The Ultimate New Zealand Motorcycle Tour

This short guide has a downloadable Google map of our full seven week motorcycle route and ride around stunning New Zealand. We reckon this is the ultimate New Zealand motorcycle tour…

New Zealand Motorcycle Travel Tour

The Ultimate New Zealand Motorcycle Tour

After five years of riding from the UK, we finally made it to New Zealand. It marked the halfway point of our round the world motorcycle trip and we had been looking forward to it since we first left.

We had a solid seven weeks to cram in as much as we could, so we plotted a route that would cover the best roads we could find and the top recommendations we received – as well as fitting in all the sights and activities we wanted to do along the way.

This guide plots out and explains our entire route through the country. Hopefully you can use the roads and points we covered to plot your own brilliant ride through New Zealand. We recommend checking out our Best New Zealand Motorcycle Routes and our NZ Travel Blog after so you can tie this route in together and save the areas you’re most interested in riding. 

New Zealand Motorcycle Tour Downloadable Map

New Zealand motorcycle tour route explained

We started the tour in the North Island during the month of April. We originally wanted to ride the South Island first because it’s where the best riding is and we were about to head into winter and the South would get colder than the North.

But, the ferries had all been cancelled and we couldn’t get a crossing for a few weeks so we went north instead. Ironically, we had bad weather the further north we went and had brilliant weather by the time we reached the south.

The route starts in Hamilton and heads north. We wanted to ride to the tip, but that’s when the heavens opened. So we spent our time visiting Russell and criss-crossing the bucolic green north. There’s a lot of beauty – and culture – in the north, and it shouldn’t be missed.

The South has the most spectacular views, sights, roads and things to do. So, it’s definitely where you want to allocate the mass majority of your time. Your main routes here are crossing the Southern Alps passes (Haast, Arthur’s Pass, Lewis Pass), the west coast road, the insanely beautiful ride to Mount Cook, Glenorchy, Rainbow Road and stunning Akaroa.

What are the best motorcycle routes on this tour?

We wrote a dedicated guide to answer this question in more detail. The guide has Google Maps of specific routes and what makes them so brilliant. Here’s the link.

READ MORE: The Best Motorcycle Routes in New Zealand

What non-motorcycling activities do you recommend?

We listed our favourite activities in the New Zealand Motorcycle Travel Guide and explained what’s so good about them and how to book onto them.

How long does this tour take?

This ride took us just over seven weeks at a leisurely pace. You may not have time for such a long ride, so just pick and choose your favourite parts.

When is the best time to ride?

We rode between April and May, which is heading into the cold season. The best time is December, January and February.

How to ride this route in New Zealand

You have a few options here. You can ship your own motorcycle to New Zealand using a Carnet de passage. Or fly in and rent a motorcycle or join an organised or self-guided tour.

Shipping your personal bike in makes sense if you are here for a long period of time (but under 12 months because otherwise you will need to import your bike), or if you’re on a round the world trip etc.

For info on how to do this, visit our Motorcycle Travel Guide for New Zealand and check out the shipping area.

Renting a bike is a great option if you’re planning a short tour of the island. And joining an organised tour takes all the stress out of plotting a route if you’re strapped for time or want to ride with others. You’ll find a selection of companies below.

READ MORE:

Australia Motorcycle Travel Shipping

Read more on motorcycle travel in New Zealand

Thanks for checking out The Ultimate New Zealand Motorcycle Tour guide. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycle travel in New Zealand and Australia that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle tour in New Zealand? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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