A scenic ride to a remote West Coast beach
We spontaneously decided to make use of the good weather and get the bike out. The plan was to visit the remote beach of Waikawau with its man-made tunnel, created by three men in 1911. This special place is located on the West Coast, between Marokopa and Awakino, a very scenic drive. The challenge was to source accommodation, as there is not much around. Luckily we found our AirBnB hosts Jan & Maurice. Jan even cooked us a dinner and served breakfast, so we got sorted for the adventure to begin!
Essentials to take on a two day motorbike trip
On the motorbike it is always tricky to carry food or even other items. We limited our self to stuff that we really need: Tools for the bike, some snacks and a pair of clothing to change as well as a toothbrush and a phone charger. It’s important to carry a set of plastic rubbish bags, to hide the protective clothing, because you don’t want to wear them when going for a walk in the forest.
Map of the trip
The route we followed was GPS-recorded by Bernard and you can see where we have been on the below map. We have added some point of interest and our recommendations for stops.
Most of these places we visited on this trip or we have been there before. The drive itself is mainly thru remote areas, where you don’t find any shops, just scenic routes which showcase a lot of nature.
Mangaotaki Reserve and Waitanguru Falls
Along the way we visited Mangaotaki Reserve for a 40 min walk thru the bush. It has a nice little lookout point. You can learn a lot from the interpretation panels about the native plants in the reserve. This makes it a pleasant stop on the way.
Further up the road you can find another gem. Don’t miss a short stop at the beautiful Waitanguru Falls. They are only 10 min walk from the carpark, thru a shady native forest, especially welcome on a hot day.
Waikawau, remote beach with an access tunnel
Be prepared for some pretty remote countryside for the next part of the trip. Not many people live in this part of New Zealand and probably even make it out to here. The road is mainly sealed between Marokopa and Awakino, even it does not show so on the AA map. This may be the reason that not many people come out here. However, it is so worth it!
The view of the coast is amazing and we had it all to our self. Take your time to explore and discover an interesting carving on the south side of the beach. You might never come back here again.Before you travel, please check the tide tables as the beach might not be accessible or become dangerous during high tide. The sand is soft in places and we nearly didn’t get the bike back of the beach. You might want to miss out on this experience.
Three Sisters and Elephant Rock at Tongaporutu Beach
Good things also have to end and we had to move on as the day got shorter. It’s an 1 hour drive to get to Tongaporutu, close to where we stayed the night. In Tongaporutu you find the famous rock formation of the Three Sisters and the “former” Elephant Rock (unfortunately he collapsed during the Kaikoura Earthquake in November 2016). The photo below was taken in January 2016 and still shows him intact with one of the Sisters rock formations. Be aware that you can only get there at low tide.
Day 2 on the back road via Ohura
The next day we took an alternative route back to Taupo. Similar scenic with amazing views over valleys that hardly anyone ever gets to. We stopped at the town of Ohura, as we were told there would be a cafe.
Similar to other small towns in remote New Zealand, Ohura has seen better times. All shops were closed. Unfortunately, the business that could be function as a cafe, was only open on Thursdays or by appointment. We met some friendly locals who assured us that somebody would be living on most of the premises and we could ring the bell to find them. We hope that this community will be able to revitalize Ohura with the newly proposed initiative, we found on another closed shop.