This is the ninth installment in a new series where we highlight great can’t-miss routes around the world.
In a perfect world, we’d all be able to migrate with the seasons to better riding destinations on a whim, swapping hemispheres as it suited us. As northern earth dwellers slip into hibernation, the summer is just getting fired up down below. So, for those lucky enough to get in some intercontinental travel during the southern summer, or those lucky enough to live in closer proximity to or in New Zealand, here is great ride we created using suggestions from our friends at Remote Moto New Zealand.
This route heads north out of Christchurch on the south island, and heads up the east coast to the northernmost point of the island at Pupong.
Christchurch to Kaikoura: The section of this route near Kaikoura offers great scenery along the coastline, combined with fantastic winding roads that ascend and descend through the foothills of the Kaikoura Ranges. There are two short tunnels as you near Kaikoura. The section of the route near Christchurch is far more tame and offers more open and flat farmland country and straighter sections of road.
Kaikoura to Blenheim: A great section of tarmac with diverse landscapes from the open, dry, and barren farmland of the Marlborough region through the lush green coastline of Kaikoura. This is a very enjoyable section to ride.
Blenheim to Picton: A ride through farming and wine growing country. If you are crossing the Cook Straight from the north island, you will likely be dumped in either Blenheim or Picton and could pick up the route either direction from there. Stop in Tuamarina and check out the site of 1843’s historic Wairau Affray.*
Richmond to Collingwood: This route is often very popular, take caution of other vehicles around the busy tourist times especially in the Summer or on public holidays. You will likely see a lot of other motorcyclists along this route, and look out for motorhomes clogging the roads.
* From Wikipedia: The Wairau Affray (called the Wairau Massacre in many older texts), on 17 June 1843, was the first serious clash of arms between Māori and the British settlers in New Zealand after the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the only one to take place on the South Island. The incident was sparked when a magistrate and a representative of the New Zealand Company, who held a possibly fraudulent deed to land in the Wairau Valley in the north of the South Island, led a group of European settlers to attempt to clear Māori off the land and arrest Ngāti Toa chiefs Te Rauparaha and Te Rangihaeata. Fighting broke out and 22 British settlers were killed, several after their surrender. Four Māori were killed, including the wife of Te Rangihaeata and the wife of Te Rauparaha.