Explore the Bay of Islands • Beautiful Coromandel Peninsula • Geothermal Wonderlands • Enjoy a Maori concert night • Breath-taking Milford Sound Cruise • Thrill-seeking Queenstown • Fox/Franz Josef Glaciers • West Coast wildlife and beaches • Unique farmstay
Also available from Christchurch to Auckland
DAY 1 Auckland
You will be transferred to the hotel. Depending on how you feel after the long flight, either take a walk around and see the sights of Auckland or head to Mission Bay Beach for your first NZ beach experience.
DAY 2 Auckland – Paihia
After breakfast, it’s time to head off to collect your bike and set off on the first day in the saddle. A gentle day to get you started. Ride north along the east coast with time to make some interesting detours on quiet roads. Whangarei is the main city of Northland and has an interesting clock museum with over 400 examples and is well worth a visit before arriving in the beautiful Bay of Islands for a 2-night stay.
DAY 3 Bay of Islands
Plenty to do, with glorious sandy beaches and clear blue seas everywhere! Go to the Waitangi National Reserve and the Treaty House where the (in)famous treaty was signed, ride to historic Kerikeri, Cape Reinga and New Zealand’s northernmost tip, take a bus trip on Ninety Mile Beach. In the bay, go sailing, scuba diving or deep sea fishing and visit the Captain Cook Memorial Museum in Russell.
DAY 4 Paihia – Orewa
A long gentle day with time to stop in the magnificent Waipoua Kauri Forest and visit Tane Mahuta, (Lord of the Forest) the largest kauri tree in New Zealand and thought to be some 2000 years old. It’s a nice spot for a short stroll to the ‘big tree’ and a rest in its shade. Stop at the Matakohe Kauri Museum near Dargaville with its fine example of a 17m Maori canoe. The museum is built of bricks from mud that came as ballast in ships from China. Then visit Waiwera hot springs before reaching Orewa.
DAY 5 Orewa – Coromandel
Leave Orewa and ride south through Auckland and head for the excellent winding roads, to the rolling hills around the Firth of Thames. Thames is the main town of the area but the urban landscape soon gives way to rainforests and a scenic loop, of rainforests, and the quiet white sand coves of the Coromandel Peninsula, a fabulous ride.
DAY 6 Coromandel – Rotorua
Start today on the scenic loop around the Coromandel Peninsula. This twisty coastal ride takes you to Mercury Bay, so named by Captain Cook who observed the transit of the planet Mercury from his ship moored there. Ride south following the Bay of Plenty coast with sleepy towns and empty white sand beaches. Among the best are Pauanui, Hahei, Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, where you dig your own hot tub! Tauranga and the neighbouring seaside resort of Mount Maunganui form the principal areas of population in the Bay of Plenty. From here the ride is a lovely winding route through rolling farmland to Rotorua. Rotorua is not only rich in Maori culture, it’s also a main natural home of the glowworm, and their displays are quite beautiful. This evening it’s party time Maori style! You will be enthralled by the natural bush setting, with Maori warriors in traditional dress paddling a canoe down the river, dancing and a traditional Hangi feast.
Day 7 Rotorua – Hawkes Bay
Sit and marvel at the incredible, effervescent Champagne Lake in the Waiotapu thermal reserve or the views over Lake Taupo. Created by the world’s largest volcanic eruption in the last 5000 years, LakeTaupo sits at the foot of the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. The three andesitic volcanoes, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu, form the southern limits of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe are two of the most active volcanoes in the world today. You can also ride the desert road, yes New Zealand has a desert too, then head through the rolling green landscape of Hawkes Bay to the Art Deco city of Napier.
DAY 8 Hawkes Bay – Wellington
There are two alternative routes and three road options today for the ride to Wellington; both skirt the Tararua Mountain range, both the same distance, but one may be busier than the other. Stop at the impressive Manawatu Gorge and depending on the your chosen route, why not make stops at Featherston Summit (555 m), with more spectacular views, or Southward, with its museum of cars, motorcycles and other machinery?
DAY 9 Wellington – Nelson
Most of your travelling today is aboard the interisland ferry, a relaxing and spectacular 3-hour crossing to the South Island. There are wonderful coastal views and watch out for passing whales and occasional passing albatross as you cross the Cook Strait. The last part of the crossing is in the sheltered waters of beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. After you dock in Picton’s pretty harbour the day finishes with a lovely ride along the coast to Nelson, South Island’s sunniest city.
DAY 10 Nelson (free day)
Today it’s a free day to ride and explore Nelson and surrounding areas. Golden Bay has some of the finest beaches in New Zealand and Nelson has 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, or take a 4-WD drive tour to Farewell Spit, the longest sand dune in New Zealand, and view a variety of sea birds and unique vegetation. Also remember you are in one of New Zealand’s main wine and craft beer producing areas.
DAY 11 Nelson – Punakaiki
A gentle hilly ride takes you southwest through the Buller Gorge to the coast, past the Coaltown Museum in Westport and the Tauranga Bay seal colonies. There are optional rides and scenic detours in different directions! 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 12 Punakaiki – Hanmer Springs
Today there’s some serious riding to be done. Set off along the coast to Greymouth before turning inland to Reefton and Springs Junction, following river valleys through the Victoria Forest Park. Ride the magnificent Lewis Pass for some breath-taking scenery and plenty of photo opportunities before dropping down through the Hanmer Range to the pretty mountain spa town of Hanmer Springs.
DAY 13 Hanmer Springs – Fox Glacier
A long ride ahead today, returning you to the west coast via magnificent Arthur’s Pass or, if you prefer, taking the shorter option back over the Lewis Pass. Start by heading south east to the Pacific Coast via the Weka Pass and through small rural towns before turning inland, where your ride takes you up from the coastal lowlands on the great trans alpine route to Arthur’s pass at over 900m; an area of high alpine peaks, steep valleys, rushing waterfalls and some unique wildlife. Stop for lunch in the mountains before returning to the west coast highway and a gentle ride into Hokitika, Franz Josef and onto Fox. There may be time to spot some of the indigenous wildlife – seals, keas, kiwis, penguins, dolphins and white heron.
DAY 14 Fox Glacier – Queenstown
There’s time to take a helicopter ride and walk on the glaciers, a helihike, or visit the Glowworm Dell in Fox before riding to the adventure playground of New Zealand. Heading south from Fox, ride through the subtropical rainforest of Haast Pass, in the heart of Westland. Turning inland, head into the mountains of the Mount Aspiring National Park and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea. You pass Arrowtown, another of New Zealand’s historic Gold mining settlements before dropping down to Queenstown amid spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.
DAY 15 Queenstown (free day)
An opportunity to sample some of the many activities in the ‘adventure playground of the South’, jet boating on the Shotover River, tandem skydiving, fly fishing, a vintage steam cruise and of course bungee jumping, and too many more to mention! Then it’s time to relax in the Gondola restaurant or the Motor Museum or go for a ride to Arthur’s Point lookout and Coronet Peak.
DAY 16 Queenstown – Te Anau
Today head south along Lake Wakatipu and into Fiordland. Before you get there, enjoy the ride, see the working vintage steam train at Kingston and take in the Wildlife Bird Reserve, and the stunning highland scenery. Your destination is the small township of Te Anau, the main settlement of the Fiordland national park. Tonight, you’ll stay on a working farm, a real Kiwi experience that we know you’ll love.
DAY 17 Te Anau – Milford Sound – Te Anau
An enjoyable morning’s ride takes you to the spectacular Milford Sound, where you take a bewitching cruise down the world-famous fiord and back. On the return, there’s plenty of time to stop and enjoy the stunning scenery and the riding along the twisting roads is every bit a match for the cruise.
DAY 18 Te Anau – Dunedin
Say goodbye to the lakes and fiords and head for the surf of the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Ride through rolling green farmland covered in white woolly sheep, crossing wide river torrents and passing through small rural settlements. There are several interesting routes on offer before you reach Dunedin, with its Scottish heritage, and the scenic Otago Peninsula.
DAY 19 Dunedin – Mount Cook
Leaving Dunedin for Mount Cook you have several options. Head out past the famous boulders of Moeraki before riding inland past the fascinating Waitaki River, Aviemore and Benmore Dams, or following the gold trail to the Victorian gold rush town of Cromwell, through the majestic Dunstan Mountains and the heart of the highland Mackenzie District. Stop at the historic gold-mining town of St Bathan’s, with time for a drink at the famous Vulcan Hotel and finish the ride on the awesome road to Mount Cook.
DAY 20 Mount Cook – Christchurch
Today, it’s back down from the mountains, passing the stunning glacier fed Lake Tekapo. Visit the Mount John observatory, ride over the Burke Pass, around the Four Peaks Range and past Mt Hutt before heading out across the flat farmland of the Canterbury Plain to Christchurch.
DAY 21 Christchurch.
Depending on the time of your flights, there may be time for some last-minute souvenir shopping or sightseeing in Christchurch before a transfer to the airport where sadly, it’s time to bid farewell and head for home, with all those memories …Was it worth flying around the world for? We think so.