South Island ExperienceTwelve days of breathtaking alpine passes, snow covered mountains, massive valleys, rugged coastline and cool, shaded rivers.
View the imposing South Island glaciers after experiencing the 'adrenaline capital of the world' and then visit delightful bays, islands and waterways in the north.
The South Island Experience Self Guided Motorcycle Tour
The very best of what the South Island has to offer. Breathtaking alpine passes, snow blanketed mountains, expansive valleys, rugged coastlines and cool, crisp, shady rivers. Visit the imposing South Island glaciers, experience the ‘adrenaline capital of the world’, gaze upon the majesty of Mount Cook before luxuriating in the delightful bays, islands and waterways further north.
The intricate Fiordland vistas of the far south will keep you fascinated, the vibrant cities and towns will keep you captivated and the wonderful, welcoming local residents will keep you intrigued and entertained.
This is an 12 or 13 day tour with optional extra time being spent getting up close and personal with the whales at Kaikoura.
Christchurch is the largest city on the south island and the third largest in the whole of New Zealand. Situated just north of the Banks Peninsula on the southern edge of Pegasus Bay, Christchurch has been nicknamed the ‘Garden City’ because of the large number of public parks. As most of the city is only a few metres above sea level at best, spectacular views can be had from any tall building or slight rise in the city.
Mount Cook [Aoraki]
Arguably most impressive things you will see in New Zealand, Mount Cook will get you in the right frame of mind for riding the fantastic alpine roads which surround this natural marvel. At 3,574 metres high Mount Cook dominates the surrounding area for miles around, gazing down on the ‘Four Peaks Range’ and motorcyclists alike as they enjoy the twisting roads, turquoise lakes, snow capped mountains and everything else this World Heritage Area incorporates.
A ski plane flight over the Tasman Glacier would be a good opportunity to get a birds eye view of the sort of terrain you’ll be riding over as you explore what New Zealand has to offer.
Mt Cook to Dunedin
Today's ride via Lindis Pass and back to the East Coast brings diverse scenery and more great roads through Central Otago. The very Scottish city of Dunedin (meaning 'Edinburgh' in Celtic) is the second largest on the South Island. As the home of the oldest university in New Zealand, it's lively and interesting with plenty of entertainment like theatres and live music clubs and grand Victorian architecture.
Take a walk up Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world with a 1 in 1.266 gradient or take a tour of a local brewery with some free beer tasting! Dunedin also reputedly has the best night life on the South Island and you'll have a great time finding out if it's true! Arguably though, it's the actual ride itself which is the star of the show.
Te Anau and Fiordland
Superb roads and heart arrestingly awesome scenery must mean you’re in Fiordland, one of the most dramatic and beautiful regions of New Zealand. This indescribably picturesque area was carved out by glaciers over 100,000 years ago and is on every tourist’s agenda.
Waterfalls cascade into the deep black fiords, immeasurably ancient rainforest clings to the slopes of the mountains and shimmering lakes hold secrets just waiting to be discovered. A region untouched by time, and seemingly crafted specifically for motorcycle touring. Visit Milford Sound for a spectacular cruise, investigate the smaller fiords by kayak or simply explore the area on your bike.
There is only one main road in and out but you won’t mind, you’ll spend ages pulling over and admiring the scenery.
The aptly titled ‘adrenaline capital of the world’ has plenty to keep you busy, and is situated right on the shores of the majestic ‘Lake Wakatipu’ which forms the perfect backdrop to any of the thrilling activities on offer. If biking round New Zealand wasn’t exciting enough as it is, you can choose from bungy jumping, jet-boating, white-water rafting, river surfing, white-water sledging, paragliding, parachuting, canyoning, mountain biking and aerial sightseeing to name but a few of the activities on offer.
For the more mellow visitor, Queenstown has some of the best restaurants on the South Island, fascinating sightseeing tours, spa treatments, boutique shopping and much, much more...
Although...with so many things to jump off, swing from or leap towards it would almost be a shame to keep your feet on the ground!
Westland National Park and Fox Glacier
The ride over the Alps via the beautiful Haast Pass, through the Westland National Park is probably one of the best motorcycling road you can imagine. The route twists around steep slopes with breathtaking views over the glacier lakes of Hawea and Wanaka, then down into the lakeside town of the same name. Peaks that are over 3000 metres high relax into lowland rainforest at the edge of the Tasman Sea, this area is an exquisitely beautiful slice of wilderness.
After experiencing the fantastic riding in the area, you’ll arrive at two of the fastest moving glaciers in the world - ‘Fox’ and ‘Franz Josef’. Tumbling rivers of ice, streaking down the valleys towards the sea at a rate of up to four metres per year. There are plenty of great bush walks or hikes out onto the ice, but the best way to see the glaciers themselves is via helicopter. Of course just because the glaciers are in a hurry doesn't mean you should be.
Punakaiki and the West Coast
The West Coast is an untamed place of wild rivers, lush rainforest, glaciers and geological marvels, rugged beaches and high mountain peaks. Hemmed in by the energetic Tasman sea to the west and towering peaks, lush rainforest and bush to the east, the whole area is never more than 50km wide along the whole stretch of the South Island. The locals are a bunch of independent, fiercely self-reliant, unfailingly friendly and hospitable people. Enjoy their company along the way, but expect a lot of unspoiled wilderness as there are only 31,000 residents in the whole region!
The ‘Pancake Rocks’ and blowholes at Punakaiki are among the West Coast’s most famous sights, formed by the relentless actions of wind and rain over thousands of years they truly are a sight worth seeing. There are plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs off the bike along the way. Scenic walks that explore the surf pounded beaches, native forest, lakes and natural hot pools will ensure that there’s never a dull moment.
Nelson / Abel Tasman National Park
Explore New Zealand's 'most liveable' city. Nelson has some beautiful Victorian houses and is an epicentre for alternative lifestylers. There are also superb beaches and national parks to visit further afield.
A once little known region of New Zealand the Abel Tasman National Park is a place that well deserves its new found reputation. A perfect blend of physical exertion and beach life make Abel Tasman a highlight of the South Island. Golden beaches washed clear by crystal blue waters, fringe an area liberally sprinkled with caves, potholes and rolling limestone hills.
Sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling can be a welcome break from the saddle, or if you’re hankering after something a little more challenging, there are plenty of walking trails close at hand.
The coastal highway brings you to Kaikoura, where snow-capped mountains spill towards the ocean. Eco-tourism abounds here. Whale-watching was once the only activity but these days you can also swim with wild dolphins and snorkel with seals. Get there early and get on a boat or spend an optional extra day to give yourself enough time to do it all!
If you'd like to extend your tour to 13 days and 12 nights to take advantage of the spectacular natural attractions on offer around Kaikoura, just let us know, we'll arrange a price for you.
This tour is completely customisable. Longer, further, curvier, anything you need (within reason). Just ask!
You can mouse-over the bike you are interested in to see an image of that type of bike. Images are for illustration only though and may not represent the exact bike available.