the afternoon, we headed out to grab a bite and explore a little bit of the farther away bits of Kaikoura town. Most of the cafe's and restaurants were closed by the then and we had to stay hungry. We first headed to the top of the hill that outlines the Kaikoura peninsula, after some breathtaking views of Kaikoura town from there we explored the Peninsula walkway. After we had soaked up enough of the sun, we headed back to room to relax and just wait out the time when restaurants would open for dinner. Because we were really hungry after the tiring day swimming in the ocean. Since we had saved a fairly large sum of money by cancelling the whale watch tour, we splurged a little by heading to the best restaurant in town for dinner.

Our BnB in Kaikoura, its a heritage 100+ year old home
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Some random photography tryouts
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Along the Kaikoura Beach Road
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Kaikoura bay from the top of the hill
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Taking a walk along the peninsula now that it was low tide
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Dinner time, I had the daily fresh fish of the day
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And she had a veg pasta
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The Green Dolphin Restaurant and Bar is famous in Kaikoura for its seafood, which incidentally was pretty amazing. And the pasta that my wife had was very well made too. This restaurant indeed deserves the 'best in town' badge. After dinner we just headed back to our room, the next day we were to ride further up north along the beautiful ocean road and enter the Nelson region which is famous for its beaches. The distance was slightly more, about 300 Kms from where we were. The GPS optimistically, told us that it would be hardly a 4 hour journey, I knew it would be a little more than that. But we met another biker on the road and it became a lot more than that

Note: The quality of the pics vary wildly as they are taken from 4 different cameras of differing capability.

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Old 18th August 2015, 16:12   #4
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section). Thanks for sharing!

A really belated congrats Praful. And looks like you are continuing on your biking odyssey where you left off (did you?) even after marriage! And whats more, you are taking it across international borders !

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Old 18th August 2015, 17:24   #5
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

That was an epic biker honeymoon you guys were on! Surely, you'd have made some memories for a lifetime!

Beautiful narration too! Waiting to read the rest!
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Old 18th August 2015, 17:35   #6
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Excellent writeup Praful.

Looks like you guys had an amazing time down under.. Can't wait to read about the rest of the trip. Rating the thread a well deserved 5*.
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Old 19th August 2015, 12:43   #7
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Originally Posted by ampere View Post
A really belated congrats Praful. And looks like you are continuing on your biking odyssey where you left off (did you?) even after marriage! And whats more, you are taking it across international borders !
Well I had slowed down a LOT prior to my marriage and it continues post marriage. Barring of course the NZ ride

I hope to be back to at least 50% of what I used to ride in past !!

Originally Posted by Added_flavor View Post
That was an epic biker honeymoon you guys were on! Surely, you'd have made some memories for a lifetime!

Beautiful narration too! Waiting to read the rest!
Thanks a lot man !!

Originally Posted by satan's_valet View Post
Excellent writeup Praful.

Looks like you guys had an amazing time down under.. Can't wait to read about the rest of the trip. Rating the thread a well deserved 5*.
Thank you so much !!
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Old 19th August 2015, 14:23   #8
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Default re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

What an amazing travelogue ... I have been to NZ in Dec 2006 for the honeys and moons... and it was truly brave of you to do a biking trip in that weather. But the pics are awesome... eagerly awaiting more !! Which other places have you covered ?
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Old 19th August 2015, 16:12   #9
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Default Re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Originally Posted by mentalmaxout View Post
What an amazing travelogue ... I have been to NZ in Dec 2006 for the honeys and moons... and it was truly brave of you to do a biking trip in that weather. But the pics are awesome... eagerly awaiting more !! Which other places have you covered ?
Thank you so much, glad you liked it. There is a lot more still to come

Brave! Yes, wholeheartedly agreed. When I did my research, all the sources of information said its going be to start of Summer and the weather will be "lovely". What they did not say is how unstable the weather get during this time of year and how quickly warm sunny days turn into nasty non-stop raining days. Unfortunately for us we got pounded by some of the worst west coast weather a few days into the trip, we ended up missing out a good number of places due to the weather.

We basically did a full loop of the south island (well almost!). Only wish I had a week more to cover the whole south island in its entirety.
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Old 19th August 2015, 16:58   #10
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Default Re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Awesome, awesome report! Must be awesome to plan and travel to such a lovely location with your loved one.

Very nice pics!!
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Old 19th August 2015, 17:22   #11
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An excellent writeup and the pictures are wonderful too. Biking around lovely NZ would probably be so much more fun than driving around NZ (Which is something I did way back during my honeymoon too, have a Team BHP travelogue lying around as well).

Wish you many enjoyable miles travelling new countries and a lovely married life.

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Old 19th August 2015, 17:58   #12
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Default Re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Amazing Praful, a very belated congratulations but here s wishing you both the very best ! The pictures and the write up just makes me want to do it too !

The BnB is simply classic, a feeling much better than any luxury hotel i guess. I will be contacting you soon.
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Old 20th August 2015, 09:50   #13
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Default Re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Superb Narration Praful. Excellent pictures which shows how beautiful the land down under is (ANZ). What makes it even more special is when your partner is on the same page as you in such excursions . Luckily i'm blessed with same & I'm planning something for year end.

The pic which talks about the view from your uncle's house is mind blowing. If such is the case for all, why would anyone hate their relatives
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Old 20th August 2015, 10:57   #14
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Default Re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Brilliant write up . You have written it so well that I was visualizing all of the stuff you have written. Cant wait for the next ! And Congratulations !!
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Old 20th August 2015, 12:48   #15
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Default Re: Crosswinds - A Biker Honeymoon in New Zealand!

Truly amazing. Rated five stars.

Your wife rightly said "In later stages of life, one will be more disappointed with the things not done, than the things done".

Salute to you for accomplishing dream NZ road-trip by listening to your heart and convincing your mind.
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