Day One – Friday 3 February 2023
This is the day we assemble in Christchurch, New Zealand. You may have decided to arrive early to see some of the city of Christchurch or indeed you may have chosen to visit more of New Zealand before the tour starts. Whatever your pre-tour plans are, please make sure you are in Christchurch NZ by 5pm today at the tour hotel. There will be a tour welcome dinner at a Christchurch restaurant tonight.
Day Two – Saturday 4 February 2023
The first thing we do on the morning of day 2 is to collect the motorcycles. The cost of these is included in the tour price. We then return to the hotel to pack the bikes.
We first ride over New Zealand’s Southern Alps. This is the mountain range that runs almost the length of the South Island. We cross from the east coast to the west via Arthurs Pass. This is the highest and most spectacular road across the Southern Alps. The pass summit is at an elevation of 739m (2,425ft) above the sea level.
After descending the far side of the pass, we ride towards the west coast and go see Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. The rocks are a heavily eroded limestone area where the sea bursts through several vertical blowholes during high tides. Together with the ‘pancake’-layering of the limestone, the rocks are an unusual sight.
We then head south to our hotel for the night, in the coastal town of Greymouth.
Day Three – Sunday 5 February 2023
On day 3 we ride 122 miles along the west coast road. We will stop in a couple of locations to take photos.
The aim today is to get to the small town of Fox Glacier where for those who want to, you can take an optional spectacular helicopter ride into the mountains to stand on a glacier. There are several different flights of varying durations and costs. Full details will be provided nearer the tour.
We will eat out tonight, in a nearby saloon.
Day Four – Monday 6 February 2023
The ride today is 203 miles.
On day 4 we continue our ride down the west coast before turning inland to once more cross the Southern Alps, this time via Haast Pass. The pass is at 564 m (1,850 ft), so not especially high, but it is a great road for motorcycling.
We ride onto the town of Wanaka, on the shores of Lake Wanaka. At 42 kms long, it is New Zealands fourth largest lake.
After Wanaka we head to Queenstown, where we spend two nights. Renowned for adventure sports, there is much to do here tomorrow on our rest day.
Day Five – Tuesday 7 February 2023
Today is a rest day, spent in or around Queenstown.
Optional activities that you could take part in include:
- Jet boats
- Ride the Skyline Gondola
- Soak in a hot pool
- Do a Segway tour
- Walk or cycle the Queenstown trail
- Visit historic Arrowtown, established in 1860
- Take a scenic flight
- Bungy jump
- Whitewater rafting
Details of these activities will be made available nearer the tour start date.
Day Six – Wednesday 8 February 2023
The ride today is 185 miles.
First we ride west and then north from Queenstown to see Lake Glenorchy. Once we have looked at those splendid views, we back-track to Queenstown to head south and then west towards Te Anau.
The town of Te Anau sits on the side of Lake Te Anau and is known as a gateway to Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. We stay in the centre of this small town.
Day Seven – Thursday 9 February 2023
Today we do something rather special and go to see stunning Milford Sound.
We set out early to ride the 74 miles to the sound.
Milford Sound is a fiord in the southwest of New Zealand’s South Island. It’s known for towering Mitre Peak, plus rainforests and waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls, which plummet down the sheer sides of the the steep rocks. The fiord is home to fur seal colonies, penguins and dolphins.
Milford Sound is best explored by boat and that boat trip is included in the cost of the tour. The boat trip takes about two hours and visits all of the best locations in the Sound. We will drift alongside rushing waterfalls as we look for wildlife including fur seals, dolphins, and Fiordland-crested penguins. An on-board nature specialist provides expert commentary.
The boat is a round trip which departs from and returns to Milford sound. After getting back to Milford Sound we ride the 74 miles back to Te Anua where we spend a second night.
Day Eight – Friday 10 February 2023
We have 123 miles to ride today.
From Te Anau we ride due south to New Zealand’s south coast.
Once we reach the coast, we then head east to Invercargill, made famous for motorcycle riders by the movie ‘The World’s Fastest Indian’. The town was where a rider called Burt Munro initially built an Indian motorcycle which he took to the Bonneville Salt Flats in the USA to try to set a land speed record. The movie tells the tale of his later life and that record attempt.
Each year, Invercargill plays host to the Burt Munro Challenge, a small motorcycle rally combined with beach races, We will be there for this event. If you saw the movie, you will be keen to see the actual bike that Burt built, and we will do that while in the town.
We will stay in Invercargill for two nights.
Day Nine – Saturday 11 February 2023
We spend all day today in Invercargill, taking it easy, attending the rally and maybe watching some beach races.
Day Ten – Sunday 12 February 2023
With 280 miles to ride, this is our longest riding day. We will have an early start today!
Our route takes us on two of New Zealand’s best roads, Crown Ridge Road and Lindis Pass. Both are terrific to ride on a motorcycle! Crown Ridge Road is very twisty while the pass is set in dramatic scenery.
We will have lunch overlooking Lake Wanaka.
In the afternoon, we ride alongside Lake Pukaki, with its wonderful blue water and Mount Cook as a backdrop.
Our hotel tonight is at the base of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain.
Day Eleven – Monday 13 February 2023
This is our last main day of riding as we head back to Christchurch today. The ride is 225 miles.
We start by riding alongside Lake Pukaki once more, but this time as we head south. We then meander along Burkes Pass through the low mountains of the Southern Alps. As we approach the flatlands that dominate the geography approaching Christchurch, we divert to the west to make sure the roads stay as interesting and as twisty as possible.
Tonight we return to and stay in, the same hotel we used for the first night of the tour.
Day Twelve – Tuesday 14 February 2023
We return the motorcycles first thing after breakfast.
The tour is then officially over. Whether you fly back home today, or stay in explore the rest of New Zealand is entirely up to you. Should you wish to do some more exploring, Tour1 can help you with a (free) route plan for driving / riding the north Island. Please ask us for this.
Our group sizes normally range from 10 to 14 motorcycles.
We have varying start times each day, ranging from 08:30 to 10:00
Each day, we normally start riding at 8.30am sharp and cover in the region of 140 to 230 miles. On this tour of New Zealand we do not use any motorways. We take mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks and of course find somewhere for lunch. Our plan is to normmaly arrive at that evenings hotel by about 6pm.
The hotels we stay at vary in size and quality, and where possible, we only use hotels with good off-road parking. The hotels are not super luxury and not bottom end, but mid-range – normally 3-star. We don’t use large chain hotels in larger towns, but prefer smaller remote locations. On some nights on the tour, your evening meal is included within the tour price and on the rest of the evenings, you are free to eat where you like. Often, we will eat as a group, but it is really up to you.
We ride at a pace to suit all of the riders. We stick to all speed limits in towns, but in rural areas we ride at, let’s call them ‘more appropriate’ speeds. We generally ride in staggered convoy on straighter roads.
As we have pre-booked hotels and a schedule to stick to, we ride in all weathers. During any exceptionally inclement weather, we will pull over for short periods. We could experience a range of different types of weather, so bring waterproofs, just in case.
We like these tours to be about having a real adventure, riding on great roads with like-minded people. For that reason, we do not use a support van, but we always have a back-marker.
Each of our rides has a difficulty rating and this tour is rated as ‘moderate’. That means this tour is not recommended for new riders. You should have at least four years of riding experience on large motorcycles. You must have ridden on the right-hand side of the road before and you must be comfortable with travelling in a group of riders and be able to keep a good pace within that group. We do not ride fast, but at the same time, it is better if riders do not go too slowly. While there is not much motorway riding on the tour, as a guide, the group will be riding at speeds of 75mph on motorways. You must be confident of riding in rain and on wet roads. Each day’s riding will be around 9 hours, with breaks. You should be able to ride all day. If you are at all unsure if your riding ability is good enough for this tour, then you must contact us by telephone to discuss.