A Motorcyclists Guide to New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the world’s best tourism destinations. It is also an amazing place to explore by Motorbike, with superb vistas, great roads, friendly people and weather that enables riding, across most of the country, all year round. Whether it’s visiting some of NZ’s most well-known destinations, like Hobbiton or Queenstown, or getting some of the remotest places in the country, you will not be disappointed in New Zealand. Since it’s our backyard Motorbike World will be happy to show you around.
The Far North / Northland
New Zealand’s Far North is one of the most underrated and under-visited parts of New Zealand. Simply head north from Auckland and you will find some of the best beaches and roads you will find anywhere.
Motorbike World is based in this part of the country and there would be very few roads we have not ridden. From the awesome Waipoua Forest to the Rawene Ferry, Russell, the first Capital of New Zealand, 90 mile beach for some beach riding, to Cape Reinga. The Far North is an undiscovered jewel. Discover it with us.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, home to nearly 1.5 million people in the greater Auckland area. Auckland also has some great roads for riding, plenty of beautiful beaches, attractions and nightlife. Many people fly into Auckland and immediately head south. Motorbike World recommends you spend some time exploring the inner city beaches and the magnificent ‘west’. This encompasses the mighty Waitakere Ranges and surf beaches such as Bethells and Murawai.
The Waikato Region
For those wanting adventure don’t ignore the Waikato. Named after New Zealand’s largest river, which runs from Lake Taupo to the Tasman Sea, passing through the regions main city Hamilton, the Waikato is picture perfect, rugged, and adventurous. The region also takes in the Coromandel Peninsula. The Coromandel is well worth a couple of days exploring! The jewel in the Waikato crown though must be the Ruapehu district, with its mountains for skiing and the central plateau. Truly a great experience to visit this remarkable area.
Bay of Plenty
The Bay of Plenty includes the magnificent Tauranga City and Mt Maunganui, along with almost 260km of sandy white beaches. Perhaps the most well-known city in the region is Rotorua, a geothermal wonder that leaves most tourists spellbound. The region offers plenty for motorcyclists and is one of our favourite areas to visit. If you get the opportunity a tour to White Island is a must.
Gisborne is perhaps the remotest of New Zealand’s regions. Taking a ride around the East Cape is a must. For the more adventurous try heading to Lake Waikaremoana through the Te Ureweras. This 120km stretch of gravel road is a magnificent experience for those game enough. Be warned though, it is a rugged area and not a place to break down. We have had several customers who didn’t enjoy it as much as we do! Gisborne itself is a charming city, with an interesting history, being where Captain James Cook first set foot on New Zealand. Gisborne is also the first city in the world to see the sun each day.
The Gisborne region is so remote that there are no advertised activities. Truly an adventure motorcyclists dream.
The Hawkes Bay is famous for its splendid wine and other horticulture. It boasts the splendid art-deco city of Napier, which suffered significant damage in the earthquake of 1931. Great beaches, great roads, great climate. Easy to see why this is such a popular destination for those in the know.
Far away from Gisborne, on the west coast, we find Taranaki. Anchored by Mt Taranaki, this region is ranked second best region in the world to live, by Lonely Planet. A great place to live, and absolutely one of our most favorite tour destinations. The riding is magnificent. Through hand-built tunnels, around the mountain, the Forgotten World Highway. You would be hard pushed to find better riding anywhere in the world. Taranaki is sprinkled with marvelous towns that offer great hospitality and food to die for. New Plymouth is a city that offers it all, including a great place to enjoy a few beers, late night and a late start.
Check out our post from previous tours to this region, Where the Hell is the Mountain and the Around the Mountain to the Land of the Lost Luggage.
This region is in the shade of Taranaki on one side and Hawke’s Bay on the other, with the Waikato to the north. That said it is a beautiful region. Whanganui city is one of the prettiest you will find – try taking a tour on the Whanganui river. The Manawatu-Wanganui region offers brilliant riding. Take your time to explore this magnificent area.
At the very south of the North Island is the Wellington region, home of Wellington city, the capital of New Zealand.
As well as being the gateway to the South Island, the Wellington region offers it’s own delights. Take your time to visit the the rugged coast of Cape Palliser before you check out the splendid nightlife of the capital city.
The Tasman region is one of the prettiest in New Zealand, which includes the famed Abel Tasman Park and Kahurangi National Park. For such a large area there are relatively few roads. There is however plenty to see and do here.
The Nelson region includes its namesake city. Bordering Tasman Bay Nelson is the sunniest city in New Zealand. A city of artists and artist retreats it is worth spending time in this beautiful seaside city.
Marlborough is known for the wine that is produced here. Almost 80% of New Zealand’s wine is produced in this region. For tourists, the spectacular scenery of the Marlborough Sounds is a real delight. This region provides some special riding and is highly recommended.
The West Coast of New Zealand is wild, rugged and beautiful. It rains a lot here so be sure to bring your rain-gear. Here you will find the Franz Joseph and Fox Glaciers. Be sure to check out the Haast and Lewis and Arthurs Pass. Be cautious though, especially in the winter months. If you want to get away from it all, the West Coast is the place to go.
Canterbury is home to New Zealand’s largest city Christchurch. Christchurch suffered from a major earthquake on 22 February 2011. Largely recovered the city highlights include the River Avon, the Botanic Gardens and facilities like the arts centre.
Marked by grassy plains, clear lakes and snow-capped mountains Canterbury is indeed a special place. To the west, Aoraki Mount Cook National Park hosts the country’s highest mountain as well as 27km-long Tasman Glacier.
While you are here don’t forget to watch the whales in Kaikoura.
Otago is another wine producing regions, becoming famous for its Pinot noir. Otago is home to Queenstown, one of the largest tourist centers in New Zealand, and Dunedin, the Edenborough of the South.
Otago is also home to New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook. Many visitor are drawn to the area for the winter skiing. We recommend you visit in summer as the roads are truly remarkable when not covered in snow.
Southland includes the famed and remote Stewart Island, as well as Invercargill and the amazing Catlins.
The unmatched beauty of Fiordland and Milford Sound make this New Zealand’s ultimate destination. Your visit to New Zealand is not complete without visiting Southland. On top of everything that Southland has to offer, the roads are simply breathtaking.
Visit New Zealand
New Zealand is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Contact us below for more information on motorcycling through this fabulous country.