Jay and Dunc here, how areeee?
We’re here to tell you the best motorcycle trips you can take across the country. There’s a helluva lot out there, but we’ve thought of some of the all timers that if you haven’t already, you should definitely check out. With more Kiwi’s off exploring New Zealand this summer, Waka Kotahi want you to remember, every ride is different and riders need to respect each of them.
First up, Dunc’s all time favourite ride: Takaka Hill - Nelson Region.
Golden Bay is at the top left of the South Island. I have been going to this little corner of paradise most summers since I was born, it's a hell of a spot that not a lot of people end up making it to and there is a good reason for this. There is a giant pain in the ass hill that stops the masses from invading the place over the summer months.
While that hill may be a pain in the ass for cars and campervans it just so happens to be EPIC for motorbikes. There isn't a stretch of road like it in the country 35km long, an elevation of 862m, 257 corners with multiple hairpins. You’ll have an easy ride from Motueka through the beer hop vines to the bottom of the hill, from there it's straight up and straight down.
You’ll get spat out at Upper Takaka, from there make your way through the rolling farmland through the hippy town that is Takaka and to your final destination... a pub called the Mussel Inn. Mean food and even meaner craft beers. Don’t get too comfy or you’ll have to stay the night!
With this one, you really gotta have your wits about you and remember not to get complacent. Every ride is a new ride and always drive to the conditions.
Jay’s favourite ride: North Island East Coast loop
We ride East.
The famed North Island East Coast loop has salty air in your nostrils for the first half before a cool native forest brings you home. It is a corner of NZ that isn't often frequented by tourists, it’s off the beaten track and that is where beauty and adventure is found.
Leaving from Mt Maunganui, linking Whakatane to Opotiki, you ride beside the sea to Cape Runaway before ducking inland to Ngati Porou country. Great roads, great views with even greater people entrusted with being custodians for this part of Aotearoa.
Gisborne turns you back to the capes interior and winds through the Waioeka Gorge. Twists and turns open into farmland and eventually back to the coast returning you to Mount Maunganui. You can wrap it up in a day but it’s much more enjoyable spaced out over three. Staying in the famed Waihau Bay Lodge, Tokomaru Bay or Gisborne, the options are endless and all epic.
Just keep an eye out on those tracks for logging trucks, loose loads and other big vehicles carrying cargo cause some things could fly off the back of them - so make sure to give yourself plenty of space when riding.
Now for some other rippers around the country.
One of the greatest rides you could experience in NZ - especially on a sunny day. Insane landscape and an incredible view every turn you take. You’ll encounter rivers, hills, forested valleys, and snow capped mountains off in the distance. This one’s for the more advanced rider, with a heap of tight twists and turns for you to experience, remembering to respect the ride.
You’ll cover 291 km, and to get the most out of it, ride East to West. Nothing beats it.
The Coromandel Loop
Right on the doorstep of Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton, this is a favourite loop of many North Island riders. Get 187.8km under your wheels on the Northern loop, or 129.7km on the Southern loop - both are epic. The ride has a curving rhythm to it, and riding clockwise is a lot safer if you can, especially in winter. Plan your stops to rest when you need and really take in the beautiful scenery and water’s edge.
Located between Wanaka and Omarama, this one’s an absolute beaut’ of a ride. Wind your way through golden hills, rolling plateaus and some choice greenery. The scenery is truly some of South Island’s finest. Overall, helluva ride.
The Forgotten World Highway/State Highway 43
This remote highway is one of the most scenic rides in the world. Spanning over 149 km, this road stretches from Stratford to Taumarunui. Depending on the direction you’re going, you will be able to see Mt Taranaki and Mt Ruapehu in the distance. It’s a pretty unreal ride, and winds its way through mountain saddles, forest, gorges and hand-carved tunnels. You’ll need to be extra cautious on this road as the landscape can be rugged. Remember, every ride is a new ride.
This is a ripper of a ride. Combining the incredible views of native forests, waterfalls and soaring cliff faces along with nice curves on the road - this one’s on the money. Arguably some of the best roads to ride in NZ. The unique scenery combined with the well maintained road makes for a perfectly balanced ride - but remember to check the skies first cause the weather can really turn on you.
Stretching from Nelson to Hanmer Springs, this ride offers unreal scenery and towering views over Canterbury. Carve your way around vast corners, over river crossings, and past multiple high country stations. You’ll make your way through NZ’s largest forest park - Victoria Forest Park, and we’d definitely recommend stopping off in Hamner to experience a vast range of tourist attractions.
This one’s a real treat. An idyllic ride that leads you past shore lines, dense rainforests, lakes, waterfalls, and mountains. You’ll ride between Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka over an ideally sealed road known as The Neck. There’s usually plenty of cold parts through this ride, so you’ll need your warm gear.
So there she is - 10 of our favourite rides in NZ. Now that it’s coming into summer, it’s the perfect time to give them a go. These were just some of our riding philosophies, but check out other riders' ones here.
Remember to, ride to the conditions, take it easy and respect every ride. Go well, go loooong!
This content was created by The Rock with help from Jay and Dunc, in association with Waka Kotahi’s ‘Respect every Ride’ campaign. For more information around the Respect every Ride’ campaign check out the Respect Every Ride Facebook page.