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Thrilling Motorbike Tour New Zealand

This tour of the North Island and part of the South Island of New Zealand gives you a close-up view of beautiful scenery ranging from rainforests, pasture land, white-sandy beaches, and rocky coastlines to rugged mountain ranges. Don't hesitate to join this tour with Pohutukawa Motorcycle Touring to experience the excitement.

Key information

  • Terrain: asphalt
  • Bike: rental or personal bike
  • Mileage: 6,450 kilometers / 3,820 miles
  • Daily rides: 16 - 457 kilometers / 10 - 284 miles

Highlights

  • Starts and ends in Auckland
  • Ride the impressive west coast highway
  • Stop for a visit to the lighthouse located in Waitiki Landing
  • Interacting with friendly New Zealanders along the way of the tour
  • Visit the top of the North Island and historic Bay of Islands
  • Ride over the Southern Alps to reach Geraldine
  • Visit the giant kauri tree Tāne Mahuta
  • 34 nights accommodation

Skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Styles


25 riding days
Airport transfer included: Auckland Airport
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Accommodation

Your accommodation will be ranging from modestly-priced cabins to deluxe-quality hotels and a couple of authentic "turn of the century"-style hotels.

Program

Picking up your bike and leaving Auckland, you will ride through the rich farm land of the central North Island, visiting the geothermal volcanic center of the island, along beautiful sweeping coastal roads, through old growth forests, and rugged hill country. While enjoying gentle sweeping corners mixed with twisty back roads. You will experience the rugged mountains of the Southern Alps running the length of the South Island, where you will ride through rainforests and misty mountains.

The roads in New Zealand are in good condition with light traffic out of the cities. Other than road repairs, you will not be required to ride on any unsealed roads.

Itinerary

Day 1: Auckland

After arriving at the Auckland International Airport (AKL), you’ll be met at the airport and shuttled to your hotel for check in and then to pick up your bike. Today is set aside to allow you to settle in and rest up before the adventure begins tomorrow. Visit some of the city sights. The day will include a safety meeting to review road rules and safety requirements, and a “Get to know you” dinner.

Day 2: Auckland to Taupo (325 kilometers / 192 miles / 7.5 hours)

Leaving your hotel and the city behind you, you will head out on lightly traveled country roads, through rolling farmland. Stopping along the way for breaks and lunch in small out-of-the way country towns, combined with viewing the amazing scenery will have you pinching yourself to make sure you’re not dreaming. After a relaxing lakeside dinner, a soak in the thermal hot pools will be the perfect end to the day.

Day 3: Taupo to Opotiki (242 kilometers / 145 miles / 6.75 hours)

Leaving the lakeside resort, you will travel deep into the geothermal area of the island; this combined with a visit to one of the important cultural interpretive centers for the native population of New Zealand, will give you a firsthand look at how New Zealand’s Maori people lived in harmony with nature. Riding the twisty roads through the lake county, you will end your day on the coast, where a walk on the white sands will be a relaxing end to the day.

Day 4: Opotiki to Nuhaka (394 kilometers / 235 miles / 8.5 hours)

Today you will follow a lightly travelled road as it hugs the coast, taking you into a part of New Zealand that is a mix of rugged hills, inspirational coastal seascapes, and rich farm land. This combined with a small population makes for an easy riding day. Tonight’s stop is on a working sheep and beef farm where you’re treated like royalty, and have one of the best meals you will experience. This combined with a soak in local hot pools will have you sleeping like a king / queen.

Day 5: Nuhaka to Palmerston Nth (403 kilometers / 240 miles / 8.25 hours)

After a typical New Zealand breakfast, you will continue to follow the coast through more rugged twisty roads crossing rivers and gorges, before arriving in New Zealand’s North Island wine region. After a light lunch and a visit to local points of interest, you will continue riding on well-maintained roads towards your stop for the night. On the way, various detours provide opportunities to experience local culture.

Day 6: Palmerston North to Nelson via Interisland ferry (260 kilometers / 155 miles / 8.50 hours)

Setting out early to catch the interisland ferry, you will ride to the port located in New Zealand’s capital city. Once on the ferry and the bikes tied down in well-designed supports, relax and enjoy crossing the Cook Strait.

After leaving the ferry on the South Island, head out through some fantastic twists and sweeping corners with picturesque seascapes, windy roads, native bush, changing elevations, and numerous photo stops, along with some ziplining that will lead you to your stop for the night. Make sure your GoPro is ready with plenty of back up batteries.

Day 7: Nelson loop free day (252 kilometers / 150 miles / 6.75 hours)

Self-guided optional ride along the coast. Today is a free day for you to catch up on all those important things like sorting out photos, writing down all the key points, and even getting that pesky laundry taken care of. Optional self-guided local ride routes are available for you to explore the area if the thought of doing laundry doesn’t appeal to you.

Day 8: Nelson to Westport (270 kilometers / 161 miles / 6.75 hours)

Heading towards the coast through bush covered hills, leads you to some great gorge riding. This is another GoPro day (there will be lots more on this tour). Have those batteries charged and ready.

Day 9: Westport to Franz Josef (284 kilometers / 169 miles / 8.0 hours)

Today’s ride takes you along the world-famous coastal highway, sweeping through fantastic corners, racing past rocky outcrops, and grinning at the top of your lungs all the way. Mix this with some fantastic stops for one of a kind scenery and you have a ride location that is amazing. Stopping along the way to check out the local shops where you can purchase green stone jewelry produced by native artists.

Day 10: Franz Josef to Cardrona (312 kilometers / 186 miles / 8.0 hours riding)

If you love waterfalls, wild bush, misty mountains, and easy sweepers then today is your day. The road will take you alongside lakes, rivers, and great photo opportunities. Also, another great GoPro day. End the day at a quaint country pub / hotel.

Day 11: Cardrona to Queenstown (51 kilometers / 30 miles / 2.50 hours)

Sleep in, have a lazy breakfast, and then set out for an easy ride through some tight corners towards the adventure capital of New Zealand. Spend the balance of the day and into the evening enjoying some of the features that are available.

Day 12: Queenstown loop (105 kilometers / 65 miles / 5.75 hours)

Enjoying a full day in the adventure capital of New Zealand, today is a treat for all adventure junkies, a jet boat ride, and an easy cruise along the lake for a relaxing lunch. End the day with a gondola ride to watch the sunset from above the town.

Day 13: Queenstown loop rest day

Enjoying a lazy day in the adventure capital of New Zealand, today is a treat for all adventure junkies, a jet boat ride, a gondola ride, or a more relaxed steamer cruise on the lake, enjoying some easy riding, or you could catch up on all those important things like sorting out photos, writing down all the key points of the tour so far, and even dealing with that pesky laundry thing.

Day 14: Queenstown to Te Anau - Milford Sounds (425 kilometers / 253 miles / 9.75 hours)

  • Milford Sounds is suggested for advanced riders only

After breakfast, head south and follow the sweeping lake shore as you continue south. After checking into your accommodation, head out to ride to Milford Sounds, before returning for the night.

Day 15: Te Anau to Bluff (215 kilometers / 130 miles / 6.25 hours)

Today will take you to the south end of the highway (photo op) and a night’s stay in a turn of the century pub. Imagine dinner in the pub. Pohutukawa Motorcycle Touring suggests fish and chips and oysters and beer, over pool and darts. On the way, stop to see the “World’s Fastest Indian” display.

Day 16: Bluff to Dunedin (270 kilometers / 160 miles / 7.0 hours)

Imagine a visit to Niagara Falls. Yes, these are real (another photo op). After enjoying the falls, you will climb steadily through great scenery. The day ends in a city with a distinct Scottish flavor. It’s also the home of a great brewery (but more about that tomorrow).

Day 17: Dunedin loop (426 kilometers / 254 miles / 7.5 hours)

Taking a loop through the foothills lets you view the mountains from up close, while you lose yourself in the ride. If you think this looks like where an orc battle could have taken place, you’re right.

Day 18: Dunedin rest day (20 kilometers / 12 miles / 30 minutes riding)

Today is a rest day with nothing planned. One suggestion however is a visit to Baldwin Street (the steepest street in the world), or go on a walking tour of Dunedin’s down town or you could catch up on all those important things like dealing with that troublesome laundry thing again. Leave time for lunch at Speights Brewery.

Day 19: Dunedin to Timaru (425 kilometers / 253 miles / 7.5 hours)

Heading inland lets you enjoy some great rolling country, cruising alongside picturesque lakes and enjoying the moment. The day ends on the coast for a relaxing evening.

Day 20: Timaru to Blackball (355 kilometers / 210 miles / 8.0 hours)

Leaving the quiet seaside town, you head across the plains and begin the twisting climb into the southern alps. Stopping near the top to watch the native parrots (Kea’s) is a great photo op.

Continuing on your way down from the pass and through scattered native bush brings you to your stop for the night. This 200-year old hotel is full of history and maybe a ghost or two. It is home to the best chef Pohutukawa Motorcycle Touring has come across in the South Island.

Day 21: Blackball to Kaikoura (330 kilometers / 199 miles / 8.0 hours)

After a relaxing breakfast, hit the road, and cruise along between rich farmland and patches of thick native bush on smooth well maintained meandering roads. Today will take you back through the southern alps to a lunch stop at a quaint spa resort. As you leave this picturesque location, the road will lead you along the base of the coastal mountain range to your stop for the night in a peaceful seaside town.

Day 22: Kaikoura to Palmerston North via interisland ferry (157 kilometers / 93 miles / 2.0 hours or 195 kilometers / 116 miles / 3.0 hours)

You must be on the road by 6 a.m. to make the 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. sailing. Setting out early to catch the interisland ferry, you will ride to the port located in a small seaside town tucked into the picturesque hills surrounding a deep-water harbor. Once on the ferry and the bikes tied down in well-designed supports, sit back, relax, and enjoy crossing the Cook Strait. Once off the ferry, head out of the city for some easy riding through the ranges to your stop for the night.

Day 23: Palmerston North to Whanganui (269 kilometers / 160 miles / 6.75 hours)

Leaving the university city behind, you will steadily climb towards the mountainous central part of the Island. The countryside becomes more rugged and the riding becomes more fun. A visit to a local museum, followed by a lunch break, sets you up for a fast-paced ride along one of the most fun roads in the country, through some beautiful scenery.

Day 24: Whanganui to New Plymouth (209 kilometers / 124 miles / 6.0 hours)

Today you will have a shorter riding day along the west coast, giving you a view of the black sands found on this side of the island. The horizon is dominated by the dormant volcano known as Mount Taranaki. This mountain and surrounding countryside has played significant roles in many films, such as The Last Samurai and some of the “Lord of the Rings” films. A ride around the base of this mountain leads you to your stop for the night.

Day 25: New Plymouth to Cambridge (345 kilometers / 210 miles / 7.75 hours)

Heading north along the windswept coast before turning inland is a highlight of this tour; you will ride sweeping bends, rugged ranges, deep gorges, and along the tops of hills looking out over rich farm land and thick native forests, while traveling alongside deep rivers and lakes.

Day 26: Cambridge loop (211 kilometers / 126 miles / 7.25 hours)

Today you will get a mix of easy riding and some local sights, including visiting a world-famous glow-worm cave and seeing native birds in a natural setting.

Day 27: Cambridge rest day (50 kilometers / 30 miles / 4.50 hours)

A treat for all “Lord of the Rings” fans, you will get to walk through Hobbiton and have a drink in “The Green Dragon” tavern. This location is surrounded by some great riding roads and is a fun day.

The afternoon is free time for you to catch up on all those important things like sorting out photos, writing down all the key points and wow factors of your tour so far, maybe sending more postcards or shopping, and even getting that pesky laundry taken care off.

Day 28: Cambridge to Helensville (457 kilometers / 272 miles / 9.0 hours)

After a relaxing night, you will head north east towards some fantastic riding locations. Riding from open farm country, into twisty gorges, over bush covered ranges and alongside white sand beaches will have you saying “wow!” Today has lots of photo opportunities; so keep your camera handy. A short ride through New Zealand’s largest city brings you to your stop for the night.

Day 29: Helensville to Paihia (265 kilometers / 158 miles / 8.75 hours)

You’re now heading into parts of New Zealand that are rich in history for both the native population and the European settlers that followed them. The roads are lightly travelled and full of easy sweepers. Today will take you from seaside to hilly elevations, through open countryside and thick native bush. Along the way you will stop in areas where the first European settlers landed and carved out a new life as they colonized the country. Stopping for a break in the seaside town of Russell lets you walk in the footsteps of these early adventurers, while you live your own adventures. Crossing the bay on a ferry brings you to your stop for the night.

Day 30: Paihia loop rest day (28 kilometers / 17 miles / 4.50 hours)

Today is a rest day, with a planned visit to the location where the treaty was signed between Europeans and the Maori tribes. This is a short ride from your accommodation. The rest of the day is set aside for you to explore the Bay of Islands, catch up of various tasks, walk on the beach, or to deal with that laundry thing again.

Day 31: Paihia to Waitiki Landing (250 kilometers / 150 miles / 7.0 hours)

Leaving the seaside town of Paihia, you will ride to visit some of the local historical sites as you travel further north. The island is getting narrower from this point on and you are never far from either coast. The influence of the warmer weather is evident in the type of forest growth, parrots in the trees, and the warm friendly people.

You will ride through to the most northly point of the North Island and stop for a visit to the lighthouse located there. An area rich in history, this is a must stop photo op.

Day 32: Waitiki Landing to Kaihu (237 kilometers / 142 miles / 5.75 hours)

After a relaxing night you will ride south down the west side of the island stopping to walk on the “90 mile” beach, cruise through “old growth” forests, small towns and cross one of the many harbors by ferry. As you ride you will enter one of the oldest forests in New Zealand, home to some of the largest trees in the world. Here you can sense that time stands still. A stop to visit the largest tree in New Zealand is followed by a fantastic ride through to your stop for the night.

Tonight’s stop is topped off by a guided night walk through a Kauri forest where you may see kiwis, glow-worms, eels, and hear the calls of the night birds.

Day 33: Kaihu to Orewa (180 kilometers / 115 miles / 6.75 hours)

Leaving the most beautiful location you have stayed in, you will enjoy some fun riding through easy sweepers as you work your way south. Along the way you will visit a fantastic museum showcasing the history of the area before arriving at a sleepy little seaside town for a well-earned soak in hot pools before a short ride to your seaside accommodation for the night. A short walk across the lawn and you’re on the beach. Watching the sun set from this spot is the perfect end to a fantastic tour. Tonight is capped off with a farewell dinner on the beach, of world famous New Zealand cuisine.

Day 34: Orewa to Auckland (30 kilometers / 18 miles / 1 hour)

After a lazy breakfast and a short ride, you will drop off your bike and catch your shuttle to the hotel to begin the packing and repacking. If you want to stay on for additional nights, that can be arranged.

Day 35: Auckland

After a relaxing breakfast, you will catch your shuttle to the airport. This shuttle ride is filled with talk about the adventure you’ve just had and the fun experienced. Now is the time to start planning your next Pohutukawa Motorcycle Tour in New Zealand or North America.

Motorcycle categories:

Tour category A

  • BMW R1250GSW
  • BMW R1200GSW
  • BMW R1200RTW
  • BMW F850GS

Tour category B

  • BMW F700GS
  • Triumph Tiger 800
  • Honda Shadow Aero 750

Tour category C

  • Honda VLX600
  • Suzuki DL650 V-Strom

Skill level(s) required for this tour: intermediate and advanced

Intermediate:

  • can ride for 3-4 hours
  • average riding experience
  • little assistance required
  • comfortable with extreme curves and leans
  • average experience with unsurfaced roads
  • steep ascents and descents

Advanced:

  • can ride for 5-6 hours
  • extensive riding experience
  • assistance on demand (if required)
  • experienced with riding a variety of motorcycles
  • comfortable with any terrain and weather conditions

Included excursions

  • Interacting with friendly New Zealanders
  • A visit to the giant kauri tree Tāne Mahuta
  • A visit to the top of the North Island
  • A visit to the historic Bay of Islands

Location

This tour will take place on North Island and South Island in New Zealand including Mangere, Taupo, Ohope, Whiorau Station, Palmerston North, Nelson, Blackball, Geraldine, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Westport, Picton, Whanganui, New Plymouth, Cambridge, Helensville, Paihia, Waitiki Landing, Kaihu, Orewa, and Auckland.

Things to do (optional)

  • Access to a Maori Hangi to experience Maori culture
  • Enjoy thermal hot pools
  • A wild jet boat river ride
  • A gondola ride to view Queenstown
  • Ziplining
  • A visit to Hobbiton
  • A visit to world famous glow worm caves
  • A visit to a Kiwi preserve
  • A visit to a turn of the century gold rush town
  • Visit the world-famous Milford Sounds,
  • View the “World’s fastest Indian” display
  • A visit to the world's steepest street
  • See New Zealand’s amazing “Niagara Falls”
  • A visit to the top of the North Island

What's included

  • Printed daily ride guide
  • Bike rental
  • 34 nights accommodation
  • Shuttles (transfers) to and from hotel, airport, and bike rental location
  • Ferry fees

What's not included

  • Airfare
  • Insurance coverage and damage waivers (bonds) on rental bikes
  • Optional equipment add-ons to rental bikes
  • Fuel
  • All meals
  • Special / optional events
  • Incidentals and other costs once inside various attractions, i.e. rental of bathing suits or towels

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Auckland Airport (AKL). Transfer from and to the airport is included. Pohutukawa Motorcycle Touring will pick you up from the airport.

Airport: Auckland Airport Airport transfer included: Auckland Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.

Value for money
Accommodation & facilities
Food
Location
Quality of activity
26 days / 25 nights
from --
Pricing information
  • Please note that tours booked with dates including the Christmas and New Year period (December 25 - January 4) will incur extra costs dues to accommodation price rises over that period. There may also be a minimum stay period in some locations of 2 - 5 days.
  • Prices include all taxes, shuttle fees, and ferry fees, and don’t include event / park entrance fees.
  •  
Special discount

You can take advantage of the following special discounts:

  • 5% discount for bookings made 11 months in advance, with the full deposit paid;
  • 5% discounts for all seniors - 65 years or older with the full deposit paid; (cannot be combined with advance booking discounts).

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