Feb 18

Ultimate Rides, A 4000 km Motorcycle New Zealand Ride Report

Farkle My Ride’s first rider submitted article for “Ultimate Rides” will get you all dreaming.  Have you ever wanted to motorcycle New Zealand?

Words and Pictures by Philip Drake


After many months of planning, 6 guys rode for 9 days and 8 nights away around some of the best scenery and roads you could ride in my view. Our journey was to ride 4000 km, to motorcycle New Zealand with friends.  One of the team flew in from Australia and hired a bike here.

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Day 1: was a ride from my home town of Timaru to Bluff (bottom of NZ) then staying in Invercargill.

 Team all set to go Saturday morning.

Ultimate Rides New Zealand

The journey begins


We had some real great twisty roads around the south east coast (Catlins). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Catlins

Arrived in Bluff and the pommy Australian had to touch down his foot in the sea at the bottom of New Zealand.

Day 2: Invercargill to Milford Sound then camp up at Te Anau motorcamp. Riding around the southern coast.

Lake Manapouri not far from Te Anua where we will unload our gear at the motorcamp and prepare for the 236 km round trip into beautiful Milford Sound, which I am sure is going to be a highlight of the trip for the guys who have not been there before.IMG_2757The trip from Te Anau to Milford Sound is one of those roads that you just keeping saying wow in your head and the next lot of photos will explain what I mean as a picture paints more than a thousand words with these photos.
Waiting to go through Homer Tunnel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homer_Tunnel

Once we arrived in Milford Sound we decided to board a small cruise ship to go on a 2.5 hrs sail through the sound and out to Tasman Sea and back.

Since we took the last sailing we were allowed to park the bikes by the ferry terminal as all the tourist buses had gone.IMG_2804
After we got off the boat we quickly kitted up as we had to be back through Homer Tunnel before 7pm or we would be locked in on the Milford Sound side because of risk of huge boulders had come down in recent weeks blocking the tunnel. Next few shots are of the awesome ride road on the Milford side of the tunnel and our final wait for the last green light at 6.55pm!

Next few shots of our ride back to Te Anau and we were looking forward to getting a good feed and having a few cold ones.

Day 3: Te Anau to Wanaka with time spent in Queenstown on luge and eating. The original trip plan meant only a 227 km day, but we decided to ride the longer way straight to Wanaka and come back over the crown range, which is the highest sealed road in the country. We spent some time in the tourist mecca of Queentown and then rode home to our motorcamp in Wanaka over the crown range again which is only a 70km ride.  One of the original bungy jumps in the world just out of Queenstown.IMG_2846

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One of our targets on this trip was to ride the four extreme points of south island sealed road and ride on the highest sealed road which is what this next photo is on top of crown range, great road between Queenstown and Wanaka.

Looking down at Queenstown from the skyline restaurant and then we went a bit higher on the luge gondola and went down the luge track a few times and a bunch of bike guys had a lot of fun.  Followed by waiting for our evening meal at Queenstown’s water front

Day 4: Wanaka to through beautiful Haast Pass to Hokitika (on the wet coast). At Haast for lunch our group split in half with two other following me to Jackson’s Bay (this was the only piece of road in the whole trip I have not been on) which was a extra 100km round trip and the other three went up the coast to go to Franz Josef Glacier and take their gear off and walk for an hour, we were to meet them back in Franz Josef Township. 

Just some shots on ride into through Haast Pass and at Haast for lunch.

At Jackson’s Bay which is as far south you can ride down the west coast road.IMG_2882
Myself and two others rode back to Franz Josef Glacier carpark to see if the other 3 had finished their tramp but their bikes were still there so we left a note and went into the township 6 km away to get out of the hot son and get a feed.
The others arrived in 30 minutes and then we rode onto Hokitika where we camped up at a hotel called Stumpers.

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Day 5: Hokitika to Westport which is only 140km then unload gear and have some lunch then ride a return trip of 190km to Karamea where the west coast road ends. That’s as far north as you can go on sealed roads. The roads are a bit rough, twisty and some serious drop off cliffs. I knocked my new GoPro off its sucker that was on the tank when I used my left hand to adjust my right knee armour while moving at about 80 km/h. The camera bounced down the road with no damage apart from a couple of marks on the black locking release thingy. I have a safety line on now, LOL. Some of the videos from the GoPro are on a friend’s notebook and we are going to check it out, but my guess is with mounting on screen it a bit shaky.

 End of the road at Karamea.IMG_2893
The road from Karamea to Westport is a road where you have to take care on a motorbike. Due to low traffic volumes it is not that well maintained at times but a great twisty road.

Looking back where we had just come from on the twisty hills.
Evening meal at Westport run by a American guy who knew how to make hamburgers and good beer.IMG_2908
Day 6: Westport to Nelson with detour to top of south island to a place called Farewell Spit. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Farewell_Spit
We left Westport between the first rain showers we had had on our tour (on the west coast or as some call it the wet coast). Everyone had their rain suits on, but when we left the coast we never got anything but drizzle and within a hour it was hot so all suit came off at first coffee stop.

A bit of Thai for evening meal with tom yum soup at sunny Nelson, not all the time enjoyed haha, we had lost one of our guys for the night as he had ridden on to Blenheim to catch up with his son who had just graduated from the Royal New Zealand Air Force.


Queen Charlotte Sound

Day 7:  Nelson to Hanmer Springs via the inland scenic route. The plan for the day was not to be to late to Hanmer to have a good soak in the hot pools there and I had booked our motel only a couple of minutes walk to the pools.

Photo shot on Queen Charlotte Sound.IMG_2931
Meeting up with my friend’s son at air force base at Blenheim, followed by lunch at this cool cafe with the old plane at Blenheim.

Coffee hit required at Kaikoura and I rode my friend’s Z750 in a we miscalculated your stops and he put 17 litres in his 17 litre tank.IMG_2939Inland scenic route on the way to Hanmer Springs.IMG_2940Bridge into the Hanmer Springs hot pools. This was planned to stop here to give the bodies a good soak after a week on the road.IMG_2941Day 8: Hanmer to Akaroa via Lewis and Arthur’s Pass.

 This was our last big day as day 9 was just a 200km run home and mostly boring straight roads down the main highway.  On Canterbury Plains we got away early and blasted some serious kms, so we could get to the two very nice three-storey apartment we had hired for a final night together. Total distance for day 8 was 509 km and not a lot of photos as we probably all had just about enough photos by now.

 This photo is not far from the top of Arthur’s Pass on the western side. It was drizzling lightly and we were head to the eastern coast. Funny thing is once we got over the pass it was sunny straight away and when we stopped for a light lunch at Springfield it was up to 30c.IMG_2946At Akaroa we had book to 3 story apartment for the night, ground floor had a garage and bedroom, shower and toilet, middle floor kitchen, lounge and toilet and top floor had two bedrooms, shower and toilet, so we worked out with the 6 guys we all had our own toilet haha.
My bedroom on 3rd floor and Akaroa Bay.

Day 9: Last day was just a short 200km ride home with one fuel and coffee stop.

 Final photo was where we started 9 days ago overlooking the bay at Timaru where we started 4000km ago.IMG_2963Really great bunch of guys and enjoyed having a bit of bike swaps on the road especially a good go on the hired Triumph Sprint over the Takaka Hill and relaxing on a 1991 Honda ST 1100, my 2008 Versys 650 did the business and more than kept up with bigger and faster machines and the airhawk cushion may trip easy.
The next day after the trip I rode my Ninja 1000 part way with the guy who was taking the hired bike back to Christchurch and let him have a turn on the Ninja. He was impressed as I did find the Triumph very lumpy in the engine compared with the Ninja.

 Made a suggestion to the team of a trip from KL Malaysia to Chaingmai Thailand and back in a couple of years so may see if that comes about.  (Editor’s note….We hope so and please take lots of great pictures again.)

To see videos from this story click here.

[important]Thanks Phil for sharing an awesome “Ultimate Ride” with Farkle My Ride.  Please share your ultimate ride, or your favourite local roads with other Farkle My Ride readers.  Click here to learn how.[/important]


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