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NSZ1501 - New Zealand done right!

Thursday, January 22, 2015 | Anthony Fairweather | Pacific

Day One: Christchurch to Twizel

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to New Zealand! Set far out in the Pacific ocean, this nation boasts some of the most spectacular riding this planet has to offer. Unique flora and fauna as well as an incredibly welcoming population make this island nation a must on your bucket list.

Our first day riding takes us from Christchurch, the capital of the South Island, to Twizel, a former workers settlement for the local hydroelectric power plants that provide up to 20% of the nations electricity. We leave Christchurch via Summit Road, a small band of asphalt high up on the rim of an extinct volcano. Offering sweeping views of the coast as well as of downtown Christchurch, this road is a fitting introduction for what is to come over the next two weeks. Heading south we join the Inland scenic route and with zero traffic to hinder us we head for Geraldine, a small farming town and out lunch stop for today. With both bikers and riders refuelled we leave the plains of southern Christchurch behind and start our climb up to the Mackenzie Highlands. After a quick stop at Lake Tekapo and the world famous Church of the Good Shepherd we head to the Mount John observatory, the highest café in new Zealand. Suitably boosted by the caffeine and the breath-taking views of the Southern Alps we tackle the final miles into Twizel and our hotel for the night.

The latest in motorcycle fashion, proudly presented by Paul, Hank and Jon!

Aoraki/Mount Cook is out to welcome us!

Day Two: Twizel to Te Anau

We wake to a deep blue sky and long white clouds and with the aid of a hearty breakfast make our way on the road. Leaving Twizel we head for Lindis Pass and the Otago region of the South Island. Gentle sweepers turn into turn into grin-inducing turns as we dive straight in Kawaraum Gorge. This fantastic stretch of tarmac offers some of the best riding on the South Island. But we can not stay and play, as our Tour Guide Tom is waiting for us with one of the famous Edelweiss picnics.  Located on the shore of Lake Wakatipu our picnic spot offers breath-taking views of the Crown Range and the Remarkable Mountains ( so named because they are, you guessed it, remarkable). But even an Edelweiss picnic cannot keep us from the next highlight, the fantastic road along Lake Wakatipu. Zero traffic, spectacular views and sweeper after sweeper leave us energised for the final miles to Te Anau. A beer (or two) in the sun of Lake Tenau spells the end of what was a day of New Zealand at its finest!

Tom and Ann doing it right! Dig in!

Lutz and Nicky prove that you don't have to be mad to enjoy single digit temps, but it helps if you are from North Germany

Hank shows us how it's done on this iconic stretch of road.

Day Three: Te Anau to Queenstown

We hit the road early as we make our way to one of the must-sees of New Zealand, fantastic Milford Sound. Bright sunshine and clear skies welcome us to one of the Wonders of the Natural World.

The Southern Alps are perfectly reflected in the Mirror lakes on the road to Milford Sound

We leave our bikes at the Milford Sound ferry terminal and board one of the cruisers for a short trip around the Sound. Home to Sea Lions, penguins and dolphins it is the spectacular scenery that impresses the most.

Ray and Paul with Mitre Peak in the background. For those who are interested we recommend finding out the translation of the original Maori name

After a quick lunch in Te Anau it's time to make our way to Queenstown, the Adrenaline Capital of the world and home to more ways to creatively throw yourself of a bridge than anywhere else.

The gang's all here at Devil's Staircase lookout.

New Zealand at its finest!

Day Four: Queenstown

Queenstown has so much to offer that we decide to spend an extra day in this beautiful town.  A lazy breakfast is followed by one of the best rides on the South Island, the fabulous road to Glenorchy. Situated on the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu this small village is the gateway to Paradise, a beautiful region just a few miles further north. Unfortunately the road ends here so we relax for a while in the sun before heading up to Coronet Peak and then back down in Queenstown. The afternoon is spent zip-lining, tobogganing and, of course, trying some of the excellent wines New Zealand has to offer. We meet up for dinner at Winnies for some truly original Kiwi-style pizza (hard to explain but very delicious) and some beer may also have been consumed.  With both bikes and riders refuelled we can't wait what tomorrow has to offer.

No explanation required

Day Five: Queenstown to Franz Josef

It it time to say good bye to the hectic madness of Queenstown as we make our way to the wild West Coast. Famed for its temperate rain forest and wild coastline this area of New Zealand is sparsely populated and offers endless open road for us to enjoy. But first, a last touch of insanity, Jetboats!

Edelweiss Bike Travel, we get you there, fast!

Designed to operate in as little as 4 inches of water at speeds of up to 80 km/h these boats are the ultimate Big Boys toy.

We leave Queenstown and head over the famous Crown Range, at over 1000m the highest road pass in New Zealand and continue on towards the coast. As we cross over Haast pass the scenery changes dramatically from the dry brush and scrubs of the central Otago into the wild green forests of the West coast. A few hours later we arrive in Franz Josef, home of one of the natural wonders of New Zealand, the Franz Josef Glacier.

Patty, Joanne, Anne and Tam. A sight for sore eyes.

Terry and Pat riding the Hog.

We would like point out that no speeding whatsoever occurred on this trip.

Our two wise men Ray and Tom taking a well earned break on Ship Creek beach.

Day 6: Franz Josef to Greymouth

We start the day in spectacular fashion with a helicopter ride to the Franz Josef glacier. A five minute flight through the rain forest and over the glaciers tongue and we land on the snow fields above the glacier. A stunning vista all the way down to the Tasman sea is the reward for our intrepid flyers.

Hank, Nicky, Lutz and tour guide Tony on top of Franz Josef glacier. 20 seconds after this picture was taken snowballs started flying.

Still awed by the fantastic beauty of the mountains we head back out onto the road and head north for Arthurs pass, one of only three passes over the Southern Alps. Home to the Kea, the incredibly cheeky mountain parrot, this road offers everything a biker could ever dream of (including some excellent ice cream at our coffee stop). We head back down the mountain and ride the last few miles into Greymouth and our hotel for the night, which is rumoured to have an open bar that just might serve us a few refreshing, cold beers.

The Kea on the prowl. Not a single cookie was safe that day.

Day Seven: Greymouth to Nelson

Greymouth is quickly left behind as we head north up the West Coast. Our first stop is at the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki. Millions of years have transformed the sediment at the bottom of the ocean into spectacularly layered rock formations.

Another glorious sunny day on the West Coast.

The cast and crew of this fantastic adventure.

We leave the coast behind and thread our way through the Buller River Gorge, a road seemingly designed for motorcycles. Endless curves follow the crystal blue river as it winds its way through the hills and we are almost disappointed as we reach our goal, the small town of Kohatu, population 5. Tomorrow can't arrive soon enough.....

Day Eight: Nelson to Wellington

Soon it is time to say good bye to the South Island, but before we board the ferry we have on more highlight, the famous Queen Charlotte Drive.  Fantastic views and never ending twisties make this a must for any serious biker.

Queen Charlotte at its finest.

A quick stop to let our pulse slow and to drink in some of the best views New Zealand has to offer.

A smooth sailing takes us in to Wellington harbour, a city with a higher density of restaurants per capita the New York City and our home for the next two nights.

Day Nine: Wellington.

A day just is not complete with out a motorbike ride so we head out into the New Zealand bush and head for the Southwold car museum, the largest collection of classic cars in the Southern hemisphere.

Randy, Terry and Jon, bikers extraordinaire!

Our spare bike for this tour, any takers?

We spend the rest of the day sampling the sights and some of the excellent food that Wellington has to offer. With stomachs bursting and big grins on our faces that we make our way back to the hotel.

Day Ten: Wellington to Napier.

We leave Wellington on what is the longest ride of our trip. 430km of twisties and hardly any traffic, a bikers dream. We take a short break to catch our breath and are surprised to see three police motorcycle approach. Mentally preparing for our "Honest officers, it wasn't us" speech we are relieved to hear that they are not on patrol but just out for a ride (also known as an assessment). Like any other bikers we end up swapping stories and soon it is time to get back onto our bike and head for Napier, the Art Deco capital of New Zealand and our stop for the night.

Our speedfreak Joanne is given some friendly advice by the local sergeant.

The longest place name in the world. Please do not ask us to pronounce it...

Day Eleven: Napier to Rotorua

Early Morning in Napier. Many thanks to Hank for taking this excellent picture!

We say goodbye to Napier and head out for another bikers dream, the Taihape Road. 136km of twisties, sweepers and hearpin-turns without any traffic whatsoever.

We would love to stay and play but Tony is waiting for us on the shore of lake Taupo with a specially prepared Edelweiss picnic and who could resist that?

Lutz, Hank and Randy, ready to dig in!

Jon, Tam, Terry and Tom retreat from three rather interested black swans. The picnic is now theirs!

Heading north from Taupo toward Rotorua we pass through some of the most geothermaly active landscape on the North Island. Great clouds of steam line our route and the smell of sulphur hangs thick in the air as we reach Rotorua (lovingly nicknamed "Rotten-Rua" by the locals). The centre of Maori culture in New Zealand this is THE place for a traditional Hangi dinner. The food is buried in the ground and slowly cooked by the geothermal heat. This is followed by a show including traditional Maori song and dance, including the famous Haka, the Maori war dance.

Pat showing uncommon skill with Poi.

I would run, wouldn't you?

Paul doing the Haka, after which he was immediately elected as chief of our small band of bikers!

Day Twelve: Rotorua to Auckland

Our last riding day begins with a few drops of rain but the clouds move away and clear blue sky guides us north. We split our group as one team heads towards the Coromandel peninsula, home of some of the best roads on the North Island. Dense forests and sandy beaches flash past us as turn after sweeping turn takes us towards Auckland.

Our second group decides to one of the most famous attractions the North Island has to offer, the Hobbiton film set. Used for both the "Lord of the Rings" and "Hobbit" series this site is a must-visit for any fan of the movies.

Please welcome the new bar staff of the Hobbiton Green Dragon Inn. Jon, Tam, Pat and Terry will be happy to shout your first round.

From there it is just a short ride to our hotel Auckland and soon it's time to say goodbye to our bikes. The final highlight of our trip is a meal on top of the highest building of the southern hemisphere, the fabulous Skytower. As night falls and Auckland begins to light up we reflect on what has been a fantastic two weeks trip around one of the most beautiful countries on this planet. And we can not wait to return!

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Hank The Flash
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 19:15

Back in cold and windy Germany again one feels even more how wonderful sunny and charming New Zealand was
Hank The Flash
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 19:13

This was an absolutely awesome trip, thanks especially to our tourguides Tony and Tom, both are great guys.
Highly recommended Edelweiss tour !!!
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 09:16

As I envy you to live such a journey it is magnificent !!!!!
Friday, February 13, 2015 at 09:11

Very beautiful photos, it is because of the happiness, in the pleasure to see you Paul, kisses, Nat
Ilja and Lauren
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 at 20:31

Thanks for sharing this blog its been great to follow Paul's journey across New Zealand. We are really glad we were able to catch up with him in Wellington - thanks for dinner Paul! Hope the rest of the trip was great and are looking forward to our next catch up wherever that may be!
Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 09:33

Here's the link to the extension trip up to the far north: http://www.worldtourer.com/?p=28299 Feel free to join us and enjoy our state-of-the-art rain gear...
Hope you all made it back home safely and thanks again for making it such an amazing trip!
Friday, February 6, 2015 at 05:01

Thanks for sharing Lutz. Loved the pictues and hiighlights. Cheers!
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 14:26

Wow, the pictures are great! Looks like you guys had a blast on the bikes!
I see Mom's (JoAnne) reputation as a speed freak has followed her!!
Sunday, February 1, 2015 at 02:02

Truly a fantastic trip! Wouldn't change a thing!
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 21:02

The end of a trip like this is truly bittersweet. Great new friends, a new country visited and so many learning moments. It's simply an experience that cannot be easily replicated without the dedication of a service provider like Edelweiss. May the friendships blossom and grow, may the experiences continue to increase in number and may the memories bring smiles to faces for years to come. Thanks for the memories!
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 20:52

Sad to be done. Lovely going away dinner last night. Amazing views of the city. Looking forward to the picture book.
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 20:49

Wonderful trip. I highly recommend.
Susie Hunter
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 14:13

Pictures are beautiful, looks like a great group you are with. A chilly 10 this am in Harborcreek. Stopped to see your Mom, she was out. hung for half hour in case she would get back. First time in there what a place!
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 12:01

Was für eine tolle Tour durch das sonnige Neuseeland. Nach fantastischen 14 Tagen auf der Nord - und Südinsel mit so vielen Highlights gab es heute den nicht zu toppenden Abschluss: Abendessen im Restaurant Orbit 360 Grad im Skytower von Auckland mit atemberaubenden Blick über die Stadt. Einfach unglaublich!
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 12:00

Like the whole faszinating tour so was the "last dinner" - absolutely outstanding! Dining at 191m in the 360 degree restaurant Orbit at Auckland's SkyTower! What a marvelous final of an awesome tour!
Great comradeship, great scenery, great tour guides - this was much more that you can expect from a motorcycle tour! Hope you guys all have a pleasant flight and return home safely...
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 09:51

We are having so much fun on this tour! Tonight Patty and I learned the Poi dance and Paul learned how to be a Maori warrior! Well done Paul!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 15:20

Thanks Ann! Ten days later and I still have bruises on my legs ...
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 11:33

What a great group we have. Everyone is unique and adds a special flare to the trip while being very compatible. Having a great time!
Susie Hunter
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 22:25

Hi! Big Brother & Sister-in-law...pictures are beautiful. I like the rubber raft. A little different than the one @ Cooks Forest. Finally got your blog Sally talked me through it. You made her day with the call. Be safe love you two...
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 11:23

Terry is doing a great job maneuvering the twisty roads on the Harley. Lots more pictures when we get home!
Sally DeVore
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 21:19

Hi Terry and Patty...so nice to hear voice this morning!! Sounds like and looks like you are having the time of your life!! Nothing left on your bucket list!! Have a safe ride home...talk to you soon! Rich and Sally
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 11:21

Hard to believe its cold at home. Such a beautiful and friendly country!
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 19:30

Picnics and Hobbits and Twisties, oh my! Can hardly wait!
Julia Stranahan
Friday, January 30, 2015 at 15:26

Jay and I went to the theater this weekend to see none other than "The Hobbit"! We were thinking of you all!
Monday, February 2, 2015 at 00:48

So cool you saw the Hobbit! Hobbiton was fasinating, we were in a different world, recognized so many places from the movie. What a great story behind the town of Hobbits. Will share when we see you!
Saturday, January 31, 2015 at 20:58

The tip to Hobbiton was fun and informative. A great addition to our tour for those that enjoyed the Tolkien writings. The Hobbit series actually occurs sixty years prior to the Lord of the Rings series and seeing the shire in real life was a great experience. Worth a second trip.....
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 17:22

Looks like you guys had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing with us. I can't wait to see more of Jon's pictures.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 10:52

Nicky and I had a fabulous day off in sunny Wellington with Ken Wilson, a friend from the 2014 "Adventure Big 5-Tour" (aka @venture Gin&Tonic. Great meeting up with him again and riding together in his beautiful home country. Many thanks to Shirley and Ken for the very warm and friendly welcome at their home and a very lovely and special day!
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 09:25

Lovely rest day in Wellington. Ready to see what is on the other side of the mountain pass....
phil le cheminant
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 20:56

Hello Paul and the rest of you,
Just watched Masterchef New Zealand you must try a kumara and let us know what it tastes like!!
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 15:18

Not sure if we ever had kumara but I'm sure Tony can tell us We did have lots of green-lipped mussels though and they were delicious.
phil le cheminant
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 20:29

Hello all,
Really good to see you all getting along so well!!
Views are stunning and extremely jealous of you all!!
Looking forward to the next blog!
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 10:17

Woiw it looks amazing - so jealous I'm not there, but I have a fashionable brother - way to go Paul!!!
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 06:54

Weather has been awesome! Our guides Tom and Tony take very good care of us. Accomadations very comfortable and riding is superb!
Julia Stranahan
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 17:27

Helicopter ride looks like it would be amazing! I want to know if Patty has turned into a coffee drinker yet?!
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 12:24

Cappuccino is coffee break drink of choice!
Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 19:27

Or a flat white, long black, short black, double shot.......anything with a caffeine boost for the hot afternoon rides.
Julia Stranahan
Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 17:29

Also like the classic "Terry Young wave" on the hog!!
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 21:50

I'm so glad it is ALL working out for you! Love the blog - wonderful pictures!
Laura Young
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 16:42

Enjoying the blog! Enjoy the last leg of the trip!
Sunday, January 25, 2015 at 07:04

New Zealand is the most beautiful country I have ever seen- and definitely much better than Experten. Tom and Tony are excellent tour guides.
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 16:49

Thanks for the nice pics, proud of my Grandpa Hank riding on the other side of the globe !
Wishing all the team a wonderful time and take care, Anaïs
Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 11:11

what an amazing time we're having. Great scenery and and great company!
Chuck Weiss
Monday, January 26, 2015 at 20:32

Terry & Patti -The scenery is awesome! Enjoy yourselves looks like a wounderful trip. Be safe and God Bless Chuck
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 20:58

Looks like a fantastic trip!!! Scenery absolutely breath taking!!! Riders looking pretty good too
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 19:50

Ko te ataahua Aotearoa-New Zealand is beautiful!
What an awsome landscape, terrific roads and friendly people!
We enjoy the sunny weather, nice company and fantastic tour guides - looking forward to every next great day! What a Trip!!!
Julia Stranahan
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 14:56

What a great looking crew! The scenery is spactacular! Keep the photos coming.
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 11:10

Salut Doc, magnifique ton blog, comme je t'envie c'est trop beau ce que tu vie. Je suis en sortie de veille très dur, on pense bien à toi. Tu as le bonjour de toute l'équipe disciplinaire, je vais faire des effort travailler mon anglais et t'écrire les coms en anglais. Bonjour à tous tes amis et profitez en un max, gros bisous au plaisir de te revoir. Dommage que j'ai pas eu de place dans tes bagages hihihih kisss" Your friend Nat".
Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 15:16

Translation: Hi Doc, great blog, I'm really envious, what you're seeing is all just too beautiful. Just finished the night shift, it was hard. Everyone here says hallo and I'll make an effort to improve my English and write some comments in English. Say hallo to all your friends and make the most of the ride, till then, look forward to seeing you. Pity you didn't have room for me in your luggage ha ha.
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 10:22

Riding in January, Fantastic! Riding in January with great company and fantastic tour guides, Spectacular! Riding in January, with great company and fantastic tour guides, and in New Zealand, simply Awesome!
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 10:04

Spectacular trip so far. Can't wait to see what Thomas and Tony have planned for is tomorrow.
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 09:45

This has been the most amazing tour so far! It has far exceeded our expectations and we can't wait to see what's next on our adventure!
Friday, January 23, 2015 at 01:45

It's the first time in my life I've been accused of being fashionable
Laura Young
Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 16:08

Beautiful! Be safe and enjoy
Julia Stranahan
Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 14:37

The mountains are gorgeous...looks like trip of a lifetime. Be safe and have fun!
Diane Wilson
Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 12:59

Beautiful!! Thanks for the pictures. Can't wait for more. God's blessings to all of you.


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