Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

All | General |Guided Tours | Self Guided Tours | Motorcycle Rentals








It’s true we have a high UV index here. The highest in the world in fact. I’m a true Anglo Saxon myself and have sensitive skin, so I burn easily, but I don’t have problems with sunburn down here. In fact I can’t remember when I last did, so it’s not something that’s hard to handle or dangerous as long as you know the rules. On a sunny Summer’s day, it takes only 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted exposure for unprotected sensitive skin to get red and burnt. Actually, the worst situation for getting sunburnt is on one of those high hazy cloud days – the UV comes thru but the IR doesn’t, so you burn more easily. All the radio stations regularly give “Burn Time” warnings each morning, so there’s plenty of reminders. The Rules are: a.. Wear a hat/cap to protect head/scalp/forehead
b.. Wear a good pair of sunglasses when outside
c.. Use SPF 24 or higher sunblock on face, neck, ears, and shoulders especially. This greatly extends the burn time.
d.. Don’t wander around in the sun exposing new unprotected “pink” skin for a couple of hours. You’ve just come from the Northern Hemisphere Winter into a fierce Southern Hemisphere Summer. Common sense goes a long way.
e.. Wear cool colours (like white Tees etc) rather than black – the black clothing will get hot and you’ll be tempted to take it off.
That’s it.

Category: General

Airfares from the US – sorry, not sure but try this US company in San Jose. They’ve been excellent and have helped a lot of our US clients previously. We have no commission arrangements with this company, this is just a good old honest referral.:
ANZ Travel,
ANZTravel.com
staff@anztravel.com

Category: General

You will need a passport to visit New Zealand. The following passport holders will NOT require a VISA provided their stay is short term as mentioned below: Provided your intended stay is less than 3 months: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Monaco, Norway, The Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, USA. Great Britain passport holders require a VISA only if visiting for longer than 6 months Our Australian cuzzies do not require a passport (though us Kiwis need one to visit them…play the game fellas..) All visitors require a passport which is valid for at least 3 months after their planned departure. Information can be obtained from the NZ Immigration Service, PO Box 4130, Wellington , New Zealand. Or try the NZ Gov’t Website and follow the links to Immigration:nzgo.govt.nz

Category: General



El Nino is with us and is bringing very warm weather very early, a bit blustery – already my lawn is in it’s death throes… February is our warmest and driest month. Temps will range from 50F when raining or overnight to, 90F in the Central Otago midday sun. Average daily sunshine hours over the entire South Island are in the 6-9 hours region. Modern riding suits like the Aerostitch are fine, but you’ll cook if you have a one piece model- two piece are the best. Leather jackets and separate leather jeans are fine at this time of year, but you will need a rain oversuit as we will strike rain at some stage – the West Coast does get its’ fair share ( a bit like Oregon) Even leather pants will seem too hot sometimes. Summer weight gloves should be fine, winter weight will be too hot sometimes. Don’t sweat this too much – I’ll always carry some extra clothing, gloves etc in the chase van, just in case…

Category: General



Warming but quite changeable – temps in the 10 – 18C range. You should expect rain on the West Coast especially, but then there’s a rain forest there for a very good reason… 🙂 (it is the best place to ride though…)

Category: General

Yes, we do have couples hire and ride together on the same bike. You may find our one of our specialist tourers (e.g. BMWR1200RT, Honda ST1300 Pan European, GoldWing 1800) best for comfort. It does ultimately come down to your physical size however – if you let me know rider and passenger height and approx. weight I can comment with more accuracy.

Category: General

September is very changeable, starting to warm, the odd fall of snow around at high altitudes. Temps from 35F-60F.
October is similar, but a little warmer – can be wet and windy.
November is getting nice – drier, 50F-80F. A good month to tour. You can still get the odd cold snap though. Not many tourist around, roads are clear. November is the earliest we pre-schedule tours, but we would do custom tours earlier.
December – ditto, warmer, 55F-85F. Late Dec is often wet, heavy rains sometimes.
January – a great month, as is Feb and March.(IMHO the best single month)- usually very warm and dry. Tourism is at a peak – lots of people, the place is very “alive” if that’s what you’re looking for.
April is really the start of Fall/Autumn – personally, my favourite time to tour…

Category: General

If you only have 14 days, don’t try to see both Islands – just do the South. And don’t try to see it all. EVERYBODY leaves here saying “I didn’t leave enough time” or ” I had to rush everyday – I’ll have to come back”. For this reason we now do a 14 day “relaxed” tour – we stay in only maybe 7 selected places, two nights in most, giving you time to see and do things. You won’t see it all, but you will have seven or so different “mini” holidays and you’ll go home feeling refreshed and invigorated (and wanting to come back for more..) rather than going home tired and frustrated because you were on the move every day.

Category: General

Re your wife and the size of bike. We have just had a tour group of Americans through, and one of the ladies rode herself. She was 5’3″ and 110lbs, and we lowered one of our low seat, low frame BMW F650GS 800cc twins for her – this gave a seat height of 26″ and she found it very comfortable and quite manageable. The ride position is “sit up and beg”, for want of a better term. We will always have bikes in our fleet to ensure we have catered for everyone. Additionally, larger bikes like BMW’s R1200GS can be fitted with a low seat, so that even those with Duck’s Disease, like me (5’6″) can easily get both feet firmly planted on the ground.



January and February are our two driest months – though I have to say that you will still see rain at some stage, usually on the West Coast (it is a sub-temperate rain forest after all!). Typically on a 14 day tour, we’ll see 2 to 3 days with rain (that’s not full wet days). It is possible to do tour in Jan and Feb and see no rain at all…. but obviously we can’t guarantee that. 🙂

Category: General

We only ever run guided tours with our luxury chase coach now. Initially we anticipated that we may want to reserve the right to leave the coach behind if numbers on one particular tour was low , but we quickly learnt that the coach and backup trailer are essential. You just cannot do a professional guiding job from a motorcycle – the coach has many uses, from carrying luggage, backup spares, tools, spare fuel, to using the coach to ferry people on the tour to dinner maybe, or to see some local attraction. Motorcycle passengers are also welcome to ride in the van if the feel the need.. The coach will accompany every tour in the future.

Categories: General, Guided Tours




If your first point of entry is Auckland, let us know and we’ll organise return transfers to/from Auckland for you – generally we can get you flights at a good discount (often better than you’ll be able to get). These flights are at your expense – we charge back later :-). This is the case for whatever airport you fly into actually… Nelson is the service centre for most of the NZ domestic aircraft fleet, so there are plenty of direct flights in an out of here (every 1-2 hours).

Category: General

In NZ we have “restricted” and “unrestricted” licences. Restricted means as a New Zealander you can ride no more than a 250cc motorcycle (no power limits yet..) if you are over 25, and successfully complete all the skill based tests, you can obtain an unrestricted licence in 9 months. If you are under 25, it takes from 12-18 months.

But here’s the interesting thing: If your licence in your country states that you can ride a 650cc motorcycle in your country, then you can ride a 650cc here, using your licence. The NZ laws state that you are able to ride the same capacity motorcycle in NZ, that you are licenced for in your own country ( they don’t mention power ratings).

If you have a current full licence in another country, it is valid here. You don’t need to bring an International Driver’s Licence.


Well for a start our groups are much smaller – we take a maximum of 7 people ( We’ve seen Beach’s and Edelweiss with some really large groups of upto 35, a real herd…), so you get plenty of attention from us. You’ll appreciate the difference in mathematics – 20-30 people earns them a bucketload more profit than our 7 people. They can have the “herd” end of the business – it’s not our “cup of tea”, nor our intention to try to attract groups this big. Because we have smaller groups, we are able to stay in smaller, luxury “boutique” homestays and lodges as a group – many of these places can only handle 8 or so people. They offer genial and helpful hosts, much more ambience, and a higher degree of luxury than you will get in the Standard “traveller/sales rep” type motels that Beach and Edelweiss use. This type of accommodation costs us more also.. as do the meals we provide ( I know both Beach’s and Edelweiss use limited option “tour” menus – all of our meals are al la carte (barring one spectacular buffet at Mt Cook) – from Award Winning restaurants – this is no pizza/pie and chips tour. We use a luxury 8 seater coach and rescue/luggage trailer, not a commercial chase van (no rear seats) like the 3 others you’ve mentioned. Commercials are great for biffing luggage and the odd motorcycle into, but try all taking the whole group out together in one, or driving up to the Tasman Glacier. Major discomfort! Our coaches allow everyone to fit in to it, in total comfort, plus in the event of a passenger feeling cold, tired or wet, they can also take a spell in the warmth and comfort of the coach. Our bikes are mostly low mileage latest/current models – we sell them every 12-18 months or 18000 miles, whichever comes first.. Edelweiss Beach, AMA, Ayres Adventures, Reuthers, Motoquest subcontract to other NZ rental companies or tour operators. They will tell you they have late model BMWs etc, but the truth is they only have SOME late model BMWs. After that you’re often on a 5 to 8 year old Triumph or BMW K series with a gazillion miles on it – it’s strictly first in best dressed. This can cause very disgruntled clients – hiring any sort of vehicle should be a treat , not a chore. And finally – our itineraries (we believe) are better. They visit the main tourist towns (because they have to go where they can get the acccommodation), we get out into the hidden magic little spots, because:
A. They’re far more interesting and
B. Because we can fit our smaller groups in there.
We aren’t the cheapest operator in New Zealand, but we do genuinely strive to be the best.

I appreciate your lengthy and personal response before and the testimonial (she sounds like me). I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks.

Jenn was a real fun girl – if you’re anything like her, we’re going to have a ball….( I enclosed a pic of her playing up on her husband Jack’s birthday). Have a digest of that lot. I honestly believe the US$700, while a significant amount, is more than compensated for by our higher degree of personalisation, luxury and the energy and enthusiasm we put into making sure you go home absolutely knocked out. At the end of the day, I believe you will feel you had excellent value for money.

Categories: General, Guided Tours

Typically you will cover about 4500 – 5000 kilometres, or 2800 to 3215 miles. The bikes do an average of about 40 miles to the gallon (imperial), so you’ll use about 75 gallons of fuel, or 337 litres. Premium fuel costs about NZ$2.00 cents per litre, or NZ$9.00 per Imperial Gallon or NZ$7.00 per US Gallon. So you’ll spend about NZ$675/US$506/ UKP337 on fuel. You don’t pay for oil, and neither do the bikes tend to use any. I can’t remember when I last had to add oil to one of our tour bikes..





If you want to use a private gymnasium where they are available, yes. In one or two places we stay at there are gym facilities available, though I would make the comment that B&B’s in general don’t include gym facilities. There are often gym and pool facilities close by, but if you’re on a guided tour, you’re welcome to join me on my morning run.. 🙂

Categories: General, Guided Tours

We recommend that you should arrange your own travel insurance – travel insurance policies in New Zealand seem to be restrictive, and expensive. We can provide insurance excess/CDW cover. Please enquire for the current rate.

Category: General

Plan, ( at a minimum) to arrive on the earliest am arrival on 2 days before your tour departs (e.g. 6.30am arrival on the Saturday if your tour leaves on Monday am). Departure is recommended for the late afternoon/evening the day after your tour finishes. However, if you can, leave a couple of days spare at the end of your tour for a few last idyllic days relaxing on a farmstay just out of Nelson – it’s a great way to wind down before bravely riding once again into the Valley of Death… 🙂
Airports:
Just get yourself to Auckland and let me know your flight details. I will co-ordinate and book the transfers into and out of Nelson for you. I can get them at a better rate than you can, plus I like to co-ordinate the arrival of our clients into Nelson – I can then do a better of job of picking you up and getting you to your pre-tour accommodation. We will settle up the cost of the internal flights upon your arrival.

Categories: General, Guided Tours

No, in NZ all you need is an unrestricted motorcycle licence. Your Danish one is sufficient, you don’t need an International Driver’s Licence. From my perspective, I only need to be re-assured that you have had reasonable experience piloting a chair….

Category: General

I’ll have a look at it again and see how much work is involved – it varies from model to model. If it’s not a big job there will be no additional charge, but if a bit of jiggery pokery is involved, there would be a nominal charge. How tall is the little critter who will need the footpeg mods? As for adjusting the height of the bike for you wife, this is no problem at all – no charges there.


They occur where we spend 2 nights at a particular spot. The second day becomes a Rest Day – there’s no riding on that day unless you feel like it. It gives you time to catch you breath, mellow out, look around. On a 14 day tour there are three 2 night stopovers. This is a very popular format that our past clients have particularly enjoyed. We occasionally run a 10 day tour that travels the same distance as the 14 day tour. This can only be accomplished if we take out the 2 day stops – it’s quite a hectic pace. We believe that, for the people who only have 10 days, the best option is to join the 14 day tour and depart early as I’ve suggested above. In this way you still get the “relaxed” pace of the 14 day tour.

Categories: General, Guided Tours


Yep. As much as you like. Bring the kitchen sink.

Category: General


We do have a full range of riding gear… except for boots (too hard, too many choices, preferences etc). It is definitely best to bring your own as you’ll save yourself some bucks. All of our gear is very good and we aim to keep it in tip top condition. This means we must replace it regularly – for example, a helmet gets to look (and smell) very second hand very quickly ( I’m fussy where I put my head…. as I assume most people are). The nuts and bolts of it all is that we have to charge a fair amount for it, so something like a helmet is NZ$10 to $15 per day, a one piece rainsuit is $15 per day, a leather jacket $15 per day, a Goretex/Cordura fully armoured all weather jacket is $25 per day… This can add up over 10-12 days for 2 people so unless you have a very good reason not to bring your own……

Categories: General, Guided Tours

It depends a little upon whether you book on one of our regular “”Best Value”” tours, or one of our Best of The Best tours. This is what we have on our web page about the differences… Best Value vs Best of The Best Packages
The difference between our tour packages is largely a matter of the quality of accommodation, the size of the group, and the time of year. Don’t forget we can provide you with a “Super-Deluxe/Customised” package upon request.
Best Value:
The “base” prices is based on “share twin” accommodation. You’re welcome to have a room to yourself for an additional charge (Single Occupancy). The rate for S.O. varies with the length of the tour. Mimimum of four (4) people per tour. Best Value Tours will be cancelled three (3) months prior if minimum number are not achieved. You may choose to cancel with no penalty or upgrade to the Deluxe package. Tour group numbers are often larger than on a Best of The Best. On a typical Best Value the level of accommodation varies with type of lodge, inn or motel we are using. Wherever possible we try to stay out of boring motels and we concentrate on more interesting but good quality B&Bs. It may be that occasionally you will have to make allowances for the age of the accommodations. In 1863, large spacious rooms with ensuite bathrooms weren’t commonplace, you may find yourself in a room with a double bed (rather than a king or queen size) and sharing a bathroom. Obviously on this type of tour we occasionally have placed the richness of the experience of staying in a gold rush era hotel ahead of absolute luxury. That is not to say you’ll find yourself compromising every night – we have taken great care to maximize your level of comfort, while still providing a rich and rewarding “off-the-beaten” track experience.
Best of the Best:
Prices quoted are for Single Occupancy (i.e. – you get your own room ). Smaller, very friendly and personal tour parties. No minimum tour group size. Our Best of The Bests are never cancelled due to minimum numbers. A Best of The Best involves the use of a higher level of luxury accommodation than we use on our “”Best Value”” tours – we use small luxury “boutique” style lodges and B&Bs, the occasional well appointed hotel or motel. Ensuite bathrooms are generally the norm, with queen or king size beds. Other treats and benefits might include, special cooked breakfasts (venison sausages and the like), a complimentary glass of wine or port etc, a robe to wear in your room etc, and smaller tour groups.

Category: General

Comprehensive insurance is included in the tour price. You have your fuel to take care of (about NZ$650 worth in general), lunches, drinks etc, and pre- and post- tour accommodation.

Category: General

On a Guided Tour, yes, that’s easy. On a Self Guided Tour, I can only give to a ballpark estimate until all the final details, your preferences etc are all nailed down…

Categories: General, Guided Tours


What to bring …
Riding gear
Your full unrestricted motorcycle drivers licence
Your credit card with enough reserve to cover the insurance deductable at least 🙂
Full face helmet is recommended.
Earplugs if you like ’em
Protective/windproof motorcycle jacket & trousers – a 2 piece Goretex/Cordura Aerostitch or BMW type riding suit is best.
Rain Suit – just in case (if you’re using leathers/jeans)
Leather Gloves, (medium weight, Goretex lined if possible)
Quality Riding boots (Goretex lined if possible)
Swimming gear, swim suit & beach towel (esp. if you want to do the Dolphin Swim)
Hiking Gear walking boots or shoes
Small day pack (or bum bag) & water bottle (though you can buy bottled spring water everywhere…).
Camera Wildlife shots like whale watching require at least 200mm zoom lens.
Underwater disposable camera (with flash) for Dolphin Swim
Good film and processing is available in NZ (avoid taking high speed films through arport X-ray machines).
A spare large, soft “carry all” type bag for putting all the additional things you may buy in NZ (like woollen jumpers and T shirts) into. This will save you having to ship stuff home by post or airmail Clothing/Laundry
Please be aware that most accommodations allow us to use their laundry facilities – a typical load of washing costs about NZ$10.00 Dress for temperatures of 16C to 24C (61F to 75F), though in Feb March we can get max. daytime temps of upto 40 C (104 F)
Medium and light weight for under riding gear, something warm with long sleeves.
Warm pull over (sweater) for glacier hike & colder evenings
Leisure/Casual (not Business/Casual or Formal or) dinner clothes. NZ is a jeans ‘n T shirt sort of place.
Personal items toiletries, sun block cream (SPF24 or higher), sunglasses (a must!).
Casual shorts for hot days, maybe some flip flops to keep your feet cool.
A baseball type cap can be useful to combat glare and keep the sun off your head.
Light coloured clothing is best in Summer – you’ll cook in black… 🙂
Notebook and pen
A small flash light maybe.


One thing worth practicing is your U turns to the right – you’ll be used to doing them to the left. The problem with right hand U turns is that if you need to dab your foot down on the RHS to maintain your balance, you lose access to the footbrake. If your right foot is perhaps skimming the ground in preparation to “catch” the imbalance the tendency is then to grab for the front brake lever if you find yourself going a little too fast. If you’re not practiced at it, the resulting sudden fork dive can catch you unaware and tip you over to the right.
It happens all the time to our American and European clients, but the Brits who drive on the same side as us have no problems with it.Also practice stopping on the loose gravel that you’ll sometimes find on our roadside verges and in driveways. Our verges tend to be cambered off for drainage and the sloping gravel surface can catch people out.

Category: General


If you have less than 16 or 17 days, our strong recommendation is to spend it all in the South. The South Island is far more rewarding for a motorcyclist that the North Island. The South is far more spectacular and diverse from a scenery perspective, better motorcycling roads, much lower traffic density ( the South Island is the size of England but has only 700,000 people) plus it has better weather in Summer. You can ride for less than 30 minutes and see the scenery change from lush coastal rainforest as in Oregon, to an alpine pass a la Switzeralnd, to mountainous but barren moonscapes as found in Northern Israel. If we were asked to rank the 18 best things to see and do in New Zealand by a motorcyclist, the first 16 would be in the South Island…
Which is why our 14 day guided tours only cover the South Island. Only our 21 day tours head up into the North Island (for 7 days of the 21)


What to bring …
Riding gear
Your full unrestricted motorcycle drivers licence
Your credit card with enough reserve to cover the insurance deductable at least 🙂
Full face helmet is recommended.
Earplugs if you like ’em
Protective/windproof motorcycle jacket & trousers – a 2 piece Goretex/Cordura Aerostitch or BMW type riding suit is best.
Rain Suit – just in case (if you’re using leathers/jeans)
Leather Gloves, (medium weight, Goretex lined if possible)
Quality Riding boots (Goretex lined if possible)
Swimming gear, swim suit & beach towel (esp. if you want to do the Dolphin Swim)
Hiking Gear walking boots or shoes
Small day pack (or bum bag) & water bottle (though you can buy bottled spring water everywhere…).
Camera Wildlife shots like whale watching require at least 200mm zoom lens.
Underwater disposable camera (with flash) for Dolphin Swim
Good film and processing is available in NZ (avoid taking high speed films through arport X-ray machines).
A spare large, soft “carry all” type bag for putting all the additional things you may buy in NZ (like woollen jumpers and T shirts) into. This will save you having to ship stuff home by post or airmail Clothing/Laundry
Please be aware that most accommodations allow us to use their laundry facilities – a typical load of washing costs about NZ$10.00 Dress for temperatures of 16C to 24C (61F to 75F), though in Feb March we can get max. daytime temps of upto 40 C (104 F)
Medium and light weight for under riding gear, something warm with long sleeves.
Warm pull over (sweater) for glacier hike & colder evenings
Leisure/Casual (not Business/Casual or Formal or) dinner clothes. NZ is a jeans ‘n T shirt sort of place.
Personal items toiletries, sun block cream (SPF24 or higher), sunglasses (a must!).
Casual shorts for hot days, maybe some flip flops to keep your feet cool.
A baseball type cap can be useful to combat glare and keep the sun off your head.
Light coloured clothing is best in Summer – you’ll cook in black… 🙂
Notebook and pen
A small flash light maybe.


There are a few options for payment, depending upon your level of paranoia… 🙂
1. Use one of our secure online booking forms
2. Fax us your cc details.
3. Pick up the telephone and tell us your cc number.
4. You’re not getting my credit card info – I’ll get my bank to wire you the amount in NZ funds.