Over the years many journalists have been hosted on tour. Here's what they wrote. Also tour members have been inspired to put pen to paper after a memorable experience.
Jim and Margie Rockenbach
"After participating in a two-week motorcycle tour of the European Alps in the late 1980's, Marg and I became hooked on the concept. Over the next 10 years, we teamed-up with another couple and planned and took two week tours of the Western USA and the Canadian Maritimes as well as at least a week every year by ourselves somewhere in the USA. However, our long-term desire was a motorcycle tour of New Zealand. Finally the timing was right and we booked a three-week tour with Te Waipounamu in February 2007(New Zealand's summer).
We could not have been more satisfied with our choice of time, place, or Tour Company. The country is outstanding! Within the country we experienced some similar scenery and riding experiences that we had in our previous travels: mountains, seashores, rain forests, glaciers, windy roads, good food, etc. Plus we got to enjoy New Zealand's uniqueness: a special brand of English, dollar currency, left hand riding, Maori people, one lane bridges, bungee jumping and hang gliding, Cook Straight Ferry, sheep, deer and cattle farm stays, fjords, and the home of Worlds Fastest Indian and much more. The tour was arranged well and the bikes performed with out a hitch. Enough places to see, were scheduled to keep everyone one busy every day and also keep the long distance riders happy with side trips that allowed them to get to the hotels on time.
The tour guides (who only allowed 2 1/2 days of rain), the chase vehicle, and the accommodations were great. Our traveling companions (from the four corners of the USA) melded well and helped make this a wonderful, never to be forgotten experience. Three weeks, two islands, perfect planning with new friends equaled "Heaven on Earth"."
Motorcycle trip to NZ
Last month I took a two week tour of your country on a BMW 650 GS rented from John Rains' Te Waipounamu Motorcycles out of Christchurch. I say last month, though I'm still on the South Island in my heart and mind and probably always will be to some degree.
I needed an adventure. In 1977 I turned 30 in a tent in Rabat, Morocco with an absolutely gorgeous 6"3" (woops, what's that in meters?) Scottish architect; that I had met scuba diving in the Carribean earlier that year. As it turned out, he was as gorgeous on the inside as he was on the outside, and became my lover, best friend, husband, mentor, business partner, co-conspirator, soul mate, constant companion, and, as he used to say, my biggest fan. I hadn't done much for my 40th or 50th, so wanted to pull out all the stops for my 60th...
Three years previously I was starting to heal up from his untimely demise in 2001, and because I live in the North Georgia Mountains, world class motorcycling country, and used to ride dirt bikes in my 20s, I decided to get a motorcycle. After all, if I was a man, I'd already have one, right? I decided on a street bike since being stranded out in the middle of the woods alone didn't appeal to me at my age. It all came back. The downward g-forces leaning into a turn. The backwards force when accelerating out. The freedom. The looks on guys' faces when we'd stop after a run through the passes and I was right behind them. HA! I was in my element again.
So what could be better than a birthday present to myself? No one else was going to give it to me! Following a recommendation from a local friend, I contacted John Raines and his wife Allison. They were my first contact with the can-do Kiwi attitude, just what I needed. A group of six, four Americans and two Germans started the tour in Christchurch. I had thought we'd ride as a group, but soon learned that there's no pace like your own, a good life lesson as well, so after a day or two we were on our own navigating through the most spectacular scenery on this earth. What a place you folks live in! We rode in a clockwise direction around the island, having been given a route sheet in the morning and meeting up at the hotel at night for happy hour and a very sound sleep. Christchurch to Twizel. Ride left, look right. Burkes Pass and spectacular Lake Tekapo. Mount Cook, half obscured by clouds. Dunedin. especially interesting to me; since my husband had been from Edinburgh. The glorious architecture there... especially the train station and the university. The interesting and tragic story of Larnach Castle. Next north to Te Anau, where I stopped at an art gallery in Gore and found my new favorite artist John Badcock and was also engaged in conversation with another female motorcyclist, Suzanne Anderson. You Kiwis are the friendliest folk. and also the craziest, as I found out the next stop which was Queenstown. We had a day off, not near long enough to make even a dent in the list of adventures available there. I chose to go dirt bike riding with an outfit there on 16,000 acres of hills, rocks, water, sand, and Denis, the owner/guide who could wheelie for miles.
It was pouring rain the day I met Suzanne, a bonus as I had no experience in riding in the wet and needed some. Besides, I'd bought a new rain suit for the trip and had to get at least some use out of it. Another first was learning to ride leaned over into the wind on the straights. Fox Glacier was next on the list, then Hanmer Springs, more twisties and remarkable views to Nelson, then onto Punakaiki and the pancake rocks, then regrettably back to Christchurch. I could go on for pages about the awe inspiring views and roads in your country, but you already know about them. Now I do, and they will be with me forever.
At the last dinner our group, now all best friends of course, was reliving the experience and I discovered one of the things that I'm most proud of - a callus on my throttle hand!! How cool is that?
Dear John, Alison and all the guys at TE Waipounamu.
Just a little note to say Thank You for the most wonderful holiday; for all of your fantastic organising to ensure everything went smoothly; for all of the varied locations and accommodation you found for our tour and for asking Peter and Kate to be our guides. People at home have asked me which was the Best bit.. Well, apart from meeting up with Richard, there are no 'Best bits', 'cos it was all brilliant! I really feel that my riding ability has improved.. How could it not on some of those roads!! If only it would get above freezing here, so that I could get back out on my bike again! Good luck with the business and Allison.. Keep practicing with the riding! Thank you also for your generous hospitality in inviting me back to you house for a meal with Peter and Kate. It was very kind of you both. Lots of love to you all.
Duff and Dad
Recent tour client Duff Doherty has written his impressions of his tour experience. Read about his adventure and get a first hand opinion of touring with us
Jeanne and I were wracking our brains trying to figure out what to get my Dad for his 70th birthday. He definitely qualifies as one of those "guys who has everything." He's always grateful when you give him something, but there's always this nagging feeling that he has ten of them at home. Suddenly it occurred to me that the best present I could give Dad was to accompany him on his latest trip to New Zealand. How is this a gift you ask? Read on ...
He's always talking about New Zealand, to the point where it's become a family joke. Everything appears to be better in New Zealand to my Dad. If you know my Dad you will know that he delights in organizing and leading excursions, so far be it from me to deny him the pleasure of organizing and leading an excursion to the land where EVERYTHING is better with me!
We are doing a two-week tour of New Zealand's South Island with Te Waipounamu Motorcycle Tours, Ltd. of Christchurch, NZ. The full-blown tour is three weeks and starts on the North Island. We decided to pick up the tour on the South Island in Nelson. But first we had to get there. Dad and I had separate flights set to arrive in Christchurch on Sunday, February 8th, 2009. We both had long, uneventful flights, and wound up on the same connection into Christchurch. We arrived in the morning and hopped a cab to the hotel, the Chateau Blanc Suites, located next to a lovely park within walking distance of downtown Christchurch.
Visit the whole story on the Doherty Blog website, really is worth a read.
Great Escapes by Peter Mitchell
A book written by Dunedin author Pete Mitchell who can desribe it in his own words.
"An excellent guide to over 40 Great Escape Runs on both North and South Islands. Each run is accompanied by a map, route desription giving times and distances and an overview of the added attractions & highlights along the way."
"I've also included tips on improving riding skills, what to pack, information on weather patterns and crossing Cook Strait. I've listed motorcycle friendly accommodation, the best places to eat, local folklore and much more."
This book is currently out of print and will be available in digital format in the near future. Contact us for more information.