The back road to Russell has been tar sealed which makes it a much more attractive proposition than the last time we we tried it - 80km of dirt and dust - terrible.
Getting fuel is a problem as the towns only gas station is closed for an hour while the pumps are being calibrated. Fortunately the owner takes pity on us and is able to fill the bikes with a bit of juggling.
The road is a real treat although much longer than the ferry route. The cafe and art shop at Helena Hill is excellent and unusually the service is first rate too, well worth a stopover.
Once back on the main road things degenerate into the usual convoy of slow moving holiday traffic and drudge through to Auckland and on to home.
Fortunately we have had a week of glorious weather and excellent motoring. Very very lucky.