New Zealand South Island Tour

Published: 31 March 2007

Hi I’d like to tell you about the 4,000km Tour of a lifetime we have just completed and are still buzzing about!

This was a holiday to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary and my wife's 50th Birthday and we wanted to do a good job of it!

We booked a tour of New Zealand's South Island with GotourNZ based in Nelson. They did everything, from the hire of the bike to the booking of all the accommodation on-route and pre-booking the activities we wanted to do as we went.

We did Jetboat rides, helicopter rides over the Glaciers and to Milford Sound, swam with dolphins, everything except a bungee!

This was a two week tour of the South Island on a BMW R1200GS starting from Nelson and then going through Hanmer Springs, Franz Joesph, Te Anua, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Mount Cook, Christchurch, Kaikoura and finally back to Nelson.

A total of 4,000km with a lifetime of memories from every kilometer. Anyone doing this has to stop off in Nelson before you zoom off because it is a beautiful place to see in its own right.

We stayed for three days before the ride to get over jet lag!

The best moments: Everything, it was unbelievable the whole way round, wall to wall sunshine and amazing scenery throughout.

If there was a highlight it was watching the moon rise over Mount Cook from the Panorama Restaurant, amazing.

Also meeting up with four Blackbird owners I knew from the Bird website at home, they all lived on the North Island and came down for a tours themselves, so we met up for lunch at Picton

The scariest moments: Two really, one was where the Railway shared a bridge with the road!

It said ‘Give way to Trains’ as you got onto it!

The second one was going through the Homer Tunnel on the way to Milford Sound. A wet, unlit downhill single track tunnel full of potholes, it was the only time I can ever remember being grateful to follow a car.

The worst moment: Getting caught for speeding on the second day. Only doing 5kph over the limit but I was so gob smacked with the scenery I didn’t notice.

I got an $80 fine, which I forgot to pay when we left NZ, however they sent a nice reminder home this week which was duly paid.

Thanks to: Ian Fitzwater who set this up for us. The accommodation was of unbelievable standard, breakfasts in rooms, wine with the owners before dinner and everyone was so friendly.

Next trip: We always tour the UK for two weeks and this year is no different, however we are definitely going back to NZ to visit some of the places we stopped at for longer and to also see some of the North Island.

We’ve been hooked. IAlthough we thought it would be a one off, we are definitely going again, looking at the photos how couldn’t we.

Cheers Russ Quinlan Aberdeenshire