After thinking I might get away with the sandfly bites when I didn’t get the same reaction as Louise – I was wrong!

Not much sleep last night, spent most of it lying on the settee wrapped up with sellotape. Which, to be fair helped an awful lot with the itchy sensation – it seems to “restrain” your skin from expanding so stops the itching that a skin explosion causes. Well found Louise!

Having said that, it looks like its going to be a bit of a windy, wet week ahead for us – although still warm – according to the weather outlook. So, itching aside we just had to make the most of it!

We had a quick look at the map and decided we’d head off for Martinborough – there is a New Zealand Wine trail in that area too! Margaret, take note!! We probably won’t visit the wineries though, as I’ll be driving and its asking a lot of Louise to stay on the back of the bike over the Rimutuka road (that’s the link “road” over the Tararua Ranges) whilst under the influence! We’ll probably go back and stay over methinks! I’d seen a picture of Castlepoint on the East coast a couple of weeks ago and thought that might be somewhere nice to visit.

We decided to go over the Akatawara road – its a challenging one Fitz! – and via the Hutt Valley to go over the Rimutuka. We passed through Featherston and turned off for Martinborough. A lovely view out in to the valley as we crested one of the few hills.

Martinborough Ahead

Martinborough is a town founded by a bloke called Martin, obvious really. We both decided he must have been a bit of a square, as the whole town is centred by a square (more so than anywhere else we’ve been) and everything radiates out in straight lines or parallel squares! We stopped off for a coffee at the “Village Cafe” in the sun –  no surprise there then! It had a lovely selection of wines and some lovely food, so we had some lunch too.

Martinborough for a coffee

I checked our fuel (just under half a tank) and decided it was easily enough to get along the back road to Carterton…… Given the ease of road-following, that would have been true. Lesson learned on the new bike, never again assume that you’ll get straight there!

We set off East out of Martinborough, I’m fairly sure it was a heading of 90 degrees on the compass too, good old Martin! Unfortunately, I missed the switchback turn off for Gladstone which was the back road we were aiming for and we headed off blithely unaware further East knowing that the Pacific Ocean at some point if I got lost! When the road turned to an unsealed one (gravel again) I should really have not been so confident in the direction we were taking.

However, it was such a gorgeous day and we were in a “whatever, lets go see” mood.


When the road turned to gravel and we descended into a lush valley I quickly looked at the fuel gauge – it had disappeared down to flashing reserve. Ok…. as this was the first time I’d taken the bike to reserve, the question is how far can you go? We stopped by the Bush Gully Station – sheep-shearing station we presumed – to try and suss where we were exactly, but our sturdy pocket-map wasn’t quite up to detailed analysis and we couldn’t quite work out exactly where we were. I decided we’d travel onwards to the next junction – if there was one – and sort it from there.

We got to a junction about 5 mins later which allowed us to work out exactly where we were! Guess what? Yep, you got it, in the middle of nowhere with not much likelihood of a fuel stop anywhere near. Executive decision time, so we headed back for Martinborough with a slightly sweaty trip as the fuel indicator counted down to “not a lot mate, you’re on fumes”!

However, we did make it back and filled up with fuel. I was all for carrying on to Castlepoint, but after taking a quick visit to the I-Site was convinced that maybe Lake Ferry on the South coast was worth a visit. They did suggest Cape Pallister, but there’s a LOTR trip near there that I would prefer a day to do. Off southwards then!

The road, true to Mr Martin, was almost dead straight to the coast. Boring…..

We did find a lovely pub/cafe in Lake Ferry though, so we had a couple of drinks – non-alcoholic of course, well, almost I had a shandy! It was a lovely spot, well worth another visit soon.

We headed back up the Featherston road this time which was far more fun and off home for a rest and recuperate, via Battle Hill Rd!


306 km (190 miles) today

Category: Emigrating
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