NEW ZEALAND (AOTEAROA – Land of the Long White Cloud)
New Zealand is one of the world’s top tourist holiday destinations. We have no poisonous spiders, reptiles or man-eating mammals and New Zealand is considered a safe destination. Our climate is ideal, not too hot, not too cold and we have an excellent tourism infrastructure throughout the country at affordable prices. The bikes we have chosen are ideal for our riding terrain and in the words of Henry Cole (world renowned Motorcycle adventurer) “New Zealand is one of the world’s greatest motorcycle rides”.
New Zealand offers the discerning motorcyclist some of the most varied terrains and riding climates anywhere in the world. In just one two-week tour, the temperature can soar to 30+ degrees centigrade and two days later you will be riding mountain passes at 10 degrees centigrade. From its spectacular coastline to plains, volcanic plateaus, lush farmland, valleys, mountainous passes, snow-capped mountains, rugged coastal roads, beech forests and of course, many winding roads, New Zealand provides endless miles of uninterrupted motorcycle touring.
For accommodation whilst riding in NZ we have a wide variety, from internationally branded hotels in the major cities to motels, motor inns, cabins and camping grounds, pub accommodation and bed & breakfast – there is something for all. From December through to the end of January we strongly recommend to book your accommodation in advance as this is our peak season and also the holiday season for the locals. At other times of the year, it is possible to “Free Ride” and look at booking a few days ahead. For a good range of accommodation options go to:
www.booking.com for hotels, motor inns, motels, B&Bs
www.top10.co.nz for quality camping grounds and cabins
The majority of accommodation providers have laundry facilities available so you can travel light which certainly helps the motorcycle to perform and handle better especially with two-up riding. We can also store your surplus luggage at our depots for your return or forward it on if you are riding one way, for NZ $100 per large suitcase.
New Zealand is made up of the North Island and the South Island and they are linked by a regular ferry service. You are permitted to take motorcycles across on the Cook Strait ferry which is approximately a 3 and a 1/2 hour cruise. We recommend ferry bookings through www.interislander.co.nz. You can also book through Bluebridge Ferry.
For fuel, we have service stations throughout NZ, spaced well to handle the range of our motorcycles. The best policy is to fuel up every evening for the next day’s riding. Most of our motorcycles have a 250-300km range which is more than sufficient in NZ.
We do not provide airport transfers to our branches because not everyone needs this service, and we like to keep our rental prices as low as possible. From a safety point of view, if you are travelling from further afield than Australia, we like you to have at least one night’s rest before hiring the motorcycle and we may ask you for proof of this when you pick up the motorcycle.
For airport transfers we suggest the following:
Auckland – www.supershuttle.co.nz or www.skybus.co.nz
Christchurch – www.supershuttle.co.nz
The Super Shuttle service gives you the option of a shared ride or solo ride. Taxis are the more expensive option and can be booked at www.bluebubbletaxi.co.nz.
For riding gear, we recommend the textile style riding suits. It is advisable to wear boots and bring two pairs of gloves, light summer gloves and shoulder-season waterproof. A 100% waterproof over jacket is also advisable if your suit is not Gore-Tex.
Most airlines state they will not allow a helmet as hand luggage but we find if it is enclosed in a quality helmet bag this is not an issue. Helmets are also available for hire but must also be booked in advance.
Seasons are the opposite to the northern hemisphere with February and March being the warmest months and July the coldest. The climate is temperate – average range from 8 °C in July to 21 °C in March, but summer temperatures can also reach the low 30s. Some might find it difficult to adjust to the upside-down situation of the seasons, but you don’t have to worry about extreme temperatures. Summers are comparable to European summers – mainly warm and dry. The wettest part of the country is the West Coast. The East Coast tends to be dry with great swimming beaches in the summer.
We strongly recommend you take out comprehensive travel insurance in your country prior to your trip to New Zealand. Some of these policies can also cover excess (deductible) payments on hire vehicles in the unlikely event you are involved in a traffic accident. Please ensure your insurer understands that your primary activity is motorcycling. This must be purchased in your country of origin.
To protect people from the health effects of second-hand smoke, smoking in all hospitality venues including bars, restaurants, cafes, casinos and any indoor public area is prohibited in New Zealand. If you smoke, please remember to smoke outside.
All major credit and debit cards are accepted in NZ. Cirrus EFTPOS cards can also be used at ATM machines.
New Zealand has a casual dress code, so in terms of what to bring bearing in mind that it is best to travel light, this is what we recommend in addition to your riding gear:
• 2 x under riding suits including long sleeve top, long pants and riding socks, one to ride in and one spare
• 2 x thin thermal type tops for additional riding comfort
• 2 x shorts and 4 x T shirts
• 1 x pair of jeans
• 1 x jumper/sweatshirt
• 1 x light shower and windproof jacket
• 3 x pair of socks
• Sleeping gear
• 1 x pair of sneakers/runners
• 1 x pair of sandals/thongs/flip flops
• 1 x sun hat
• Toiletries, factor 30+ sun screen and insect repellent
• Inner bags for panniers
Remember – try to travel light. Travelling as light as possible is very important as luggage and weight alters the handling characteristics of your motorcycle. If you are considering longer tour options in excess of seven days you will find great benefit having a practice run for a few days closer to home, riding with full luggage, pillion etc. In our experience the more you tour with full luggage the lighter you tend to travel. Many a trip is spoilt because of small mishaps generally surrounding low speed maneuvering and the additional weight and width of luggage.
All cell phones will work on our network, but it is advisable to buy a local sim card to avoid high call charges. If you are going to do this, please ensure you have your local provider unlock your phone before you leave to travel to NZ.