Boyd Motorcycles South Island Tour 2018
Day 1- Sunday 4th Feb
Can’t believe it’s been 2 years since the last South Island Tour. This one has kicked off a month earlier than normal to tie in with the Burt Munro challenge.
We had plans to leave early Sunday morning from Boyd Motorcycles meeting up with clients from Taumarunui, Whakatane, Taupo, Pihiatua and Wellington.
However, as we got closer to the date clients were telling us that they were making their own way down a day earlier to stay with friends rather than setting off before the Roosters start crowing.
We set off to Whanganui after finishing work Saturday. We loaded the support van and were off about 2.30 to break the trip up. aW stayed at our favourite stop in Whanganui The Grand Hotel.
After a lazy start to the morning we set off to the Bluebridge Ferry Terminal to meet with the rest of the crew.We had 26 bikes, 1 van and 29 people.
We all arrived in time for the ferry and the boarding went well. The ferry set off at 1:30 pm with 2.5 meter swells in the straight. It took an extra half hour to dock due to strong currents so we arrived just on 5pm.
We had a reeeaaaaally long ride to our destination in Picton The Picton Yacht Club being 2.5km away.
Once we had settled in for the evening, a few of us used the swimming pool, a few went to the Irish pub across the road, and some of us had a quiet beverage in the sun by the pool. We had our ‘meet and greet ‘ dinner and first tour riders briefing directly after everyone was fed.
We have an eclectic group of people and motorcycles including KTM, Harleys, Ducati’s Triumph’s, BMW’s, Suzuki’s, Honda and Kawasaki so a lot of banter will be had.
Day 2 Monday 5th Feb
We awoke to a lovely morning in Picton and some of us left early to do the Takaka Hill before heading on to our final destination for the day of Reefton.
The majority of us left about 8.30am and took Queen Charlotte Sounds Road to Havelock for breakfast.
Dave listened to his GPS and ended up in Blenheim or close to it, so I’m guessing he will be up for dick of the day tomorrow unless someone has a better ideas? We will find out tomorrow.
Once Dave met up with the early birders in Havelock they set off to Takaka. We couldn’t have asked for better weather and traffic was on our side.
They went over the hill and turned left to Cobb River Dam. It isn’t very well sign posted and the road is very narrow, not overly suitable for cars, but well worth the 2 hour return loop.
Once we reached the Cobb Dam we thought it was a good idea to go for the summit which was a 20km return trip on gravel. Who says you can’t Adventure ride a GSXR1000?
The return trip to Motueka was just as good as the trip over, after filling up (again) in Motueka we turned right and headed toward Motopiko. From there on straight onto SH6 where we were met with rain just before Murchison.
We stopped for half an hour on Murch for the rain to clear then headed onto Reefton where there was nothing but blue skies. We arrived just on 6pm making us the last group in. 11 hours and 550km.
We had a communal BBQ dinner at The Lantern Court Motel, with some of the lads and lasses which was really nice to do. We made salads, spuds, sausages, bacon and bread. WHAT A FEAST!
As we write this we can here the rain falling on the roof, hopefully be the time we have riders briefing in the morning it will have cleared.
Tomorrow we head for Hanmer Springs but the long way round.
Day 3 Tuesday 6th Feb
This morning was met with rain falling from the sky hindering a start to the day. We decided for a lazy start with breakfast after the briefing at The Broadway Tearooms & Bakery before getting on the road about 9.30.
From the 28 people in the group 10 decided to go straight to Hanmer Springs, because of the rain and bookings they had set up for the Jet Sprint at Hanmer Springs Attractions.
The rest of the group suited up in their wet weather gear and headed off to Westport. Due to the Foul wind we skipped Cape Foulwind and went straight for Punakaiki where some of the group stopped and checked out Pancake Rocks.
The weather started to improve and the wets went back into the tailbags where they stayed for the rest of the day. A group of us stopped at Formerly The Blackball Hilton and what a feast, I highly recommend it.
With our bellies full and our bikes half empty we made our way back to where the day started off, Reefton. With the tanks filled up it was a straight run to Hanmer Springs for a well deserved swim in the hotpools and maybe a few Ales to top the night off.
Tomorrow we head for Hokitika via Arthur’s pass. Hopefully the temperature improves as its not overly warm here in Hanmer tonight.
Day 4 Wednesday 7th Feb
We awoke to a cloudless blue sky with the slightest chill in the air. After riders briefing we all set off to Hokitika stopping in Amberly to fuel up and have breakfast. The journey to Arthurs Pass now begins. We expected to see a barrage of Highway patrol waiting to pounce on innocent victims but had only seen one.
A couple of riders peeled off to Rangiora for sunglasses to help see while the sun was shinning so bright. We caught up with the group again at Springfield for a refuel where some of the riders swapped bikes.
The views were simply amazing and could have spent all day in awe of the sights and did I mention the perfect weather. The group stopped for lunch at Arthur’s Pass Cafe where they have the best pies (maybe).
Some of the group had a photo stop at the top of the Viaduct hoping to see Kea’s. One was spotted but got spooked by a tourist and was never seen again.
After Arthur’s Pass a few peeled off again to Lake Brunner and practiced their South Island Tour synchronized swimming. A very rare white whale was spotted in the process. The group began to arrive at our next stop for the night Stumpers Bar & Grill.
A few of us headed out to Hokitika Gorge and stopped at the site of NZ’s first shooting massacre. Again the GSXR showed its off road capabilities and didn’t disappoint.
A couple of beers after a good days ride then everyone did there own thing for dinner and I don’t recommend playing Nikki at pool. She’ll own you.
Tomorrow we make our way to Arrowtown where we have a 2 night stop.
Day 5 Thursday 8th Feb
We can’t believe the luck we have been having with the weather!! Some of the mad ones in our group were up and on the road this morning at 7.00am and reported that they were in Franz Joseph for breakfast before the rest of us had even left Hokitika. But the weather was so awesome I don’t blame them really. A couple went on a scenic flight over the Glaciers which would have been amazing.
The rest of us headed off and 22km later some stopped for breakfast at Ross while some carried onto Franz Joseph.
The traffic was a nightmare, with bicycles, campers and crazy tourists who haven’t driven outside of a cardboard box AND we give them a car and head them off on one of the most challenging roads in NZ! It was the worst day for traffic that’s for sure.
Haast for lunch or a coffee and a refuel. One of the bikes had to stop to help a driver who had hit the bridge trying to enter it?! And then we were off again. Next stop was the Blue Pools where some actually went for a swim???? I wasn’t brave enough personally, but a few of our synchronizing swimming team were involved.
Wanaka next and we flew through there and up to Cardrona for pit stop, then over the Crown Range Road and into Arrowtown…..What a ride! 470km later we were settling in for a much deserved beer and dinner at the New Orleans Hotel.
Rest day tomorrow which we are looking forward to.
Day 6 Friday 9th Feb
Early start for me personally….about 9.30am haha We had decided to have a group BBQ for tea tonight so after breakfast and a potential bike deal with the Cafe owner we were off to the grocery store in Frankton. Via the sweet store
We were all heading in different directions, some only as far as the local cafe, others back over to Wanaka War Birds Museum and Cromwell as well as some heading down to Glenorchy or trying their hand at some gold panning.
Upon the return of that little excursion we headed off in the van to Cromwell. We had a walk around the old town then stopped at Gibbiston Valley Winery for some cheese for dinner. Not as hard as you think as the Winery has a cheese store on the premise as well.
Dave is contemplating getting up at dawn to head out to Milford before heading down to Invercargill, so we will put that to the group and see how many takers we have on that. The van will be heading to Manopouri and then down the coast to Riverton and into Invercargill in time for the speedway at 4pm.
Day 7 Saturday 10th Feb
This morning I got up at stupid o’clock as I have been hounded by our early birders to head out to Milford Sound. It was not part of our scheduled ride but I buckled under the peer pressure and set off with them. You can’t be that close and not go right?
We refueled in Te Anau with a pie from Miles better Pies and topped the bikes up with as much as possible. The GSXR1000 doesn’t have the best fuel consumption and with Milford Sound being a 240km return trip I crossed my fingers and began the journey.
The weather turned it on for us and the ride in was just incredible. Words and photos just don’t do it enough justice. It really is a must do. The Homer tunnel down was pretty cool and I couldn’t resist revving the GSXR to redline and listen to that sweet, sweet sound echo endlessly. We stopped to look at the Chasm on the way down which was a short 1km loop walk.
Milford Sound; if I thought the ride in was incredible it paled in comparison to what was in front of me. We were first met with Mitre Peak and managed to time it to perfection for a cruise of the Sound. The cruise was 1 and half hours long. Dolphins were swimming, seals sun bathing and we even saw 2 people rock climbing.
Once we docked it was time to gear up and set off back to Te Anau for another pie and fuel. I constantly had one eye on the fuel gauge and could finally rest easy when that little orange light reared its ugly head with 12km to go. After our stop in Te Anau it was a straight run to Invercargill. There wasn’t much sights taken in on the last leg but had a well-deserved ice-cream stop in Tuatapere. We finished the day with 617km under our belts and Thai for dinner.
The rest of our group started at about 8:30 and headed out on SH6 stopping for breakfast Five Rivers before turning towards Te Anau and Manapouri. They then stopped at Manapouri for a sight see ad a top of fuel. Our lovely Nikki realized at Kingston that not all the luggage was on board and had to go back to Arrowtown for the earlybirders gear, setting off from Arrowtown for the second time at 10am.
The group stopped for lunch in Tuatapere where the support van met up with them. From there it was off to Riverton then Invercargill with their day clocking in at a mere 360km.
The streets were littered with bikes, cars and the odd burnout. A few of us decided to make a night of it listening to live music at the Speights Ale House on the main drag. We pulled up a pew and watched the bikes and cars cruise.
Some of the group even made it to watch the Speedway, with almost 60 racers to watch they said it was pretty good entertainment.
Rest day tomorrow with the Street Racing starting about 10am. Another great day finished.
Day 8 11th Feb
A very slow day for the group of us staying at Te Kootuku Homestay, we were up and not really atom at about 10am. We walked the short distance to the Motorcycle Mecca Muesum and had breakfast before walking around the amazing collection.
If you have never been, it is a must see and our camera’s were kept busy at this amazing collection.
After an hour or so we walked up to E Hayes Hammer Hardware and walked around the collection shown off throughout the store. We brought a few tee shirts and took a few photos and then we were off again.
Some of us waited to see if the weather (which had finally turned murky) would clear so the street racing could continue. Unfortunately it didn’t and with the added ‘old bike oil drop’, the racing was cancelled.
We walked up to the Massive Truck Muesum on Tay Street about 3 or so kilometers for E Hayes Hardware store. We got a little wet but not too bad, just cooled us down a bit.
Even if you have no interest in trucks, this is a great museum to visit, The guy who originally started this collection Bill Richardson has amassed an amazing selection of vehicles from minis to old school Kenworth’s Mac’s and Studebakers.
After all our walking we made it back to our Homestay and jumped in the van to go to Bluff. Hoping the weather would clear before we arrived….it didn’t. So we got to see a whole lot of cloud and not a lot of Stewart Island or Invercargill from the lookout.
Once we had taken the obligatory photo at the sign at Bluff we off to have a little nap.
We finished the day with dinner down at The Sports Bar at Ascot Park Hotel where everyone else was staying. We had a bit of a catch up with everyone and lots of discussion about how we would make our way to Oamaru in the morning.
Day 9 12th Feb
Another good start to the day with nothing but blue skies. The group of us staying at Te Kootuku Homestay set off just after 8am to meet the rest of the group at Ascot Park Hotel where they were staying.
Most of the group had decided to make their own way to Oamaru with some via the Catlins and up a coast road. The rest of the group headed up SH1 and out towards a different coast road that one of the group suggested stopping in Balclutha for breakfast and refuelling.
A couple of us swapped bikes and the group set out to find this so called coast road. Not long into the journey we were met with a typical gravel road which went on for 40km which allegedly should have been sealed (Tui billboard) yeah right, but the views were just amazing and soon forgot we were on a gravel road.
Once back on sealed roads Dunedin was only 50 odd km away. We shot back out to the coast for another round of whale watching in Taieri Mouth. With the sightseeing out of the way one of the group had struck an injury and took a good 40 mins to get him on his feet. We took Deb’s bike out of the van so Les could be in the van but do you think it was his bike to be loaded in the van? Noooo, somehow it was decided that the GSXR was going in there without my knowledge. I could’ve cried but was lucky enough to throw my leg over a KTM 1290GT
Once the van was reloaded we got on the road and stopped in Dunedin for a good old MacDonalds burger. We found ourselves playing on NZ’s steepest street and the locals found it very entertaining with camera flashes everywhere. So this is what stardom feels like.
Once we got to Oamaru we unwound with a beer or two and headed out to The Scot’s Brewery for dinner. The pizzas and ribs were to die for. A few of us walked around old town and learnt all about Steampunk, it’s pretty cool. With a taxi ride home it was time for lights out.
Day 10 13th Feb
With yet another glorious day greeting us at morning briefing, we soon start talking about the constant great weather which has really helped to make the trip. A few of us headed back into old town for breakfast while the rest set off for Lake Tekapo ticky touring along the way.
Once breakfast was done and dusted we indulged in tour of Steampunk HQ. What a place, the artwork is incredible and a must see even if you’re unsure about it.
The group was pretty scattered today and stopped at various spots to soak up more sights like the Elephant rocks, the dams especially the Benmore Dam and a refuel in Omarama.
Before stopping at our destination the Godley Motel most of us shot out to Mount Cook which never disappoints. Wish I had more time to do some of the walking tracks and I’ve never seen such a colour of a lake before. Lake Pukaki is stunning especially with Mount Cook as the backdrop.
We all did our own thing for dinner tonight and called it a night fairly early. While I’m writing this I do have the aircon on as it’s still very hot. Let’s hope tomorrow gives us another day of blue skies.
Day 11 14th Feb.
Lake Tekapo to Akaroa today. It was a little cloudy this morning but pretty calm. For those who hadn’t eaten; after briefing we headed for Fairlie for breakfast.
Before we reached Fairlie our luck ran out with the weather….Just a light drizzle but a significant drop in temperature to go with it. The rain gear came out and we carried on, taking the State Highway 72 through Geraldine and Mayfield.
The Scenic route isn’t super clear especially since we weren’t following it all the way to Christchurch. There were twists and turns, but most made it without to many hiccups and with the van being towards the back I had seen most on the Akaroa road at different spots so knew we were all going to make it to the Motel.
Can’t believe we only have another night in the South Island left, it has gone so fast this year. We are off to Picton and our final evening away from home. Seamus Irish Bar for final dinner…’Fancy Dress Night!’
Day 12 – 15th Feb
After a lovely stay at Akaroa Waterfront Motels we headed off a half hour earlier than normal so we missed the buses taking the cruise ship clients over into Christchurch.
We took the Eastern Bays Road out of Akaroa which I call the high road. It was unfortunate that the fog was a bit low so our views were limited. Once we got back onto the main road out of Akaroa we headed for Lyttleton via Gebbles Pass. Not a bad road, but a little bit bumpy and a few speed restrictions.
We stopped at Lyttleton for breakfast which is a pretty busy place. We spread out between 3 different cafe’s but we all got fed and watered and ready for the next run.
Through the tunnel we went and then we stayed on SH74, which is a great way to get through Christchurch. It joins up with SH1 on the North side of Christchurch without as much traffic.
After Amberley we turned off SH1 and headed for the Inland Kaikoura Road, just so we didn’t have to be with all the SH1 traffic. The road was pretty average, but really interesting to see all the earthquake damage being repaired. Lots of stops and starts, including some sheep wrangling with tourist hanging out their cars and running along with the sheep trying to get videos of them.
Kaikoura for lunch, I didn’t stop for long, just enough to get a sandwich and a pie and then off again. Its amazing to drive down the coast from Kaikoura, the earthworks and road works they have achieved is pretty impressive. Once it’s completed it’ll be a hell of a lot better than it ever was. Lots of seals to be seen but because of the road works it was pretty tuff to stop and take photos.
Once we arrived in Picton, we headed back to The Picton Yacht Club for our final night. Some jumped straight in the pool (clothes and all) while some relaxed with a drink on the balconies.
We headed over to Seamus Irish Bar for our final drinks and dinner. Most of us were in fancy dress or in our tour shirts and we had heaps of laughs while waiting for dinner at Seamus’s, was really good and we had a great night. We finished off by jumping back in the pool before bed just to cool down a bit.
Early start in the morning so we were all tucked up in bed by 10 or so.
Day 13 – 16th Feb
We woke to yet another lovely morning, still can’t believe how lucky we have been on this tour with the weather!! We were all up on time except for those of the crew who were staying on for a wee bit longer and off down to the ferry by 7am. Once on the ferry most had breakfast and then sat back and relaxed over the crossing. Once again having hardly any swell to contend with.
We docked just before 12pm in Wellington where the weather was a little overcast, but no rain. We proceeded to scatter like leaves as we all headed for our respective homes.
Dave and I would like to thank all of our riders (and pillions) for an awesome trip. We have had another really successful run, which wouldn’t be possible without you lovely people joining us on the ride. We are already talking about ideas for our 2020 South Island ride so we will keep in touch.