Te Waipounamu Motorcycle Tours

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Who can drive on New Zealand roads

You can drive in New Zealand if:

  •     you have a current and valid overseas licence or driver permit, and
  •     you haven’t been given a disqualification or suspension in New Zealand, and
  •     you came into New Zealand less than 12 months ago, and
  •     your overseas licence is in English, or you have an accurate translation, and
  •     you haven’t been granted a New Zealand driver licence since you last entered New Zealand.

If you don't meet all of these requirements, you must apply for a New Zealand driver licence to drive in New Zealand.

 

There is a time limit on how long you can drive here

You can drive for a maximum period of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand.

Each time you arrive in New Zealand you can drive for a further 12-month period.

 

What vehicles can I drive on my overseas licence?

As the holder of a valid and current overseas driver licence, you are considered to hold a New Zealand driver licence of a class that allows you to drive the motor vehicles you are allowed to drive under your overseas licence:

    if you have a full overseas car licence (equivalent to a New Zealand class 1), you can drive a car or light vehicle with a gross laden weight of not more than 6000kg
    if you have a learner, restricted or provisional licence the weight limit will be lower
    if you have a full overseas motorcycle licence (equivalent to a New Zealand class 6) you can ride any size motorcycle
    if you have a learner, restricted or provisional motorcycle licence you can only ride specific motorcycles approved under the Licence Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS).

Please note that New Zealand licence classes are not an exact match to those that apply overseas. If you have a heavy vehicle (truck) licence then the size and type of vehicles you can drive in New Zealand may be different.

 

You must know the New Zealand road rules

All drivers must know the road rules, what the road signs mean and how to drive safely. You can find out more in The official New Zealand road code.

Look at the Road code online
Test your knowledge of the New Zealand Road code on the Practice website
Read a copy of Driving in New Zealand

 

Here for more than a year? Convert to a New Zealand licence

If you'll be in New Zealand for more than a year, you need to obtain a New Zealand driver licence. If your overseas licence is still current or has expired less than 12 months ago you can apply to convert it to a New Zealand licence.

 

 

Tips for driving in New Zealand

New Zealand road rules and driving behaviours may be different to those in your home country. For example:

  •     we drive on the left side of the road
  •     we have many hilly, narrow or windy roads that mean your journey may take longer than you expect
  •     you must carry your driver licence on you at all times. If your licence is not in English, you must carry a translation from an approved translator.

 

All of New Zealand is amazing. And the people are sociable. The South is full of intrigue, capture one night in Queenstown, for full on nightclubbing, or cruise Milford Sounds for the Adventure of Dazzelment. Fishing options are always open. From North to South we can show you the way to go, all on the best quality Touring Bikes available. Not only do we offer great roads, but the trails for offroad enthusiasts will leave you smiling for weeks to come as you capture the feeling we have termed "Godzone".

The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the great touring routes within the Pacific and is said to be one of the best rides in the world. Not only does it depict the flavor of a unique region within New Zealand, but it provides easy access to the untamed and natural features found only on a Pacific Island.

The Highway travels on great paved twisty riding roads through a spacious region where land and sea intermingle, atmosphere is a delightful blend of natural attractions and easy going recreation. The people are a pleasant mix of Polynesian and European cultures.

Geographically the Highway follows beaches and scenic coastline. Blue waters roll onto clean white sands, while protective arms of bush-clad hills shelter bays abundant with marine life. Rolling farmlands and fertile orchards enhance the scenic splendor of the region. Opportunities to enjoy natures attractions abound.

Historically the route holds many cultural treasures. It was one of the first landing areas for both Polynesian and European voyagers, relics of this heritage are found in the museums and on the Maori Marae (meeting houses).

The journey leads from Auckland (the main gateway to NZ, city of sails) across to The Coromandel Peninsular then down the East coast through charming towns to Gisborne, Napier and Hastings. You can also visit the thermal wonderland of Rotorua, this is a short distance from the Highway (40min. ride)

If you are planning to take this ride you should allow at least 3-4 days.

Another great ride in New Zealand is the trip from Lake Te Anau to Milford Sound in the South Island - this is truly spectacular (also refer to our tour itineraries).

We wish you a lot of fun and a great time riding through this beautiful country.

Riding in New Zealand

Roads in New Zealand are perfect for motorcyclists, most are well sealed with a good grippe surface and no potholes. They are interesting winding through the loverly countryside. For those wanting to go off the beaten track there are also plenty of unsealed (gravel roads) in the country areas. Large capacity enduro bikes are a favorite for these roads, you can certainly have a lot of fun exploring the remote country and coastal areas. Camping out is usually no problem in many areas of NZ.

Imagine: No Traffic, Mountian Passes, Sweeping Roads, Emotive Surroundings, and the rest of your colleagues back at work.

New Zealand has a temperate climate - not excessively hot or too cold.

Motorcycling in this country is popular during the warmer months, November to March are preferred.

Summer (December, January and February) is undoubtedly the most popular time to visit New Zealand, especially the more southern South Island.

The South Island boasts a scenic wonderland, with some of the highest Mountains capped with snow all year around, and warm beaches bathed with beauty.

The West Coast of NZ has a temperate rain forest which receives most of the countries rainfall. The winding road along the coast, rainforest on one side and rugged coastline on the other provide some memorable motorcycling, however it is advisable when traveling in this area to carry a rainproof jacket and over pants.

As a general rule, (subject to climate change) from November to late December the weather is generally fine with just the odd day of showers.

Then when most New Zealanders are on holiday between Christmas and New Year (24 December to 2 January) we usually get a few days of rain! (Murphys Law).

After this rain it is then fine for the two months of January and February.

From May to September sees some days of heavy rain with some beautiful clear calm sunny days in between, at this time mornings can be frosty with early morning ice on the road in some regions.

Read more about New Zealand weather:

For a country of 4.5 million people, New Zealand has not done too badly!

Here are just a few examples:

  • New Zealand was the first country to give women the vote (1893)
  • It was in fact a New Zealander, Richard William Pearse who took the world's first flight (nearly two years before the Wright Brothers in the United States). On 31 March 1902 Pearse managed to fly his home-made aircraft 91 metres in a field near Timaru
  • There are more golf courses in New Zealand per capita of population, than any other country in the world (over 400 golf courses for 4.5 million people)
  • Auckland has the largest number of boats per head of population than any other city in the world
  • William Hamilton, a Canterbury farmer, developed and perfected the propellerless Jet Boat based on the principle of water jet propulsion. Following this, Hamilton went on to invent the hay-lift, an advanced air compressor, an advanced air conditioner, a machine to smooth ice on skating ponds; the water sprinkler and also contributed to the improvements of hydro-power
  • A New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary, was the first person to climb Mount Everest (with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953)
  • Baron Ernest Rutherford, a New Zealander, was the first person in the world to split the atom (in 1919). Earlier to this, Rutherford also succeeded in transmitting and detecting 'wireless waves' a year before Marconi, but left this work to pursue researching radioactivity and the structure of the atom at Trinity College in Cambridge, England. Rutherford was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work
  • New Zealand is the first country in the world to see each new day
  • Curio Bay in Southland is one of the world's most extensive and least disturbed examples of a petrified forest (the forest is approximately 180 million years old)
  • New Zealand is the birthplace of the meringue dessert known as the 'Pavlova', named after the famous ballerina Anna Pavlova
  • Wellington has more cafes and restaurants per capita than New York
  • The vineyards of Central Otago, New Zealand, are the southernmost vineyards in the world (45° South)
  • In 2002 New Zealand's total sheep population was 47,390,000 however in recent years a higher population of dairy cows have replaced many sheep! New Zealand has the largest dairy company in the world, Fonterra.
  • Tongariro National Park was the second national park to be established in the world (Yellowstone National Park in the United States was the first)
  • The Hector's Dolphin (the world's smallest marine dolphin), and the world's rarest sea lion, the Hooker's sea lion, are only found in New Zealand waters
  • New Zealand is home to the world's only flightless parrot, the Kakapo as well as the only alpine parrot in the world, the Kea
  • The oldest living genus of reptile is the native New Zealand Tuatara. Tuataras have a life expectancy of 300 years. It is estimated that Tuataras can be traced back 190 million years to the Mesozoic era
  • New Zealand is the current holder of yachting's most prized possession - The America's Cup - which will be challenged on the Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, defended by Team New Zealand
  • A New Zealander invented the tear back velcro-strip
  • The pop-lid on a self sealing paint tin was also invented by a New Zealander, as was the child-proof pill bottle and the crinkle in your hairpins so that they don't fall out!
  • A New Zealand archbishop's son invented the totaliser machine used for racing and sports betting
  • Waikoropupu Springs located near Nelson, are reputedly the clearest fresh water springs in the world with an outflow of approximately 2,160 million litres of water every 24 hours
  • Frying Pan Lake near Rotorua, is the world's largest hot water spring reaching a temperature of 200°C at it's deepest point

New Zealand lies in the Southern Pacific Ocean 1.600 km east of Australia. It consists of the North and South Islands and a number of smaller islands with a total land area of 266,171 sq km.

We are the envy of our neighbours boasting Magnificant Mountain Ranges ( especially the Southern Alps, located in the South Island ) and Rolling Hill Country together with Vast Fiords ( S.I ), Glaciers ( S.I ) and Many Lakes ( North and South ) which are the most striking physical features of the South Island. We offer Adventure, Recreation, and all in a relaxed atmosphere. Your biggest problem will be "what to do first".

In the North Island, the volcanic interior contains New Zealand's largest lake, Lake Taupo, and most of the country's active volcanoes - Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro - all usually quiet. Trail bike heaven. Hot springs, geysers and mud pools also form part of the volcanic system centered around Rotorua.

  • Highest mountain Mt. Cook/Aoraki (3,754m). Located in the South Island.
  • Deepest lake Lake Hauroko (462m)
  • Longest river Waikato River (425km)
  • Largest glacier Tasman Glacier (29km long)
  • Deepest cave Nettlebed (889m)
  • Population: 4,530,000 (Oct 2014)
  • Most Active Nightspot: Queenstown.
  • Fastest moving glaciers in the world: Fox Glacier & Franz Josef Glacier
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