In 21 days, our Grand Tour packs in the sights and cultural highlights of New Zealand, from the colonial and Maori history found on the North Island to the mountainous regions of the South Island with their stunning alpine vistas. Soak in the country that offers everything a motorcycle holiday should from quiet roads, astounding scenery, friendly locals and will always leave you wanting more.
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.
— Explore the beautiful Bay of Islands
— Discover the wonderful Coromandel Peninsula
— Visit some geothermal wonderlands
— Take a cruise on the breath-taking Milford Sound
— Ride mountain passes taking in the stunning scenery
Also available from Christchurch to 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.
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.
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.
Paihia – Orewa
A gentle day with time to stop in the magnificent Waipoua Kauri Forest and visit Tane Mahuta, the largest kauri tree in New Zealand. It’s a nice spot for a short stroll to the ‘big tree’. 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.
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.
Coromandel – Rotorua
Start today on the scenic loop around the coastal roads of the Coromandel Peninsula with sleepy towns and empty white sand beaches, including Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach, where you dig your own hot tub! From here the ride is a winding route to Rotorua. This evening it’s party time Maori style! You will be enthralled by Maori warriors paddling a canoe down the river, dancing and a traditional Hangi feast.
Rotorua – Napier
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, Lake Taupo sits at the foot of the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire with two of the most active volcanoes in the world today. You can also ride the desert road to the Art Deco city of Napier.
Napier – Wellington
There are two alternative route 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 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?
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, watch out for passing whales and occasional albatross as you cross the Cook Strait. The last part of the crossing is in the sheltered waters of beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound. The day finishes with a lovely ride along the coast to Nelson.
Nelson (free day)
Today explore Nelson and the surrounding areas. 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.
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.
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.
Hanmer Springs – Fox Glacier
A long ride ahead today, via magnificent Arthur’s Pass or, if you prefer, taking the shorter option back over the Lewis Pass. Start by heading through small rural towns, your ride then takes you up from the coastal lowlands to Arthur’s pass at over 900m; an area of alpine peaks, steep valleys and waterfalls. Stop for lunch in the mountains before returning to the west coast highway and a gentle ride into Fox.
Fox Glacier – Queenstown
This morning to take a helicopter ride and walk on the glaciers, or visit the Glowworm Dell in Fox. Heading south, ride through the subtropical rainforest of Haast Pass. Turning inland, head into the mountains of the Mount Aspiring National Park and along the shores of Lakes Wanaka. You pass Arrowtown, a historic Gold mining settlement before dropping down to Queenstown amid spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu.
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.
Queenstown – Te Anau
Today head south along Lake Wakatipu and into Fiordland. Enjoy the ride, see the working vintage steam train at Kingston and take in the Wildlife Bird Reserve, and stunning highland scenery. Your destination is the small township of Te Anau. You have the option to stay on a working farm, a real Kiwi experience that we know you’ll love. Please note: the road leading to the Farmstay is a 6 km dirt/gravel road.
Milford Sound Cruise
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.
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.
Dunedin – Mount Cook
Leaving Dunedin 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. 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.
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.
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.
Total Distance c. 4500 – 5100 km
For motorcycle rental information please see our New ZealandMotorcycle Rentals page.
BMW G650 GS BMW F700 GS BMW F800 GS HD 883 low Honda VTX1300 Triump Tiger 800 Suzuki DL1000 Suzuki GSF1250
BMW 1200GS BMW R1200RT Triump Tiger 1050
Single Room Supplement
Standard Self Guided Tour
16 Mar - 30 Nov 2018 & 16 Mar - 30 Apr 2019
01 Dec 2018 - 15 Mar 2019
Superior Self Guided Tour
16 Mar - 22 Dec 2018 & 01 Mar - 30 Apr 2019
23 Dec 2018 - 28 Feb 2019
What's Included & What's Not
What's Included & What's Not
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
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 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
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