GRAVEL, GLACIERS AND GRAND VIEWS
The New Zealand Off-Road Adventure is a 16-day tour featuring spectacular riding on both paved and unpaved roads, with some especially exciting challenges along the way. The Adventure begins in Auckland on the North Island and ends in Christchurch on the South Island.
This Adventure includes smooth and hard packed gravel roads, as well as, beautiful, twisty, paved roads. Riders will have the option each day to choose between paved and off-road. Challenging route options, including water crossings and 4×4 tracks, are available for the more adventurous, experienced off-road riders. This tour features off-road riding and mountain passes that are popular within the New Zealand adventure-riding community.
On the North Island, gravel roads are mostly smooth with great riding through rainforests, farmlands, and on narrow, twisty roads with very little traffic. Riding on the South Island includes spectacular valleys, canyons, and twisty mountain passes.
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves
- Rotorua Maori cultural evening
- Spectacular riding and scenery both on and off-road
- An optional ride to Abel Tasman National park
- Riding along New Zealand’s spectacular West Coast
- Two-night stay in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown
At a Glance Your New Zealand Off-Road Adventure
Welcome to New Zealand! The tour leaders will meet you at the airport and transfer you to our hotel. If you arrive early you can take time to explore the cities many attractions including SKYCITY – home to the iconic 110ft Sky Tower (the tallest building in the southern hemisphere). If you’re feeling adventuresome, you can take the exhilarating walk around the outside ring of the SkyTower. Auckland also has a fantastic selection of bars, restaurants and cafes and a beautiful pedestrian-friendly waterfront area.
In the late afternoon we will meet for the motorcycle handover followed by a brief kickoff meeting. Afterwards, we will enjoy our first dinner together at a nearby local restaurant.
Our first day of riding will be on nice, twisty, backcountry roads. From Auckland we will ride south to the coastal town of Raglan, a small beachfront community known for its surfing and black volcanic sand. After Raglan, we will stop at the picturesque Bridal Veil Falls before continuing on narrow, twisty gravel roads through Pirongia Forest Park.
Tonight we will stay at a hotel near Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
We will start the day off with a visit to the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, one of the most stunning natural attractions in New Zealand.
After the caves, our route will begin on wonderful gravel roads and transition into an excellent twisty paved road as we head toward PioPio. From there we will have the option to take a side loop to visit Waitanguru Falls and Hairy Feet Waitomo, both of which are Hobbit filming locations.
After lunch, we will continue on a nice gravel road through the Pureora forest.
Our destination is Rotorua where we will enjoy a cultural evening and dinner at a local Maori village.
Today we will ride one of the most beautiful roads on the North Island as we make our way from Lake Waikaremoana through the rain forest towards Mokau Falls. We will actually ride over the falls.
After Lake Waikaremoana, there is an option to continue riding on the paved road through Wairoa, or to take the more challenging gravel Waihi road.
Our destination, Napier, located at Hawkes Bay, is famous for its Art Deco architecture.
Today’s route will be on nice gravel roads that lead through small, remote villages, and alongside some beautiful beaches. Depending on the tide, we may be able to enjoy a spectacular ride on the beach, which is a connecting 4×4 track between two villages.
We will then have the choice of riding on backcountry roads to Masterton, or through the scenic Makuri Gorge to Pahiatua. The last part of our ride will be on a scenic paved road leading to Greytown, our destination for the evening.
Greytown is located in one of New Zealand’s exceptional wine producing areas.
We begin today with a brisk ride over the twisty Rimutaka Hill to Wellington, where we will board the inter-island ferry for a three-hour ride to Picton – ‘Gateway to the South Island’.
On the ferry, we will have the choice of staying inside or on the deck, where we can enjoy the beautiful scenery as the ferry navigates its way through Marlborough Sound.
Leaving Picton, we will have a stunning ride along the coast on twisty gravel roads as we make our way to Nelson where we will spend the next two nights.
There are many options for our free day in Nelson. You may wish to take a vineyard tour or perhaps visit the region’s famous arts and crafts designers, including world famous Hoglund Glass. Or, just relax at one of the many nearby delightful cafes, restaurants or bars.
For those who would like to do more riding, there is a wonderful ride to the famous Takaka Hill. The route is on twisty roads with breathtaking views and there is the option to ride through the famed Abel Tasman National Park.
Today’s route, our longest off-road ride, will take us through Awatere Valley, famous for its many vineyards. This ride is considered a “must-do” by New Zealand off-road riders due to its spectacular scenery and wide-open valleys.
Our destination is the resort town of Hanmer Springs, best known for thermal springs of the same name. This attractive little town, surrounded by mountains and forests, is a year-round travel destination due to its many outdoor adventure activities.
In contrast to yesterday’s almost full day of off-road riding, today we will enjoy beautiful paved roads as we make our way through Springs Junction.
Before arriving at our destination, Hokitika, we will do a gravel loop ride to Lake Kaniere – one of the most beautiful lakes in New Zealand.
Hokitika, known as the Cool Little Town on the West Coast, has many small galleries featuring pounamu (greenstone) jewelry and art works. The nearby Arahura River is a traditional source of the greenstone, also known as New Zealand jade.
Today’s ride is on beautiful paved roads as we make our way along the West Coast through lush semi-tropical rainforests and dairy farming areas.
At Franz Josef, you will have the option to take a scenic helicopter flight to view the Franz Joseph and/or Fox Glacier. Some flights land on the glacier allowing you to get out of the helicopter to walk around.
After Haast Village, we’ll ride through the incredible Haast Pass and stop where the road crosses the raging Haast River to take photos at Devils Gate.
Before arriving in Wanaka, we will ride along the banks of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. The town of Wanaka is a popular summer resort in the Otago region of the South Island.
Queenstown is just an hour away from Wanaka, but there are many interesting and challenging rides that we can explore along the way.
For those who are eager for some very challenging riding, there will be the option to ride along the Nevis road, famous for its 27 river crossings and for being the highest public road in New Zealand at 435 ft. Of course, the views along the way are breathtaking.
Queenstown, known as the adventure capital of the world, offers an abundance of activities to select from on this free day. Bungee jumping, para-sailing, a thrilling jet boat ride, hiking and swimming are just the beginning of the possibilities.
There are a number of beautiful rides available from Queenstown including an all-day ride to Milford Sound or a short ride to nearby Arrowtown, which offers a nice selection of restaurants, cafes and small shops. Another option is an off-road ride to Mavor Lakes which is stunning. Your bike is loaded onto a catamaran to sail over Lake Wakatipu. You then ride to Mavora Lakes and take a paved road back to Queenstown.
Leaving Queenstown, we will ride on paved roads to Cromwell where we will decide on an alternate 4×4 route.
Before arriving in Oamaru, we will go over the very scenic Danseys Pass located in the Kakanui Mountains.
Oamaru is famous for having New Zealand’s oldest public gardens, renowned Victorian architecture, two penguin colonies and a Steampunk museum.
Be prepared for a stunning ride on gravel roads as we make our way through the Hakataramea Valley. After we cross Burkes Pass we will stop for coffee at the small historic town at its base.
Burkes Pass is not far from our final destination – Lake Tekapo. For those who would like additional riding, we will take the gravel loop along the bank of Lake Pukaki, towards Mt. Cook. On a sunny day, views of turquoise-colored Lake Pukaki and the snowy mountain peaks are incredible.
On our last riding day we will travel through the open landscape of McKenzie Country and across the alluvial Canterbury Plains. Paved roads and a relaxed ride will get us to our final destination with plenty of time to explore Christchurch’s city square with its great shopping and cafes.
In the evening, we will enjoy our final dinner together to celebrate our fabulous New Zealand Off-Road Adventure!
After a relaxing breakfast, the tour leaders will arrange a transfer to the airport for your flight home.
TOTAL MILES: ~2,275 MILES
The routes on this tour use a combination of beautiful, twisty paved roads and stunning, hard pack, twisty gravel roads. There is a paved option for all of the gravel routes.
Riders on this tour should be familiar with gravel roads and off-road riding. Basic off-road riding skills are required. The gravel roads are mostly narrow, twisty graded gravel roads with the occasional option of riding on single-lane mountain trails that are rated for 4×4’s. Riding two-up is possible for riders that have had a lot of off-road riding experience with a passenger.
Please contact us about low frame and/or low seat options for our bikes.
- Late model, low mileage motorcycle
- All accommodations
- A’ la carte dining
- Two Ayres Adventures professional tour leaders
- Airport arrival/departure transfers
- Luggage handling
- Comfortable support vehicle for non-riding companions
- Comprehensive pre-trip planning and assistance
- Customized trip booklet with day-by-day itinerary and attractions
- Two commemorative shirts
- Adventurer Club travel award credit
- All breakfasts
- 13 dinners
- Waitomu Caves
- Maori Cultural Evening
- Ferry Across Cook Strait
Deposit per person: $800
Single room supplement
Cancellation fee and refunds
|FROM DATE OF |
|More than 60 days||50% of deposit
|60 days or fewer but more than 45 days||100% of deposit
|45 days or fewer but more than 30 days||50% of full tour payment
|30 days or fewer||100% of full tour payment
Private Tour Inquiry
We are happy to book any of our motorcycle tour as a private tour. For most tours, we require a minimum of 8 bikes,
or 12 participants (riders plus co-riders). We can provide a private motorcycle tour for smaller groups, but a
surcharge may apply. We can also customize any of our regular tours for a private