COVID 19 information

G’day friends, clients…and future clients 🙂

The world is a pretty different place since our last contact. The COVID-19 pandemic is turning everything upside down and is challenging each of us in different areas...
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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Typically, the group size is about 6-8 people. We can accommodate 9 people normally, though for some special groups (e.g. a club booking) we can accommodate more. Once we can no longer seat people in the 10 seater mini coach the tour is closed off (we often go out to dinner in the coach in the evenings, or maybe drive to a difficult-to-get-to-by-bike scenic viewpoint.)

Category: Guided Tours

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Yeah, absolutely. For the last two years we’ve had a Brit guy off the Triumph List Alex Eggert come on one of our January tours. He’s not happy unless he rides the day’s route twice. He’d often clock up 400 miles in a day (hard to do in NZ – you’ll see why when you get here). I’d be half way to the day’s destination in the support van and Alex would zoom past heading in the opposite direction. He was riding back to do it all over again. Or he’d go to perverse lengths to find the longest route to the day’s destination.

Category: Guided Tours

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Yep, no worries. Depending on the tour you choose, we may actually overnight in Punakaiki (if the tour group is small, we stay there). If not, we stay in a place called Blackball , just 30 minutes past Punakaiki.

Category: Guided Tours

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A guide on a lead bike isn’t a tour, it’s a procession….. 🙂 Not our style at all. Each rider has a detailed map booklet and a bound personalised copy of our 60 + page itinerary – “The Bible”. Here’s a shot from it…. This is how we describe our tour on the website, and it pretty much sums up how a guided tour operates.. If the term “guided” evokes thoughts of a bunch of bored tourists standing beside a famous monument listening to an equally bored guide droning on and on… Wipe that image now. Picture this instead….. You’re sitting at the breakfast table, just finishing that second cup of coffee and soaking up the early morning West Coast sun as it streams through the window. You have the maps and comprehensive route notes from last night’s briefing in front of you, and the couple at the next table are asking you which way you are going to go today. They want to see the Fox Glacier, while you want to see Lake Matheson, the Mirror Lake as well . Others are heard to say that they are going to go on a flight over Franz Josef Glacier. You ask your guide for his advice, then make your decision, and agree to ride together with the other couple . They will accompany you to Lake Matheson and then you’ll ride together to see Fox Glacier. As you walk out side to your waiting bike, some of the others have already left for Franz Josef. Get the picture? You’re in control here. No forced group rides, no forced itineraries, just plenty of choice. At the risk of sounding politically correct, think of your guide as a “tour facilitator” – someone who just beavers away in the background making sure everything falls to hand just as you need it. If you need help, your guide is there to provide back up. And if you would like to be accompanied by your guide more closely, you only have to ask. You just relax and enjoy.

Category: Guided Tours

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On a 14 day tour there are 3×2 night stopovers, and these are in the places that experience has taught us that our clients like the extra time. As a group we don’t have the flexibility to spend an extra night, and also accommodation booking pressures would probably prevent that even if there was group consensus that they’d like to stay over. That aside, we have no problem with an individual or couple deciding to spend an extra night and catch the group up the following day. In some cases you may find that the accommodation you wanted to stay in would be already booked out, but you’d be unlucky… As long as you understood that the support van and guide stick with the group and itinerary (and route) , we could accommodate you on this point.

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We ask all international clients to arrive the day before on the earliest flight possible (before 8:00am is ideal). That way we can get them over their jet lag, introduce them to their bike and make any last minute adjustments, and if they want, they can spend the afternoon getting used to their bikes. Also, we like to have dinner with them that night if possible. The tour leaves the next morning. In most cases they will require accommodation for the night before and night after the tour. This is not included in the package price.

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We only ever run guided tours with our 10 seater luxury chase coach and support trailer 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.

Category: Guided Tours

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Shooting from the hip – a South Island trip only, of at least a week. Really you need 10 days to get even a reasonable look, preferably 14.. We could put you in some great “boutique” homestays, farmstays, restored gold rush era pubs and top quality B&Bs that we use on our guided tours. We have chosen places where the hosts are especially convivial and out that extra bit into ensuring you have a great stay – it often makes the difference between a great holiday and an ordinary holiday. We only rarely use motels.. (last resort only..)

Category: Guided Tours

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On the 12 day tour that we did with the above group, we covered 3700km in 12 days – 411km/256 miles per riding day. Generally most days are about 150 – 200miles per day, with one or two longer rides to cover ground when necessary. On a 14 day tour we’ll cover the same distance so the daily average falls, and you get plenty of rest days.

Category: Guided Tours

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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

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No problems with lots of questions – it helps me get a handle on the sort of thing you guys like – I like to know the people we have coming beforehand. The prices of the most popular activities can be found on the Guided Booking Form or Self Guided Booking Form

Category: Guided Tours

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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

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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..

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These are the main differences on a Best of The Best format tour:

Smaller, more personalised tour groups – (unless you’re booking a tour for a group and specifically request we increase the group size).
Our popular Best of The Bests are usually scheduled during peak season, to suit demand. “”Best Value”” tours are generally rin in off-peak times.
Boutique/prestigious high quality B&B lodges, and inns.
Award Winning restaurants – sample the very best NZ cusine and God Medal winning fine NZ wines.
Superior/larger rooms wherever available, with self contained or bathrooms.

Category: Guided Tours

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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

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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

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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

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You are welcome to join a 14 day tour for only 10 days. We treat each tour a bit like a carousel – you can get on it and off it as you need to (within reason). So if you only have time for a 10 day tour you would start the tour with the rest of the group, then depart on Day 10. In the case of the tours above you would start in Nelson and finish in Queenstown. If you check our Guided Tours Pricing you’ll see we have tours fare options for 7, 10, 12 and 14 days.

Category: Guided Tours

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The tour groups are never larger than 9 people, unless it’s a tour put on ]at the specific request of a group of friends. I think we’ve only ever had a tour larger than 12, and that was a family. Generally a tour is made up of 3 couples, perhas 2 singles.. We aren’t at all interested in increasing the size of our groups. We find smaller tour groups a lot more fun, both for the clients and ourselves (and both are important). One of the things we get a great kick out of is the enduring friendships that we see develop – a bunch of strangers come together, but they depart New Zealand leave as very close friends. We’ve had many groups of what where strangers, rebook on their deaprture for a “reunion” tour 12 or 24 months in the future. Later we’ll hear that some of them have got back together one they’ve returned back to the US, or UK.. We’ve become very good friends with many clients ourselves. We’ve just booked a motorcycle trip in Spain for ourselves for next year with some past clients from the US and UK ( all from different tours).

Category: Guided Tours

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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

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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

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The deposit is NZ$2000 per person on a Guided Tour, NZ$1000 in the case of a simple rental. The deposit should be paid as soon as you are sure you want to come on holiday, as we do run out of tour positions and bikes over Summer, especially from Jan thru March – we are very busy with bookings right now, and it will only get busier as we get more into Summer. The balance is due 8 weeks prior to the tour commencing. Our advice is always to book early. – the cancellation fee is small so you’re not risking a lot.

Category: Guided Tours

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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.

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If you enjoy making new friends and your budget allows, we’d strongly recommend our Deluxe Guided Tour package. This package shows off the very best of New Zealand. It’s not just another motorcycle vacation – we want our Deluxe package to be remembered by our clients not just as the best motorcycle tour they’ve ever had, but as the best vacation they’ve ever had…. period. One thing overlooked by many people when trying to decide on Guided vs Self Guided is the new friendships you’ll develop. One of the truly rewarding aspects of this job for us is watching the group dynamic develop, and after a couple of days it’s just like a big party. We’ve had many groups book again for another tour en masse… and we regularly hear about tour party members making plans to tour together once they arrive back home.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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