New Zealand South Island April 2018

Discussion in 'Asia Pacific' started by FleshWound, Nov 13, 2017.

  1. FleshWound

    FleshWound Adventurer

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    I am going to ride New Zealand's South Island for 5.5 days from noon on April 16 to 5pm on April 21 starting and ending in Christchurch. The bike I am renting is a BMW F800 GSA and I will be bringing my gear along. The plan is to tent it 4 nights and spend 1 night in a bed where I can shower and wash clothes. I start the business part of my trip on April 22 in Auckland.

    Any advice and tips is greatly appreciated.
    #1
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  2. A1107

    A1107 Adventurer

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    Hi Mate, my wife and I are heading down that way for four weeks of the same in March. So far we've decided we're going to rough it as much as we can. However,
    • Make sure you have your route planned carefully so as to see as much as possible. Distances are far and there's plenty to see and do.
    • Carry Insect repellent. Sandflies in the South Island are the worst imaginable.
    • Wear a high-viz vest over whatever jacket you're wearing. Be seen!!!!!
    • Watch out for tourists and campervans on the wrong side of the road. Some of them cannot drive for shit. Not pointing fingers but soooo many forget that in New Zealand we drive on the LEFT!!!! If you can put a sticker on the inside of your windscreen to remind you to do the same I would highly recommend it.
    • Wave to other bikers. One of them might be me. Talk to them at rest stops. They might have some good info on things to see and do.
    • Talk to the locals. They will be only too happy to share a yarn and tell you the history.
    • Look into camping at the Top10 holiday camps. Not plugging them for reward, however they do seem to have really good facilities meaning you most likely will have to carry less on the bike. Hot showers and cooking facilities every day if you want.
    • Must visits - Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Kaikoura.
    • Carry a bladder of water with you. A roll of Toilet paper too.
    • Consider making your trip a bit longer and ride further afield. There is more to New Zealand than meets the eye. You wont regret it.
    • Try include as many of the mountain passes as you can. Best scenery in the world.
    • Have a trawl through the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/AdventureRidinginNZ/
    • Stick to the speed limits. You will gain nothing by riding fast, other than speeding fines. The cops are ruthless when it comes to speed. However they are very friendly.
    • Have fun and enjoy the ride.
    #2
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  3. FleshWound

    FleshWound Adventurer

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    Much appreciated for the information! I wish I could ride for more days but I have already killed my vacation for all of 2018 by adding the ride to my MBA business trip. It is time to do some research via the inter-webs with some of the information you provided. I dropped in a request to join the AdventureRidinginNZ Facebook group.

    Cheers!

    Casey
    #3
  4. Duncan Mac

    Duncan Mac n00b

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    Hey mate I second everything A1107 wrote.

    With the short time you have I would consider riding to the West Coast from Christchurch via Arthur's Pass. I would then ride down the West Coast, through Haast Pass and on to Wanaka. Then I would ride towards Queenstown via the Cardrona Valley Road and Crown Range Road. If time permits a ride to Milford Sound via Te Anau would expose to you to more gorgeous scenery. I would return to Christchurch via Lindis Pass, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo.

    You would have to spend a fair bit of time in the saddle but I reckon it would be worth it. Great roads and great scenery.
    #4
  5. Jofr

    Jofr Adventurer

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    What roughly is the rate for rental bikes in NZ? Any recommendations for rental places? Used bikes all seem pretty pricey especially considering how cheap cars get over here.
    #5
  6. Frostback

    Frostback Frostback

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    This is helpful. A friend and I are riding the South Island on rented bikes (BMW F700 and SV650) rented also out of Christchurch from 3-14 March. We were going to rough camp but I see NZ is trying to stop all that and move to campgrounds only. Apparently people were crapping in the bushes etc. What I don't get though is that each free-range cow defecates 7 x as much as a human and they let them in the streams and woods no problem.

    Good tip about the sticker inside the fairing and the west coast route looks delightful. Trying to see some mountain passes and some fjords after our Dundin work is done.

    Lee
    #6
  7. fuzzg

    fuzzg n00b

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    Just my 2c, the best of the weather will be behind you in April so unless you have some particularly good warm & waterproof gear a bit of flexibility in your route will help you see lots and also enjoy it, the rain on the West Coast can be biblical at time. The only 'bad' road in the South Island is the road from Christchurch to Ashburton so you can't really go wrong. The only comment I would make on A1107's post is that in April the number of camper vans on the wrong side of the road should be reduced in comparison to Jan/Feb. Depending on how adventurous you are and if you want to find some gravel the Hakataramea Valley Rd & Danseys Pass Rd should be do-able but out of phone signal range (like much of the South Island) so if you not confident on the bike then there is plenty to see on the tar seal.

    Fuzzg
    #7
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  8. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    Hi guys
    There's a just started project on the go, a South Island BCDR (back country discovery route), stringing together the most scenic South Island roads and tracks via as many gravel roads as possible (nothing rough, no single tracks, no Dakar stuff etc) . The route comes in 6 segments north-to-south with 5 having been assembled, but not finalized.

    Most segments give multiple choice routes which then converge again to a "knot" which is the start for the next lot of choices. there are Gmaps/links/pics + crucial info (i.e. tolls/ road closures etc) for each option.

    NO GPS files will be offered, just convert the Google-map links provided into the format YOUR specific device uses yourself via one of the free online-converters of your choice.
    Or transfer to paper-maps if that's what you prefer.

    Here's a link to the 1.segment sampler.

    I'd be glad about a little feedback :-)
    #8
  9. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    you ride frompicton to hamner and DONT go through Molesworth?.It is only open ovr the summer
    #9
  10. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    ?????
    Maybe have another, good, look at the link?
    It's all there in the very first post.
    In the route description...as well as in the pic sequence...as well as a link to the DoC site for exact opening-periods and the map in the map-link.
    #10
  11. advNZer?

    advNZer? Long timer

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    my bad the first map i saw was via sh1
    #11
  12. brianjonesphoto

    brianjonesphoto Hacked off

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    I did a non-bike tour of just the west coast from queenstown to Nelson in 9 days a couple years ago. My biggest suggestion is to not approach it like you would be riding here in the US. Miles are not as easily racked up and for good reason. The roads are great moto roads and there is so much to see and do along the way.

    If you hit Haast Pass stop and take the short hike to the blue pools.

    Don't attempt a west coast route without good rain gear. We were there in mid November and got to see what a good west coast rain is like. It sucked in a car.
    #12
  13. imjustin

    imjustin Adventurer

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    Did a 3-week road trip (in a car) around North and South Island in June 2017.
    As cold and miserable as it was, I am planning to go back in March/April 2019 for 2-3 weeks, rent a bike and do exactly what OP is planning to do.

    NZ is a fucking beautiful country. I'll be monitoring this thread to bounce a couple ideas off when it's my turn to start planning for this. :)
    #13
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  14. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

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    Duncan Mac's post sums up the best road route for the SI n00b with 5 days or so. With a few more days to fill extending a little further north over Lewis Pass then to Westport before heading down the West coast adds a bunch of sweet twisties. A day poking around Banks Peninsula is always fun. I'd suggest a run up to Nelson also & out to Golden Bay but yesterday's cyclone has fubared the road apparently.

    We'll be on the road down there around that time so say hi if you see a KTM640 & a WR250.

    Some free camping areas are being shut down due to the mess & shit, especially the ones on the main tourist routes that have had a massive increase in use. Honestly, though, you're not missing much without those spots as they've mostly got stupidly crowded. There are still plenty of nice, cheap or free, basic Department of Conservation sites out there. Once you start doing some proper ADV touring & hitting the gravel & 4wd trails there are plenty of rough camping options, just take a trowel, bury your shit & leave no trace.

    Cheers
    Clint
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  15. Frostback

    Frostback Frostback

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    Thanks Clint. Solid advice. One thing puzzles me though. Free range cattle.shit 7x as.much as.a.human.and.sheep about 1.5.x as.much and they are.all free range and indiscrete.with.their defecation 24/7. It all washes into soil and rivers so the human polution is trivial compared to the.animal polution. Yet, the humans.get.the.criticism. Maybe farmers.have a.share.too.

    Lee
    #15
  16. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz Long timer

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    #16
  17. oldbeer

    oldbeer Been here awhile

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    So how did it go??
    #17