This tour takes us
to some very remote, untouched areas and since we travel on many gravel
and unsealed roads; off-road experience is recommended. We leave Christchurch
heading west to Lake Lyndon on the Canterbury plains and continue south
towards Lake Coleridge, Rakaia Gorge and Mt Hutt. We then ride on the
inland road to Burkes Pass where we follow the Hakataramea river trail
On our way along the
Waitaki river we have a chance to view some early Maori rock art. From
Duntroon we follow an old mining trail through Dansey Pass to reach a
charming but forgotten goldmining town. Another exciting day awaits us
as this region offers the best back road riding in the country. We travel
over the Thomson saddle and after many gates and fords we reach the derelict
gold village of Bendigo.
In Queenstown we have a longer stay so we have a chance to explore and try some of the action sports and activities that the region offers. With our bikes we board the Earnslaw, an old steam boat that takes us across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station and Mavora Lakes. From here we continue to Re Anau and the Fiordland National Park. We visit the beautiful fiord and Mitre Peak in Milford Sound. This area is inhabited by the alpine parrot, the Kea, which will try to eat anything from helmets to bike tyres!
Leaving this behind
we ride northwards to one of the last areas where gold prospectors are
still trying their luck, the Nevis River. After negotiating pot holes
and avoiding roaming sheep we descend to Cromwell. We continue north through
Haast Pass to the deserted west coast rainforest and the glaciers. From
Greymouth we turn inland to Nelson Lakes National Park and St Arnaud.
Here we begin the Rainbow Valley Track which takes us through one of the
largest stations (farms) of the country.
In Hanmer Springs
we wash off the dust and enjoy a well deserved soak in the hot springs
before heading to the Kaikoura coast. Kaikoura is a famous dolphin, seal
and whale watching location. We then reach Picton where we take the ferry
to Wellington and the North Island.
After a day relaxing and sightseeing in Wellington we ride along the east coast to Napier, a well preserved art deco city. Leaving the coast behind we continue through the Kaweka Forest to Waiouru where we have a splendid view of the volcanoes in Tongariro National Park. Amongst volcanoes and hilly countryside we make our way across Kings Country where you will see more sheep than people. We ride on roads with many hairpin bends and deep gorges taking us through the Urewera National Park to Lake Waikaremoana.
This area has changed little since the time of horse drawn carriages. We reach the east coast again and camp by Whakatane where we have a chance to visit White Island, an active volcano off the coast.
Our next stop is Rotorua where we visit the Maori villages, go sightseeing and relax in the lakes or hot springs. From Rotorua we ride to the Coromandel Peninsula and Hot Water Beach where we can dig our own hot pool in the sand.
Cruising along coastal roads of the Firth of Thames and the Hauraki Gulf we reach our final destination, Auckland, where we have a days sightseeing to complete the tour.