|We wake in our little den. Jared is the Guzzi club’s
contact here and is mad keen on Guzzi’s our walls are decorated with badges, posters, photos etc. Although never having left NZ we see badges from England amongst others, he tells us later he swaps them with foreign riders. I now know why I still had the V Twin rally badge in my pocket the one I came across in Kazakhstan. I will have to hunt for it, it could not go to a more deserving home. We look through the photo albums of the Rattley Tappet rallies held in the North and South island. Having got our fix of Guzzi’s and all things bike related we head to the house for breakfast.
Kev makes a call to Pete from MotoKiwi the main Guzzi dealer on the island of Waiheke just off Auckland, establishing the part is in stock he makes a hasty call to Doug and Hilary back in Hamilton to ask if it is possible to return and use their workshop before getting the part sent there. Bike sorted for now we turn our attention to pleasure.
After pausing at the i site for a map we head to Aratiatia dam, the flood gates are already open and there is a torrent rushing down the valley. There are a couple of veiwing platforms we walk to, the force of water is impressive. We stay here for a late lunch before heading back towards town stopping on the way at the ‘Bee Hive’. Inside the modern building we find two glass bee hives with a tube each to the outside for access. It allows a fascinating insite to the workings of a thriving bee hive and to see how a natural hive is formed. There are many information boards and we learn a lot more about the bee life cycle than we knew before. They also do mead and honey tasting which we sample and two honey flavoured ice creams so we try one each the verdict is they are both yummy.
We still have time for one more thing so we swing into Craters of the Moon. This is Kev’s first taste of geothermal activity. It is staffed by volunteers and for a small fee they look after the car park as in the past it was prone to a bit of thievery. The enthusiastic lady offers to look after our jackets and helmets in the booth, you won’t want them on she says.
Craters of the Moon is a geothermal area in a little hollow in the valley. We see plumes of steam land smell sulphur ong before we get close. Our walkways are mainly raised boardwalks as the ground is ever changing and what was once safe ground is now a steaming mass. It is quite surreal to see steam venting from rocks and feel the heat on your face and body when you get close. The boiling mud pools are almost dried up due to it being summer and hot and dry for a while. It takes about an hour to wander round and get gently roasted in hot steam. We go to gather our belongings from the kiosk. “Your bike’s created quite a stir round here, lots of people have stopped to look at it and take pictures ” she says, we get chatting and hand her a card. “Oh! is it a Moto Guzzi, my son in law would love to see that. Can I take a picture of you on it? He and his best mate are Guzzi mad, they organise a rally for them” We laugh, and ask his mate wouldn’t be Jared would it.?
Back at Jared’s we have all been invited to a bbq at a friend’s house so we pile into Jared and Annette’s car with the kids. After a good social evening with great food and beer we bundle back ‘home’ for bed.
We say goodbye to Jared and Annette in the morning, we would have loved to stay longer they are lovely people and we haven’t explored half of what Taupo has to offer but the guzz needs fixing. Jared plots us an excellent route to Hamilton on back roads.
After a lovely ride stopping for photos, lunch and chatting we meander our way to Hamilton, the alternator has suddenly stopped charging so something else to look at whilst we are there.
We pause in town to collect bike supplies, oil, bearings etc before we descend on Doug and Hilary again.
Doug has arranged for a member of the Uylsses club to arrive after dinner. David the treasurer turns up and a short time later Jim Galt. We have a good chat about all sorts for an hour or so and take some photos, after they have left Kev makes a start in the garage whilst I catch up on emails.