January 2009 Wellington Cup and?

The Wellington Cup for my second time. A healthy size group of us, picnic lunches and great weather. Lots of people and unbelievable lines all day. I guy could make 10 times the money they make on alcohol if they had more bars set up. Next year I'm definitely bringing my own booze. The main feature though, The races were very exciting, especially because I had money on most of the races. This year I picked by the names I liked along with middle of the road odds. At the end of the day I came away $20 up which was basically the same as last year.

This could be TLOB video of the year and were only in January!



Random night out with two of my flatmates, Max and Becs. Good girls and the flat is going really good. Probably one of the best flats in NZ. I'm sure we will see Zeke's photo in February.


Robbie Burns Day (250th birthday of the great Scottish writer). My mate Rob Wright with others put together a good night of whisky tasting, traditional eating and yes poetry. I even wrote one and recited it to a predominantly Scot crowd. Needless to say I kept with the canadian accent even though you really want to jump into your best Scottish after a couple of whiskies.

"New Scotland Dinner"

None at our table sit alone,
Most amongst us are far from home,
Some familiar, some unknown,
Great New Zealand,
We join to dine in our new home,
Long live Scotland

by Brad Costa 25/01/09

Piping in the Haggis, yum.

Day 12 Northland, Home time

Day 12, the last day of the Northland trip. It was a great trip and I would like to do it again!
Left Auckland around 8:30am knowing that I had about 8 hours ahead of me.

Rode SH1 south to SH39. C4,R8,T5,V5. Probably the smoothest road you will get in NZ and still a bit of curve. A pretty standard hwy.

SH39 to Otorohanga. Took this short cut down SH 39 instead of SH1. C6,R7,T4,V7. Nice ride through NZ farmland despite lots of big truck traffic.

On to SH4, which is awesome. Stopped at Taumerunui for lunch. C7/8,R5/6,T2/3,V7/8.





Taumerunui to Wanganui. Great views of Mt Ruapehu.

Unfortunately it looks they were in the middle of a straightening project for the section of road closer to Wanganui, boo! C9,R5/6,T3,V9.


Back to the Batcave. The boys back in their box. Great trip and as always good to be home.

Day 11 Northland, Ahipara to Auckland

Stayed at Endlesssummer backpackers. Great spot in Ahipara. Made my way down the West coast of Northland to Auckland.





Ahipara to Kohu Kohu. C9,R3,T2,V8. Lots of different curves, a bit of pot holing and wash outs. Views of Forest, Farms and Lakes.

Met a biker in town who told me the ferry was about to pick up and the line was getting long. So I whip out there and made it just in time (jumping the line of course).

A very full ferry

After Ferry, on to Dargaville. C9,R7,T3,V9. Great stuff along with the biggest tree in NZ Tane Mahuta.



Tane Mahuta. Notice the size of the tree trunks in front of Tane. It's pretty thick, but not overly tall.
Where else is a farmer to get gas?

Nice guys at the bike shop in Dargaville lent me a can of oil to greese up my chain as I didn't pack any with me.Nice relaxing piece of road between Dargaville and Whangerai (SH12). C8,R7,T2,V8 SWEEPS!


And on the way to Auckland (Wellsford to Helensville) C8,R7,T2,V8. Great road condition.

But what the hell...

Day 10 Northland


One of the main reason I came North was to reach the top of NZ after being to the furthest South, East and West (sort of).

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Rode from Paihia to Waipapakauri. Passed through Keri Keri (another touristy place) to have a quick look. I think Paihia is the better spot. C7,R7,T3,V7. Good sweeps on a really nice road. Little bit of ocean and some forest for views. Nice.

Made my way out to the Cape stopping for gas early in order to avoid the huge price at the top of NZ (I’m learning). The road was great and the first 30 km were full of amazing curves (not too tight). I got stuck behind a cop and 4 more cars ahead of him. They were all going under the speed limit so I passed them while keeping the limit. I was a bit concerned as I only had one mirror and may be stopped. Looking back in the other mirror I saw the cop lights go on and I thought, time to put on the accent. Turns out he pulled the front car over for going to slow, I love it! C8,R7,T3,V7/8.

Will I make it?


Had to battle about 10 km of awful, big and chunky gravel which sport bikes hate. I was about to turn around when I saw two sport bikes coming my way riding two up. I asked them what the story was with the road ahead and they said as kiwi’s do, “You’ll be right mate”. Shit my pants twice, once getting to the cape and once coming back, but I was right mate. Spent over an hour at the most Northern point of NZ, Cape Reinga. Lots of tourists, but also lots of space to do your own thing. Saw the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean come together and stared off into the great mass of sea north of me. Makes you feel just a little bit smaller than you already are.

Shot of the Tasman Sea and Pacific Ocean coming together

Huffing and Puffing



The West side and the start of 90 mile beach.


Chilled bike


1.2 million dollar toilet facility.

Random stuff that my mother loves, a place to take a break on the side of the road. Why not? I would have gotten more photos, but this dog was charging towards me.

Day 9 Northland, The Rainbow Warrior and my 100th blog!!!

Wow, 100 blog postings. I think I started this thing in August 2006 and I'm still going. It's been good to do, especially looking back and it's good to have something in life to stick with. I guess I'm locked in now, oh shit, I better keep this thing exciting!

Day 9 of the Northland trip was one of the best. Headed out from Paihia for a 45 minute shuttle to Matauri Bay where the Rainbow Warrior lies. This was a Green Peace boat causing the French Weapons testers all kinds of problems off the coast of NZ in 1985. While in port a couple of French associates placed bombs on the hull and drop her in Auckland Harbour. Outrage by the New Zealanders followed, the French associates were banished to a secluded tropical island for 3 years or so and the Kiwis are still sore about it to this day. In, I think, 1987 it was floated and brought up to Matauri Bay where it took about 10 hours to sink again (that's a long time for a planned sinking). Read more (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinking_of_the_Rainbow_Warrior).

Matauri Bay, preparing for our dive. The Italian freelance dive master behind me checking out the boat tractor.

The First dive was amazing! We went to a cove about 10 minutes from the Warrior for a 12 to 15 m dive, 50 mins and were bombarded by fish looking for a Kinna feed (Sea egg?). My favourite was these pinkish, longer type fish with a rainbow collar that were so friendly you could pet them. It was a bit scary at first because they were all over my head waiting for me to get the egg open so they could feast. After that I relaxed and really got into it. I need to get an underwater camera.

Lunch on a quiet island

Off in the distance a lady takes her dog for a boat ride after a run on shore.

Second dive was great too! We went down to 26 m to get to the Rainbow Warrior in a group of 4, plus the Dive guide/owner/cool guy Kelly who reminded everyone of a young Robert Redford that could free dive 25 metres, holy shit! Moving along the healthy sized ship the Danish couple with us kept posing for photos and my dive buddy Nick and I tried not to get nipped at by the cleaning fish on the deck. After a couple of swim throughs and a Christmas tree? we made it to the end of the boat. The couple stopped and the guy pulled out a laminated piece of paper and got on one knee. One bubble for Yes and two for No. He put a ring on her finger while Kelly took photos and Nick and I stood in the back as witnesses. Cool. Check out the video to hear the Bob Marley going and the champagne flowing as the Danes sit at the front of the boat.

Best day of diving for me and I almost didn't go because of my equipment problem. Kelly said the day before, "I'd rather you go diving with a free regulator from me than miss the dive". Cool guy. Highly recommend Dive HQ in Paihia for the Rainbow Warrior dive.