New Zealand
New Zealand

Southern Moonlight Motorcycle Tour

There isn’t much of New Zealand’s South Island you won’t get the chance to see on our stunning 2-week Southern Moonlight motorcycle tour. Probably this offers the most varied and scenic of landscapes packed into the smallest area anywhere in the world! With the kind of roads (and lack of traffic) you dream of, this is two weeks of motorcycle heaven. Where else can you see stunning alpine vistas, empty surf beaches, rainforest, and glaciers that almost meet the sea? And all within an hour’s traffic free riding from very comfortable accommodation!

Map of southern Moonlight motorcycle tour


— Visit the breath-taking Milford Sound Cruise

— Explore thrill-seeking Queenstown
— Witness the beautiful Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers
— Ride stunning high mountain passes

  • Day 1


    You will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. After check-in, depending on how you feel, there’s time to relax in Hagley Park. This is Christchurch’s ‘village green’. Alternatively, check out a great representation of Kiwi ingenuity – Christchurch’s Transitional Cathedral – made out of cardboard! Visit the famous Botanical Gardens or the Antarctic Museum. If you arrive in New Zealand a day early take a trip out to Akaroa on the beautiful Banks Peninsula. Or simply enjoy the panoramic views from the Port Hills.

    Day 2

    Christchurch – Aoraki/Mt Cook

    Christchurch – Aoraki/Mt Cook (365km/4.5hrs)

    After breakfast, collect your bike and set off on your first day in the saddle. Take a leisurely ride along Inland Scenic Route 72 via the stunning Rakaia Gorge to Aoraki/Mount Cook. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and check out the stunning views from Mount John Observatory, both at Lake Tekapo. Finish the day with a spectacular ride along the banks of glacial Lake Pukaki and the Tasman River. Aoraki/Mount Cook towers ahead of you.

    Day 3

    Aoraki/Mt Cook – Dunedin (455km/5.5hrs)

    It’s a short ride to Twizel before you head through Mackenzie Country and Victorian gold rush towns of Cromwell and Alexandra. These are reputed to be the hottest and coldest towns in New Zealand. Then stop at the historic gold-mining town of St Bathan’s for a drink at the famous Vulcan Hotel. Follow the gold trail to the Pacific Coast. If time allows, take a detour to the famous Moeraki boulders, before heading south. Your overnight stop is on the scenic Otago Peninsula.

    Day 4

    Dunedin – Te Anau (289km/3.5hrs)

    Say goodbye to the pounding surf of the deep blue South Pacific Ocean and head inland across rolling green farmland covered in white woolly sheep! Things become more mountainous as the day progresses and you reach Fiordland, with its many mirror-like lakes and snow-capped mountains. You will see why they call this one of the most scenic places on earth! The Farmstay is probably the most popular accommodation option of the tour. You’ll get not just the warmest of Kiwi welcomes, but also great hospitality. Enjoy local produce on the table and maybe a tour of the farm. Please note: the road leading to the Farmstay is a 6 km dirt/gravel road.

    Day 5

    Te-Anau – Milford Sound – Te Anua (238km/3.5 hrs)

    An enjoyable ride takes you to the spectacular Milford Sound. Don’t forget to allow enough time to stop at the many short walking trails and photo opportunities along the way. You may even meet the cheeky local Kea – watch out as they have been known to take a liking to rubber. Mitre Peak will welcome you to Milford Sound. Take a bewitching cruise down the world-famous fiord to the open sea and back. Keep your eye out for the native fur seals who like to hang out on the rocks at the fiords mouth. On the return ride there’s more time to stop and enjoy the stunning scenery. The twisty road is every bit a match for the cruise.

    Day 6

    Te Anau – Queenstown (175km/2hrs)

    Today you can take the long or the short route. If you want to get to Queenstown early and start doing some of the many activities there, then it’s only a 2-hour ride. Before you get there, maybe take in a wildlife reserve or a scenic flight. If you want a full day riding then head south to Invercargill. Visit the Burt Munro Memorial and the National Motorcycle Museum or head to the end of the road at Bluff. For lunch, why not sample the world’s best oysters from Foveaux Strait before returning north to Queenstown. This is the adventure playground of New Zealand. The long route is about 425km/5.5 hrs.

    Day 7

    Queenstown (free day)

    An opportunity to sample some of the many activities in the local area! Choose from jet boating on the Shotover River, tandem skydiving, fly fishing, a vintage steam cruise and high-country farm. And of course there is always bungy jumping… and too many more activities to mention! Wander back in time through Arrowtown’s main street – you may even have the chance to hold a real golden nugget. Stop at Arthur’s Point lookout and Coronet Peak on your way back to Queenstown. It’s now time to relax in the restaurant which boasts some of the best views of the town 450m above it. Finally no trip to Queenstown is complete without trying Ferg Burger!

    Day 8

    Queenstown – Fox Glacier (330km/4.5hrs)

    Heading north from Queenstown you pass Lakes Hawea and Wanaka. Reach the subtropical rainforests of Haast Pass and the west coast. Following the coastal highway north through coastal rainforests you arrive at the spectacular glacier region. You are in the heart of Westland Tai Poutini National Park. There may be time to walk up to the glaciers, take a helicopter ride or a heli-hike.

    Day 9

    Fox Glacier – Hanmer Springs (410km/5.5hrs)

    Today is a big day’s riding but with time for some stops along the way. There’s the sheepskin factory in Ross, a greenstone factory at Hokitika and Shantyown the reconstructed gold-mining town near Greymouth. After all that there’s some serious riding to be done as you head inland via Reefton and over the superb Lewis Pass. You overnight in the beautiful location of Hanmer Springs. Unwind from your day’s ride by taking a dip in the relaxing natural thermal hot springs.

    Day 10

    Hanmer Springs – Nelson (300-375 km/4.5-5.5hrs)

    On most days there is a  choice of routes available and today is no exception. Your tourbook will offer suggestions and indications as to what you can see and where. Take in the Buller Gorge, the Lewis Pass, Lake Brunner, some Marlborough vineyards and some wonderful rural valleys before reaching the ‘sunniest town in South Island’.

    If you take the long route today is also your chance to see whales and try some award-winning seafood in Kaikoura!

    Day 11

    Nelson (free day)

    It’s a free day to explore Nelson and surrounding areas. Nelson has some beautiful beaches and more sunshine than any other part of the country. For those who like to continue riding, hop on your bike to discover Abel Tasman National Park. If you would like a break from 2 wheels you could take a 4-WD drive tour to Farewell Spit, the longest sand dune in New Zealand. And don’t forget you are in one of New Zealand’s main wine producing areas!

    Day 12

    Nelson – Punakaiki (265km/4hrs)

    A gentle hilly ride takes us southwest through the Buller Gorge to the coast. Pass the Coaltown Museum in Westport and Tauranga Bay’s seal colonies. There’s an optional ride up Lewis Pass for lunch, well worth the trip! You can also take time out for some white-water rafting and jet boating, and if all that’s not enough, visit the famous Pancake Rocks and blowholes in Punakaiki.

    Day 13

    Punakaiki – Christchurch (290km/4hrs)

    For us, the obvious route today is via the great Alpine route of Arthur’s Pass through truly awe-inspiring scenery. This is certainly a case of saving the best to last! The area is characterised by high alpine peaks, steep valleys and rushing waterfalls. Look our for some unique wildlife, the old pioneer settlements and some impressive civil engineering.

    Day 14


    Depending on your departure time, the day is free for you to explore Christchurch. How about visiting the vibrant Art Centre’s Grand Hall or ride the famous trams? There might even be time for punting along the Avon River before your transfer back to the airport. On your journey home, savour wondeful memories of New Zealand and your Southern Moonlight motorcycle tour.

    Total Distance c. 3400 km

  • For motorcycle rental information please see our New Zealand Motorcycle Rentals page.

  • Southern Moonlight (14 Days)
    Departures Every Day Suzuki DL650
    Suzuki SV650
    BMW F700 GS
    Triumph Tiger 800
    Suzuki GSF1250
    Honda VT750
    BMW F750GS
    BMW F850GS
    BMW 1200GS
    BMW R1200RT
    BMW R1250GS
    H-D Touring
    Passenger Single Room Supplement
    Classic Self Guided Tour
    16 Mar - 30 Nov 2020 & 16 Mar - 30 Nov 2021 £2,525 £2,765 £3,025 £3,375 £3,795 £1,675 £1,125
    01 Dec 2019 - 15 Mar 2020 & 01 Dec 2020 - 15 Mar 2021 £2,895 £3,075 £3,375 £3,695 £4,095 £1,845 £1,295
    Superior Self Guided Tour
    16 Mar - 30 Nov 2020 & 16 Mar - 30 Nov 2021 £3,075 £3,295 £3,575 £3,895 £4,325 £2,195 £1,595
    01 Dec 2019 - 15 Mar 2020 & 01 Dec 2020 - 15 Mar 2021 £3,395 £3,645 £3,945 £4,275 £4,675 £2,405 £1,795
  • What's Included & What's Not
    Price Includes Price Excludes
    13-nights standard or superior accommodation
    12 days’ motorcycle hire
    Airport transfers
    Optional Farmstay with dinner and breakfast (shared facilities)
    Milford Sound cruise
    Unlimited mileage
    Panniers, topbox or passenger backrest, and tankbag
    Full motorcycle insurance
    Tourbook and maps
    TomTom Rider GPS
    Puncture repair kit
    Cable Lock
    24-hr support
    Fuel and oil
    Meals not stated above
    Personal items and expenses
    Additional activities
    Riding gear
    Luggage transfer available and bookable locally
    Optional CDR bike insurance (see rental table for details). Available and payable locally
    Frame/seat lowering on some models – see rental info page
    Accommodation supplements for nights between 22nd Dec and 4th Jan (c. £95 per night)
    Flights, stopovers and additional accommodation which can be arranged through H-C Travel

    Optional pre-bookable extras:
    • Flights, stopovers and additional accommodation
    • Insurance
    • Optional CDR bike insurance (see rental table for details) – available and payable locally
    • Frame/seat lowering on some models (see rental info page)
    • Additional activities

  • Southern Moonlight Accommodation
    Location Superior Tour Classic Tour
    Christchurch Doubletree by Hilton Ashleigh Court Motel
    Mount Cook The Hermitage Mount Cook Motels
    Dunedin Larnach Castle (dinner, breakfast) Portobello Motel
    Te Anau (2 nts, dinner and breakfast) Farmstay Farmstay
    Queenstown (2 nts) St Moritz Hotel Bella Vista Motel
    Fox Glacier Heartland Hotel Lake Matheson Motel
    Hanmer Springs Heritage Hotel Alpine Lodge Motel
    Nelson (2 nts) Delorenzos Apartments Century Park Motor Lodge
    Punakaiki Punakaiki Resort Punakaiki Beachfront Motel
    Christchurch Doubletree by Hilton Ashleigh Court Motel

    Optional pre-bookable extras:
    • Flights, stopovers and additional accommodation
    • Insurance
    • Optional CDR bike insurance (see rental table for details) – available and payable locally
    • Frame/seat lowering on some models (see rental info page)
    • Additional activities

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