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Thread: A Yankee in New Zealand - Riding a Dream on the South Island

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    A Yankee in New Zealand - Riding a Dream on the South Island

    Hello!

    After much proding and assistance coupled with an extreme amount of patience from Gary, I have been encouraged to join the forum in order to post a few of the trips that I have been lucky to be invited on and write about. I have been riding for 18 years. Ever since I flung a leg over a bike, I had always wanted a BMW and said that I wanted to ride in New Zealand and Alaska. They say that all you have to do is put it out there and somehow the universe makes it happen. Well, both riding experiences did happen as well as being fortunate enough to drive cross country including some parts of Canada as well. Now who does that their first year of riding...? Someone who has to make up for lost time, hey! Kurt was kind enough to do the conversion of an article that I wrote about touring in New Zealand. The article appeared in the BMWMOA magazine a few years back. Since then, I have returned to New Zealand for an on road/off road tour and was invited to tour in Alaska! So, dreams and wishes do come true. I hope you enjoy reading the article and it promts you to go for it. BMWMichele


    ================================================== ==========

    by Michele Bissonnette #84750

    On January 19, 2010, I boarded an early flight in Boston bound for New Zealand and a tour with Adventure New Zealand Motorcycle Tours & Rentals Ltd. I was going to that magical, mystical playground that I had heard so many stories about ever since I started in the world of motorcycling 16 years ago. In just 12 hours and 2 days, I was on the other side of the world and what a wonderful part of the world it is. I left my New England winter behind and flew right into New Zealand summer. New Zealand is a feast for the eyes and a smorgasbord for the senses.

    I found that in order to tell you everything about touring in New Zealand, I would have to write a book. Instead I'll serve it up as a delicious five-course meal, the way that it was presented to me each day of the tour.

    Since New Zealand was colonized by the British, you can see its influences all around, especially in the bed and breakfasts. Each one is comfortable and inviting especially after our full days of riding. The hosts at each one we stayed at exuded a vitality and charm. They enjoyed our company and talked with us about what we experienced each day. These inns are full of amenities; there's tea in every room, Sherry and Port wine, and even a chocolate on your pillow! It's a great place to go if you're traveling two-up. Some feature a built in swimming pool, Jacuzzi tubs, computers accessibility and pool tables. You won't get any complaints from your riding partner. After a long day of riding, the friendliness and hospitality at each B&B is very welcoming.

    Below: Riding off the beaten path on my BMW R1200R through Mt. Lyford Village over rivers, into valleys and over mountain ranges.
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    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Food and Beverage

    The food can only be described as works of art - a taste explosion with an encore of wine. Each dinner is an experience in and of itself and lasts about two hours. I enjoyed fresh baked sourdough, olives oil, bruschetta, olives, roasted eggplant, mozzarella, steamed mussels, roasted beetroot, pan-fried snapper and mixed leaf herbed salad. Because it was summer, I enjoyed fresh vegetables, fruits and flavors. No worries if you have dietary restrictions, challenges, food allergies or if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet. Seafood and fresh meats are always available. You probably just rode past that beef you're eating or that piece of lamb or deer on your plate.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    I tried foods that at home I refused to eat. Since New Zealand is known for mussels, I had to partake. There was never a problem if you wanted to add or change something on the menu. The wait staff and chefs at all the places I stayed were very accommodating. One afternoon we stopped for lunch at the Eat Deli Bar in Fairlie, an open air restaurant and ordered soup. Who orders soup in the heat of the summer? The ingredients were so inviting that I couldn't pass it up. That seemed to be the case during the whole tour. At first we started ordering soup individually but towards the middle part of the tour, we would order a few soups and spoons so that we could all get a taste. We were raving to the cashier about how delicious the soup was, and the chef actually came out from the back and gave us the recipe!

    There's nothing like a hearty New Zealand breakfast to start your day. Don't get too full eating cereal, toast and fresh jams because there are eggs to follow or herbed waffles and fresh fruits.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    If you don't go to New Zealand for the food or the scenery, then you have to go for the wines and some of the locally brewed beers. We had such a plethora to choose from riding through many wine growing regions. Nelson is the eighth largest wine growing region in New Zealand. Grapes grown there are suited to cooler conditions. Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gew?rztraminer and Pinot Noir are their most popular. Each night upon arrival, John, the tour company co-owner and guide, had chilled beer and wine waiting for us with appetizers. He tried to anticipate your every need. I arrived late one evening prior to dinner, lost once again with experiencing the scenery, the roads and chatting with locals and a note was in my room informing me that in my refrigerator there was a chilled beer waiting for me.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    One morning John mentioned that we would be arriving at our hotel in Queenstown a bit early. Would we like to take a sunset cruise in the fiords? Just a few hours later we boarded his friend Nigel's boat, freshly showered and void of helmet head, drank wine and beer and enjoyed a tableful of appetizers while soaking in the scenery.

    Below: Enjoying food and wine on a sunset boat cruise.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    The People

    The people living in New Zealand are generally laid back, easy going, playful and friendly. I was enjoying my lunch one afternoon when this couple who kept whispering to each other finally came over to talk with me. They noticed my accent being from the States and proceeded to tell me about the time they took six months to go travelling across the U.S. and the world. Their comment to each other when they returned home was "Why did we leave? New Zealand has everything here that we took six months to see."
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    I also found that to be true. One day while riding the Crown Range Route from Cromwell to Wanaka, my riding companion Abdulla and I stopped at the historic Cadrona Hotel for a beer.

    Below: I need a beer! Historic Cardrona Hotel on the Crown Range Route.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    To our surprise we found four ladies wearing colorful hats and enjoying wine. I went outside and grabbed my helmet and asked if I could join them with my hat! Immediately they made room and included us in on their conversation. When they heard that I was touring on my own motorcycle, they immediately went outside and each one took turns sitting and taking pictures on my BMW R1200R.

    Below: Fun, local women out for an afternoon of golf, wine and story-telling, outside the Cadrona Hotel.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    While riding through Mossburn just outside of Te Anau, I passed by a local shop, Brakhen Hall, and joined Merle and Bruce for an enjoyable conversation and an ice-cream.

    Below: New Zealanders are healthy eaters including desserts! Yes, it really does exist. You can find it in the town of Karamea. The food, the scenery and the roads truly are orgasmic.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Bruce told me how he met and worked a bit with John Britton. I was told some more interesting tidbits about Burt Monroe. Of course, there was the occasional hitch-hiker that we'd picked up and given a ride.
    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    The Riding

    Riding in New Zealand is phenomenal. The roads are generally made of tar emulsion with crushed greywacke (a metamorphosed sedimentary rock) providing the abrasive grippy surface that works well in dry and wet conditions but tear the heck out of the tires. I'm told that John gets about 3,000-5,000 miles out of a pair of tires due to the abrasiveness. For me, riding corners was easier and much more fun. You can feel a bit more relaxed while riding in the rain as well. Just like the tar snakes that we experience here in the States, what New Zealand gets is tar bleed in the hot summer weather. The tar emulsion can melt and bleed thru the chip, giving a dull black shiny surface that isn't that grippy. You just have to ride around them.

    Below: Just outside of Kingston, Rte.6.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    Generally, the roads are in great condition and they are kept up with constant work especially during the summer months. The challenge you get over quite quickly is riding on the left side of the road. When executing a right turn, from the left side of the road, your foot brake is not as available and you can have a tendency to grab more hand brake. One thing he stresses is that before you take off, sit for a minute and ask yourself, "Where am I going, what am I doing"? Just to make sure, I tied a red ribbon on the left side of my windscreen as a reminder. File that suggestion.

    Below: Me relaxing on my bike along Rt. 6.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    The roads are narrower and there is not much of a shoulder to offer so John suggested "K" turns or three-point or more turns. There literally is no traffic. You can ride for miles with no cars to be seen.

    Below: Riding our last day towards Nelson. WeÔÇÖre just outside of Berlins riding the road that follows the Buller River in Buller Gorge. One of the best roads to travel in the country, it is cut into the mountain.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    John and I went for a quick 240 mile ride and came upon just five cars in all that time. If it's tight turns you want, New Zealand is where you'll find them. It's exciting and exhilarating to be cornering and riding in so many variable conditions. Just when you think that your turn is complete, go ahead and drive those handlebars down some more because you're not only driving on S-turns, you're actually maneuvering half circles. You know how when you're riding you look ahead to where you're going? One road out of Gibbston was so dramatic with its turns that I was looking over my shoulder and literally into my helmet! The roads seem to lift you out of each turn and into the next one. You definitely leave New Zealand a better rider, especially with John, a former racer, giving you instructions on mid-corner steering!

    Below: It doesn't get any better than this!
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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    I found myself in a constant battle between either looking at the scenery or getting into riding the switchbacks and tight turns. Each turn takes your breath away.

    Below: Riding North on Rte.6 to the Haast township. The Southern Alps are just ahead as we make our way towards the western shores.
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    Kurt -- Forum Administrator ---> Resources and Links Thread <---
    '78 R100/7 & '69 R69S & '52 R25/2
    mine-ineye-deatheah-pielayah-jooa-kalayus. oolah-minane-hay-meeriah-kal-oyus-algay-a-thaykin', buddy!

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