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NSZ2001: New Zealand!

Saturday, January 25, 2020 | Anthony Fairweather | Pacific

Day 12: Rotorua to Auckland

It's our last day on tour and the weather is just as spectacular as always. The ride takes us north towards the Coromadel peninsula. a mecca for for motorcyclists with almost unending twists and turns along the coast and across the hills. Our first stop is at the excellent Flat White Cafe in Waihi Beach, where clear blue waves break against a long, sandy beach. It takes a monumentous amount of willpower to pull ourselves away from this beautiful spot. Next the real riding begins. The Coromandel lives up to its reputation as a motorcycle playground, full a beautiful sweepers and turns all the way to Tairua, a charming seaside village and our lunch stop for the day. As the day growes hotter we decide to skip the last ride along the Firth of Thame in favour of a quick blast into Auckland, where a cold beer does wonders after a hot day on the bike. We celebrate our arrival in Auckland, and the end of our tour with a lovely meal with stunning views in the highest restaurant in Auckland at the very top tof the Skytower. It's been a blast!

Day 11: Napier to Rotorua

Once more it's a fantastic day, with clear blue skies and balmy temperatures. Today we have two routes. The first one takes onto the Thermal Explorer Highway towards Taupo, one of the most beautiful lakeside towns on the North Island and then on towards Rotorua. The second route is a riders dream. Gentle Annie awaits, 140km of twists and turns, far removed from the traffic of the large highways. The road ends at Waiorou, in the heart of the North Island.  Next we head north along the shore of Lake Taupo and into Rotorua, where we arrive just in time to head out for our Hangi, a traditional Maori meal and show.

Steve and his trusty steed.
We crest the summit of Gentle Annie and are rewarded by a stunning view of the high plains and the volcanoes that are the heart of the North Island.

Day 10: Wellington to Napier

We had a fantastic time in Wellington but it's time to say goodbye.  Our ride takes us up through the Rimutaka Range on a beautifully twisty band of asphalt and down to Martinborough in the heart of New Zealand's wine country. Next we head out onto Highway 2 and make our way to Mount Bruce, home of Manukura, the famous white kiwi.  Our next stop is Woodville where we are sure to stop at the Yummy Mummy Cafe for some of the best cheesecake in New Zealand.  From here our ride takes us through the wine fields of Hawkes Bay and onto towards Napier, our final stop of the day. 

A small memorial at the top of Rimutaka Hill pays tribute to the thousands of Anzac soldiers that marched along this route to Wellington, to board the the ships to the Western Front of World War I.
Mount Bruce is not only home to the world's only white kiwi but also to Tuatara, the last living dinosaurs.
Manukura, the famous white kiwi!
Cheesecake heaven.
Our bikes are all tucked away for the evening.
A group of happy, very full riders!

Day 9: Rest day in Wellington

Welcome to Wellington, capital city of New Zealand and our second rest day on this trip. Home to Te Papa, the National Museum of New Zealand, beuatiful botanical gardens and more restaurants per capita than New York, there is a ton of things to do. We decide to go for a ride on tiny back country roads towards the Kapiti Coast and the Southward Car Museum, the biggest collection of classic cars in New Zealand. Staring at the beautifuly restored cars makes us feel like kids in a candy store and it takes a strong effort for us to leave the museum. We hit the highway into Wellington and arrive back at our hotel in time for a late lunch and a stroll through one of New Zealands most interesting cities.

An original Rolls Royce is closely inspected by Steve "The Stash" Watson.
A little bit of fog does nothing to dampen the beauty of the Kapiti Coast.
The Southward Car Museum houses not only cars, but some excellently restored motorcycles as well.
Two possums atop a Toyota offroader, a very Kiwi combination!

Day 8: Nelson to Wellington

It´s a short but beautiful ride as we make our way to Picton and the ferry that will take us across the Cook Strait towards Wellington. Leaving Nelson we climb into the hills on an epic road, full of tight turns and beautiful forest views. Our first stop of the day is in the small fishing town of Havelock, located on the shore of Pelorus Sound, where we find one of the best coffee stops of the trip so far. From here it´s only another 30km to the ferry port, but they are some of the most intense riding of the trip. Queen Charlotte Drive hugs the shoreline of Queen Charlotte Sound and we soon find ourselves scraping off the last remains of our chicken strips. In Picton we board our ferry and settle down for the 3,5 hour sailing to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and our home for the next two nights.

A well-deserved coffee break on the water in Havelock.
Stunning views at Governors Bay, one of hundreds of beautiful coves along Queen Charlotte Sound.

Day 7: Punakaiki to Nelson

It's another stunning day on the coast. Our first stop is just down the road from the hotel, the world famous Pancake Rocks. We are almost alone as we explore the beautiful rock formations, then hop back on the bikes for the stunning ride towards Cape Foulwind, named after the resident seal colony. Then it´s time to say good bye to the coast and head inland. Our route takes us along the twists and turns of the Buller Gorge, one of the riding highlights of the South Island. The twisties continue all the way to Nelson, a charming seaside town and our stop for the night.

The Pancake Rocks, a natural wonder of New Zealand.
A cheeky Weka bird, intrigued by our motorcycles.
Yes, there is a seal here.
The fantastic road along the Buller Gorge, carved into the rock.
The Flat Rock Cafe in Kohatu makes one of the best iced coffees in New Zealand. Tour guide approved!

Day 6: Fox Glacier to Punakaiki

Today is a shorter day, but an excellent one nonetheless. Leaving Fox Glacier we start our ride over Cook Saddle, a fantastic stretch of asphalt just made for motorcycling. Tight turns and stunning views of the rain forest and the Southern Alps. After a well earned coffee in Franz Josef we continue north on Highway 6 towards Hokitika, the heart of the jade trade in New Zealand our stop for lunch. Here we split up, with some of us heading along the stunning coastline north of Greymouth and some of us heading up towards Arthurs Pass. Regardless of the choice, we are guaranteed a fantastic ride to Punkaiki, our stop for the night.

Good Morning from Fox Glacier.
Hari Hari, the landing site of the first solo flight from Australia to New Zealand.
The stunning view along on the West Coast at Greymouth.
Punakaiki's world famous Pancake Rocks.
And Good Evening from Punakaiki.

Day 5: Queenstown to Fox Glacier

Goodbye Queenstown, hello West Coast! Its another beautiful day as we set out from Queenstown and head towards the Shotover Canyon. Here we board a traditional Kiwi form of transport, the jet boat! 500+ hp push us through the tight canyon at exhilarating speeds, what a way to start the day.  Our next highlight is the stunning Alpine Scenic Route that takes us over the Crown Range, then a quick picture stop at the famous Cadrona Hotel and finally our first coffee stop on the shores of Lake Wanaka.  Here we join Highway 6 and head over Haast Pass to the West Coast, where we are greeted by stunning blue skies, empty beaches and a gentle breeze off the Tasman Sea. We take a relaxing stroll through the rain forest that covers much of the West Coast, then hop back onto the bikes for the final 100km to Fox Glacier.

All decked out in boating gear.
...picking up speed...
...and they're off!
We reached the top of the Crown Range.
A final glimpse of Lake Wakatipu.
Lake Hawea in all its glory.
Entering the West Coast.
A gentle stroll through the woods.

Day 4: Rest Day in Queenstown

What to do on day of Queenstown?. How about skydiving, bungee jumping or jet skiing? Or why not go for a ride on one of the most beautiful roads in the world? So that´s what we did. Welcome to the road to Glenorchy, the gateway to Paradise!

Lake Wakatipu in all its Glory! No filter needed.
Steve and Sally highly approve!
A morning coffee in Glenorchy to top it all off.

Day 3: Te Anau to Queenstown

Today was AMAZING! A very early morning start sees us on the road to Milford Sound, an UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the true highlights of this tour. We ride through the morning mists that shroud the valleys of the Southern Alps to the highest point at Homer Tunnel, then descend down a series of switchbacks cut into the dense rain forest back down to sea level. Here we board our cruise through the fjord and spend the next two hours admiring the stunning scenery that makes Milford Sound a Must-See on any trip to New Zealand. Next we head back towards Te Anau and onwards along the shore of Lake Wakatipu towards Queenstown, the Adrenaline Capital of the World and our home for the next two nights.

The gang´s all here! Steve, Sally, Tony, Natalie and Chris.
The Lady Bowen waterfall that provides drinking water and hydroelectric power to the town of Milford.
Natalie and Chris soaking up the rays.
Sally and Steve with a well-deserved coffee!
The beautiful Mirror Lakes along the road to Milford Sound. Always worth a stop!
The Devils Staircase along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. What an excellent ride!

Day 2: Twizel to Te Anau

Our second day on the road an it's a blast. First Lindis Pass, then Kawarau Gorge and finally the stunning ride along Lake Wakatipu. All combined with clear blue skies, warm temperatures and cool breezes. An excellent day to be on a bike.

Sally and Steve on top of Lindis Pass. An excellent way to start the day!
Our morning coffee in Tarras, home of Shrek, the World´s most famous Merino ram.
Welcome to Kawarau Gorge, birthplace of bungee jumping!
Chris on the Road to Nowhere (actually it´s Te Anau).

Day 1: Christchurch to Twizel

Our first day  takes us out of bustling Christchurch into the farm country of Canterbury. Rolling hills and green fields combine into a charming landscape that offers a perfect introduction into riding in New Zealand. After lunch we climb to the top of Burkes Pass and stop at the Church of the Good Shepherd for an amazing view of Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps. Next we tackle the narrow switchbacks up to the top of Mount John for a coffee at the highest cafe on the South Island. From here it´s just a few more miles to Twizel, our stop for the first day.

Steve and Sally on the old bridge over Rakaia Gorge.
Parking with a view.
Natalie, Chris, Steve and Sally at the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd.
The view from the top of Mount John.
Lake Pukaki in all its glory with the Southern Alps off in the distance.
We got lucky and caught a glimpse of Mount Cook/Aoraki, piercing through the clouds.
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Add a comment Rate this post
Manuel Marabese
Monday, February 3, 2020 at 10:15

Cool blog Anthony!! New Zealand must be such a great riding paradise... Still on my bucket list!
Natalie Kitchell
Saturday, January 25, 2020 at 01:31

It’s been a wonderful tour. Thank you to the entire Edelweiss Team for making it so...
It was be an unbelievable task getting through all our photos but so much fun reliving this amazing adventure.
Chris K
Friday, January 24, 2020 at 22:27

Fantastic Ride, we were blessed with sunshine all the way through New Zealand. If you like to twist, the roads will put you through the test. The landscapes change every twenty minutes, each view prettier than the next.
The early morning ride to Milford Sound was one of my favorites, the early morning fog and mountains combined to create a view from another planet.
Tony’s expertise and inside knowledge of all the cool places and excellent coffee, was the perfect blend.
Rubber side down, shinny side up, ride on !
Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 06:01

We're having a great time.
The weather is really fine.
Scenery is most sublime.
Tony takes care of us all the time.
Roads are cury like a grapevine.
Steve Watson
Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 00:08

WOO HOO! Big fun in Kiwi land.
We're just getting started.
A most excellent adventure.
Thomas Ritt
Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at 14:04

Stunning! Amazing! Awesome! One of these days I'll be riding in New Zealand, too...


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