New Zealand

Guided, Self Guided, Off-Road adventures.

New Zealand

Welcome to New Zealand, one of the World’s great motorcycle destinations, and the perfect antidote to northern hemisphere winters. Ride on the left upon empty two lane blacktop, through endless miles of stunning landscapes, stay in friendly hotels and guesthouses in welcoming small towns – and have a thoroughly relaxing biking experience.

At H-C Travel, we have 25 years experience of creating amazing riding experiences. New Zealand was the inspiration to set up the company, and we still work with the same people in New Zealand that we did way back in the last century.

  • Choice of Standard and Deluxe accommodation on self-guided tours
  • Choice of luggage on touring bikes
  • TomTom Rider 400 GPS included on Self-Guided Tours
  • All our Harley-Davidsons are 2017/18 models
  • 25 years’ experience in New Zealand
  • Fully licensed and ATOL bonded UK tour operator

New Zealand is recognised as one of the essential motorcycle touring destinations in the world, offering what many consider to be the best motorcycle touring roads on the planet. Roughly the size of Great Britain, with a population of over 4 million people (plus the sheep), New Zealand offers more space and attractions per capita than almost any other holiday destinations in the world and within its sparkling clean environment you’ll be greeted by friendly people who will make you feel very welcome. You will find a land of awesome beauty and contrast with majestic fjords, native forests, sandy bays, glaciers and unique wildlife. No other country offers such a variety of landscape, climate, deserted roads, comfortable accommodation, exciting entertainment, historical sites and cultural activities.

Get ready for the motorcycle ride of your life, the holiday of a lifetime, exploring New Zealand will be an unforgettable combination of well-prepared motorcycles and hundreds of miles of empty roads twisting through virtually untouched scenery. Best of all for the motorbike touring enthusiast, traffic is light, with none of the pressure and congestion of European roads without the big distances needed to cover the USA. The ever-changing countryside means that an afternoon’s ride can bring you to a totally different environment from that of the morning. As most of the country is hilly or mountainous, the roads are a motorcyclist’s delight… scenic, well-engineered, well maintained, and best of all, they are so quiet.

Your New Zealand motorcycle holiday can be just as you want it -you can choose between motorcycle hire, self-guided motorcycle tours or guided full-service motorcycle tours, depending on how you decide you want to see this fantastic country. We have a huge range of bikes, itineraries and accommodations to suit all tastes and pockets. This is made possible by working with only the best local rental companies and guides.

Depending on your personal choices you can also experience: white-water rafting, fun parks, rare wildlife colonies, tramping, launch cruises, fishing, gold-panning, city sights and nightlife, casinos, Maori culture, geysers, jetboat rides, volcanoes, geothermal mud pools and springs, caves full of glowworms, horse treks, whale watching, the list could go on and on. And that’s not forgetting the great wine and stunning seafood!

New Zealand’s climate is mild, with an average temperature of 23C in January (midsummer) and 13C in July (winter). Prevailing winds are from the west, which means that the west (and most spectacular) coast of the South Island gets more rain than the drier east. The Southern Alps and Fiordland have a mountain climate, and the local weather can vary in a short space of time, but it will be mostly warm and dry in summer.

We do recommend you bring your own riding apparel including boots or sturdy footwear, and wet weather clothing for the rain

forest. New Zealand is not a formal country, jeans, and shirts are fine for casual wear. However, we do have a wide range of accessories available for sale or hire, such as pack-rack, saddle and tank bags, helmets, waterproof clothing, and gloves. We can store surplus luggage while you are on tour.

What do other people think?

Here in an area approximately the size of Colorado are grouped the snow-mantled peaks of Switzerland, geysers of a Yellowstone, volcanic cones of Java and Japan, and the lakes of Italy; the mineral springs of Czechoslovakia, the fjords of Norway, sea coasts of Maine and California, and waterfalls higher than Yosemite.

Robert Moore, National Geographic Magazine, 1936(!)

Of course there are other countries with glorious, awe-inspiring sights but what New Zealand offers is all of it, bunched together, with quite unparalleled accessibility….. I am almost ashamed to admit that on none of my long journeys around the world did I enjoy riding as much as I did on this trip.  So, great time, great people, great experience.

Ted Simon, UK/Canada, 2010

A truly memorable experience that I would recommend to anyone.

Graham Dumphy, UK, 2009

I just want to thank you and everyone associated for a brilliant holiday. Truly we had a wonderful time, one which we will never forget. It was some of the best money we have ever spent!

Des & Sue Moloney, UK, 2015

Every aspect of the tour, bike hire, accommodation, the excellent tour book and last but not least, the routes were fantastic. Everyday produced new scenery, experiences and outstanding riding roads, I can’t wait to return someday.
Michael Hamilton, UK, 2017

The Websites

For Ted Simon’s own account of our tour in Jan 2010 – www.jupitalia.com

New Zealand Tourist Board – www.newzealand.com

What do other people think?

  • Unrivalled experience since 1994.
  • Unrivalled local knowledge. Not only does our NZ staff live in New Zealand, they seem to know almost everyone there!
  • Unrivalled choice of motorcycles – over 20 different models available.
  • Unbeatable prices.
  • All tours and rentals are fully licensed in New Zealand.
  • Our unique planning and booking service that includes not just your motorcycle holiday but also flights, stopovers, travel insurance, car hire, etc.- we take care of as much or as little as you want.
  • Custom tours (escorted or self-guided) arranged for or groups of 5 or more motorcycles to suit your own dates and itineraries.
  • H-C Travel is the UK’s only licensed motorcycle tour and rental operator to New Zealand.
  • Optional daily routes, with independent travel possible
  • Unique Farmstay option on self-guided tours
  • Room to room luggage transport (Guided Tours)
  • Back up / support van with spare motorcycle (Guided Tours)
  • Full fly-ride service
  • Airport transfers included for all guided and self-guided tours
  • TomTom Rider GPS, topbox, puncture kit and cable lock included for all self-guided tours
  • ATOL protected flight packages
  • Great social life

The Extras

Flexibility is the key to our New Zealand motorcycle tours and rentals. As an ATOL bonded UK motorcycle tour operator, we can customise itineraries; arrange your flights, stopovers, extended stays and the all-important travel insurance, you also get the benefits of our unrivalled financial protection and back-up service. So, once you have decided on your holiday, please contact us to check flight prices, travel insurance and any additional travel / accommodation requirements you may have – it’s all part of our unique service!

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Ask, and you shall receive!

Questions & Bookings

Motorcycle holidays can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and here at H-C Travel we’re happy to make whatever arrangements you want. We’re here to make organising your holiday as simple as possible.

Two Island Grand Tour (21-day Self-Guided Tour)

In 21 days, our Grand Tour packs in the sights and cultural highlights of New Zealand, plus you can choose to stay in comfortable motels and simple clean, comfortable hotels or upgrade to deluxe hotels and resorts. We include a couple of nights in a comfortable Farmstay, where you will receive a warm kiwi welcome and generous home cooked meals. You can do the tour in either direction to make the most of the better weather in early or late season and, of course, we can extend, shorten or customize these tours to suit your time constraints.

The New Zealand trip was fantastic. From start to finish and I include the booking procedure, it was just brilliant. The Tour Book was just wonderful, so comprehensive and covered everything. The routes, together with the various options were first class and I managed to clock up almost 6000km without a hitch.

Andy Whiddett, UK, 2016

Highlights

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

Itinerary

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.

Shortest day 110km

Longest day 520km

Total distance c. 4500-5100 km

Best time to go; Dec – Mar

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Price includes:

  • 20-nights standard or superior accommodation
  • 19 days’ motorcycle hire
  • Airport transfers
  • Maori feast
  • Optional Farmstay with dinner and breakfast (shared facilities)
  • Interislander ferry
  • 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

Price excludes:

  • 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
  • Insurance
  • 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
Back to top
Ask, and you shall receive!

Questions & Bookings

Motorcycle holidays can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and here at H-C Travel we’re happy to make whatever arrangements you want. We’re here to make organising your holiday as simple as possible.

About Our Guided Tours

We have been running guided and self-guided motorcycle tours in New Zealand since 1996, and for this season we have two guided tours offering the ultimate in service over a variety of routes. Our routes are carefully designed to offer superb riding and to show you the many different aspects of New Zealand’s culture, history and geography. Let our unrivalled experience make your New Zealand experience an unforgettable one.

If you want a relaxing touring holiday where you can just enjoy the riding, the views and the hospitality, then let your knowledgeable local guide and support vehicle driver take care of the details, leaving you free to enjoy the experiences and sights of the journey. You can either ride with the group leader or choose to travel at your own pace, or even divert from the recommended route plan if you want. The day is yours; you just re-join your fellow riders at the end of the day at the hotel. Each rider is given an extensive roadbook with maps of each day’s ride, alternative excursions and details of the day’s highlights.

Our guided tour group sizes are typically 10-15 people. Mileages listed on the itineraries are approximate and travelling will usually take 2-5 hours each day although many riders (by personal choice) travel longer distances.

Our friendly, experienced local guides display a deep affiliation with the country – it is their home and their local knowledge makes your tour with us an unbeatable experience. Tours are well organised and maintain a relaxed environment in which to spend your holiday. The guides hold a keen interest in people and enjoy sharing the NZ experience with others who are not as familiar with their country, they know those special places, routes, stops and people you will never find any other way!

One of the most important parts of your holiday is being able to rely on the value and quality of the accommodation. We select from a range of hotels and lodges with excellent facilities and which are known and reviewed for their welcoming service. Our New Zealand guided tours can also accommodate non-riders but please ask us before booking.

Our New Zealand team

John and Alison Rains

John has been organising and guiding tours since 1987, making him not only the most experienced motorcycle guide in New Zealand but one of the most experienced in the world. He has found out that the only prerequisites needed for the job are mechanical skills, marketing skills, people skills, employer skills, a sense of humour, the occasional ‘blind eye’, and the ability to fix punctures in the rain. Widely travelled in Europe and North America on motorcycles. John enjoys meeting people and riding motorcycles – his personal favourite is a Laverda SFC1000, and he has also been seen on a Triumph Speed Triple. Happily married to Alison.

Peter & Kate Colwell

Retired farmers from inland NSW Australia, who now have over 30 tours in New Zealand under their belts. A sensible approach and sense of humour has made them favourites. Peter’s journalistic skills have seen his articles published in Australian and US motorcycle magazines. Widely travelled on motorcycles in Europe and North America, currently Peter and Kate ride a BMW R1200GS.

Gordon Lidgard

Gordon has been in the motorcycle industry most of his working life as a motorcycle dealer, tour guide and was a winner of New Zealand Tourism Awards when he owned and managed an outstanding tourism company. He has now teamed up with John Rains and having both been founders of the motorcycle rental and touring industry of New Zealand, contribute a wealth of experience to make our tours even better. Gordon’s favourite bikes are the latest liquid cooled BMW R1200RT and R1200GS.

Reindert Dirksen

A Dutchman born in Egypt who speaks as many languages as there are days in the year. One of our most popular guides, he has been coming to New Zealand for the last 17 years as a guide for the German speaking tours. Reini is a very experienced international traveller, spending only a short time at home each year. A fine connoisseur of New Zealand beer and a lover of old BMW motorcycles of which he has two, an R90S and R75/5, garaged in Rotterdam awaiting his arrival home.

Laurie Bycroft

Dual sport specialist Laurie is a New Zealander who resides in Queensland during the winter. His experience and enthusiasm have made our tours a real success. An eye for an interesting route and the ability to fix a problem, miles from anywhere make him an invaluable member of the team. He has a restored a Suzuki GS1000S as his transport of choice.

Perry Rees

Perry is another of the all-rounders which are essential in meeting customer needs. An organised mind and a tenacious grip on details are vital with so many different things on the go. Some people call it multi-tasking, we just call it another day at work. A long history of motorcycles means he can turn a hand to helping out in the workshop and his former position of CEO at Britten Motorcycle Company means he is well travelled and comfortable with the needs of overseas clients. Perry spends his spare time fishing and out and about on his 6 Speed Triple.

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Two Island Guided Tour (14 days)

This 14-day guided tour gives you the chance to see many of the key sights and different landscapes that visitors to New Zealand never forget. Our experienced local guides will ensure that you get the most out of your time on tour and ensure that you find the best riding routes and take in memorable excursions. You will enjoy very comfortable accommodation on this tour, ride the great passes of the Southern Alps, spectacular coastal roads and through unique, unspoilt forests, all with unbelievably light traffic. This 2-week tour also gives a good insight into the differences between the two islands. It packs in a lot but it’s definitely not too much and for anyone from the Northern Hemisphere, the ‘kiwi’ summer really will take away any winter blues.

Highlights

Bustling Auckland • Beautiful Coromandel Peninsula • Geothermic Rotorua and Lake Taupo • Explore Nelson and the Able Tasman National Park • High mountain passes • Breath-taking Milford Sound Cruise • Traffic free roads

Itinerary

DAY 1 Auckland.

You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Depending on how you feel after the long flight, either take a walk around and see the sights of Auckland or head across to Mission Bay Beach for your first NZ beach experience. Then, dinner in the evening with your fellow riders and guides where we discuss the tour itinerary, motorcycling in NZ, highlights to see and do on the tour, and questions and answers time.

DAY 2 Auckland – Rotorua

After breakfast and a pre-tour briefing, we collect the bikes and set off on the first day in the saddle, and a leisurely ride to the South. We’ll take in the beautiful Coromandel Peninsula, the western Bay of Plenty, and some lovely backroads before reaching Rotorua where you are invited to a party – Maori style.

Day 3 Rotorua – Hawkes Bay

There are two main route options and your guide will be happy to discuss their merits. You are in the North Island’s famed area of geothermic activity, so don’t miss a chance to visit the thermal reserve at Whakarewarewa with its geysers and bubbling mud pools or Waiotapu with its incredible bubbling Champagne Pool and try to find the hidden valley of Orakeikorako. At Taupo, relax and marvel at the views over the largest freshwater lake in Australasia and views of the active volcanoes of Tongariro National Park. The Thermal Explorer highway leads to the Art Deco town of Napier while the, Desert Road’ offers a different route and stunning views of the volcanic and desert landscape.

Day 4 Hawkes Bay – Wellington

There are two main routes and several backroad options to explore as we head to Wellington. Both skirt the Tararua Mountain range, both similar in distance but one has more possible deviations, the other may be busier. See the impressive Manawatu Gorge and depending on the chosen route, we make stops at Featherston Summit (555 m), for spectacular views, or Southward, for its museum of cars, motorcycles and machinery.

Day 5 Wellington – Nelson

Most of your travelling today is aboard the Interislander ferry, a relaxing and spectacular 3-hour crossing to the South Island. There are wonderful coastal views and watch out for passing whales and albatross as you cross the Cook Strait. The crossing concludes in the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound before docking in Picton’s pretty harbor. Finish with a lovely ride along the coast to Nelson, South Islands sunniest city.

Day 6 Free day in Nelson

A free day to relax or ride and explore Nelson and surrounding areas. Your guide will offer some ideas to fill your time but you’re free to do your own thing. Nelson has some of the finest beaches in New Zealand and claims more sunshine than any other part of the country. For those who want to ride, hop on your bike to discover Abel Tasman National Park, 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 craft beer producing areas.

Day 7 Nelson – Hanmer Springs

A choice of routes is available on most days and today is no exception. Your guide will offer suggestions but will also be guided by what you want to see (within reason). Take in the Buller Gorge, a seal colony, the famous pancake rocks at Punakaiki and some wonderful rural valleys before reaching the secluded Alpine town of Hanmer Springs.

Day 8 Hanmer Springs – Franz Josef

A long ride ahead today; returning to the west coast, via Arthur’s Pass (a shorter option is possible). Start by heading south east to the Pacific side crossing the Weka Pass towards Canterbury before you turn inland where your ride takes us from the coastal lowlands to cross Porter’s and Arthur’s passes, both at over 900m. This is 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 Franz Josef. Look out for some of the indigenous wildlife – seals, keas, kiwis, penguins, dolphins and the rare white heron on route.

Day 9 Franz Josef – Queenstown

Take in a helicopter flight, walk on a glacier, 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 Mount Aspiring National Park and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea.

Day 10 Queenstown

An opportunity to sample some of the many activities in and around Queenstown; jet boating on the Shotover River, tandem skydiving, scenic flights, fly fishing, a vintage steam cruise and of course bungee jumping, right where it all started! There are simply too many to mention! Then it’s time to relax in the Gondola restaurant, vist the Motor Museum, or take a ride to Arthur’s Point lookout and Coronet Peak.

Day 11 Queenstown – Dunedin

Say goodbye to the lakes and fiords of the west as you head for the surf of the deep blue Pacific Ocean. Ride across rolling green farmland covered in white woolly sheep, crossing wide river torrents and passing through quiet rural settlements before you reach Dunedin with its Scottish heritage, and the Otago Peninsula for a night at the historic Larnach Castle.

Day 12 Dunedin – Mount Cook

Leaving Dunedin for Mount Cook visit the famous Moeraki boulders before heading inland along the fascinating Waitaki River, or following the gold trail to the Victorian gold rush town of Cromwell, passing the majestic Ida and Dunstan Mountain range then through 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 with an awesome ride to Mount Cook.

Day 13 Mount Cook – Christchurch

Today, it’s back down from the mountains, passing Lake Tekapo and over the Burke Pass, around the Four Peaks Range and past Mt Hutt before heading out across the flat farmland of Canterbury Plain to Christchurch. After returning the motorbikes, it just remains to celebrate the end of the tour with a farewell dinner.

DAY 14 Christchurch

Depending on your departure time, the day is free for you to explore Christchurch – how about the Antarctic Museum, the famous trolley buses, Botanical Gardens or Hagley Park? Then you will be transferred to the airport for your onward travel arrangements.

Shortest day 105km

Longest day 500km

Total distance c. 3250 km

*** ADD TABLE ***

Tour itinerary is reversed on second tour date.

Please refer to our rental pages for more information on the motorcycles available.

Price includes:

  • 13 nights’ superior accommodation (subject to availability at time of booking)
  • Airport transfers
  • 13 breakfasts, 11 dinners
  • 12 days’ motorcycle hire with luggage and unlimited mileage
  • Full motorcycle insurance
  • Maori cultural evening
  • Interisland Ferry tickets
  • Tourbook and maps
  • Experienced local guide on a motorcycle
  • Support vehicle

Price excludes:

  • 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
  • Insurance
  • Flights, stopovers and additional accommodation which can be arranged through H-C Travel
Back to top
Ask, and you shall receive!

Questions & Bookings

Motorcycle holidays can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be and here at H-C Travel we’re happy to make whatever arrangements you want. We’re here to make organising your holiday as simple as possible.

Guided Tour FAQ

Do H-C Travel guided tours in New Zealand require group riding?

Unusually for our guided tours, the answer is no, and for three main reasons. Firstly, road conditions, road signage and rules are similar to the UK so you will feel quite at home. Secondly, the climate is less harsh and distances between towns not as great as on many of our other tours. Thirdly, less traffic congestion means quiet, easy roads to navigate. So, you can stay with our guide if you don’t want to worry about maps and navigation, and would like the benefit of their local experience, or you can choose your own riding companions, routes and time schedule each day.

So how do we know where we are going?

After dinner we have a briefing to discuss the following day’s suggested routes and other options available. This time is set aside to help you plan routes that will satisfy you each day. Each rider receives a tourbook, with daily itineraries (often with a choice), distances, suggestions for special activities and a map of the hotel location. So, the combination of the briefing and the information you have should allow you to make the right decision every day.

What are the tour rules and regulations?

Apart from not doing anything illegal, we only ask that you arrive at the hotel each day by 7 pm for dinner.

What daily distances are involved?

Each suggested daily ride has been carefully planned to take maximum advantage of road conditions and still leave time for sightseeing and relaxing. With the various riding options each day, distances can be anything from nothing to about 500 km. If you like riding long and hard, then that’s fine, if you like a slower pace, or more time for sightseeing, then that’s fine too. The maximum riding time is probably about 7 hours, but 4 hours a day is more normal.

Do we ride every day?

We always include free days, where we stay two nights in the same hotel. This provides an opportunity for rest, relaxation, and sightseeing, doing something different, or going for another ride.

Can passengers ride in the support van?

Yes, not a problem. Providing you tell us in advance you can even spend the whole tour in the support van.

How many people are there on your tours?

Typically 6-12 riders

What weather conditions can we expect?

Temperatures in New Zealand are similar to those found in Europe. So, expect anything from 10-30 degrees C. The South Island climate is much like the UK, with the SW tip rather like NW Scotland. The North Island climate is more like France, with the northern tip quite Mediterranean. Seasons are the exact opposite of European seasons. And you may well experience some rain …. so please pack accordingly.

What hotel accommodations can we expect?

We like our creature comforts as much as you, typically 3 or 4*. And we like to mix the style of our overnight stops. So we include the very popular Farmstays on some tours, small country hotels, city centre hotels. Ensuite everywhere of course. The Explorer and Adventure tours uses less expensive accommodation throughout, typically 2-3* but still maintain an excellent standard.

What happens to my luggage?

All our guided tours include a guide on a motorcycle provided we have 6 or more riders. A luggage/support van is included if we have 12 riders for the Maori Discovery and On the Beach tours. (5 and 10 riders respectively for Southern Moonlight and Tour of the Mountain Kings. So, you just keep your daily needs in your panniers and put the rest in the van, and it is delivered to your hotel room each day. If there is no van, we provide 3-piece luggage on nearly all of our motorcycles (see our rental information for further details). And of course your luggage will be restricted by airline requirements.

Are the motorcycles insured?

Absolutely and should there be any crash damage you will be charged up to the damage excess (again, see the rental information for details). Optional CDR insurance cover is available which reduces your damage excess, giving you the fullest possible insurance cover. Remember, you still need travel insurance, which we can arrange.

Where do we stop for lunch?

Our guides have their favourite places of course, and will recommend places if you are riding on your own that day.

I have special dietary needs, is this a problem?

No, but remember to tell us when you book. Some of our overnight stops are quite remote and they will need to make arrangements in advance for you.

What are the age limitations?

Like all our tours, we don’t really have any. For riders you must be at least 21 years old, with no maximum age. However, if you are over 65, then we do require that you ride regularly at home. For passengers, providing they can sit comfortably on the back, and ride pillion at home, then that is fine.

What motorcycles are available?

Please see the extensive list in the tour pricing panels.

Can H-C Travel arrange our flights and stopovers?

Absolutely, flights are an essential part of your holiday, and we believe that it is important we offer them as part of our service. And of course our ATOL bond and TTA membership also provide you with total financial and legal cover and guaranteed professional standards.

How much spending money will I need?

New Zealand is about the same price as the UK. We recommend allowing about £40/person/day to cover food and fuel. Allow for additional activities (such as bungy jumping), entrance fees and souvenirs.

What clothing should I bring?

We will send you a suggested clothing list with your tourbook, some 2-4 weeks before departure. Please bring all of your own riding gear – helmets can be taken as hand luggage on the planes – including waterproofs. We do have a limited selection of riding gear available in New Zealand but you must tell us at the time of booking if you need anything (please see our rental terms and conditions).

How long have you been running these tours?

These are probably the longest established motorcycle tours in the World and have now been running for over 25 years. All that experience shows ‘on the road’.

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