Exploring New Zealand’s Magnificent Scenery By Motorbike

New Zealand is indisputably an outrageously beautiful country. Regarded as one of the top 20 travel destinations in the world, Aotearoa (as it’s called in Maori) – the land of the long white cloud, is a diverse country with a wide range of tourist attractions to fit anyone’s delight.

From the golden sand and tropical sailing of the northland, to hot pools, geothermal geysers, whale watching, vast natural landscape, and mountain peaks, NZ has a bit of everything and for everyone.

Many Lord Of the Rings fans, frequent Aotearoa for it’s exquisite landscapes and jaw dropping scenery that was used for the films. If you’re interested, use this site to help you navigate through all the amazing film sites while you’re there.

Touring Aotearoa by motorbike is a popular option for many tourists, however there are some things to consider before setting out on your journey.

Where to rent a motorbike

Where you’re going to rent and what kind of motorbike you’re looking for will be some questions you need to ask yourself before you even begin to look. For example, are you looking for a just a day trip outside of a big city? Perhaps a week long tour? Or, are you looking to take the motorbike on a multi month adventure? If the latter, you might want to look into purchasing a motorbike, otherwise consider hiring.

Motorbike rental in NZ is a pretty standard process which requires you showing a driver’s license from your home country to get started. After that, you can legally ride for up to 12 months in the country. As far as who to hire from, just remember to do your research and test drive the motorbike to check for a good fit and the type of speed, power, and safety that you’re looking for.   

Seasons & temperatures:

Aotearoa has extremely diverse weather, and it pays to come prepared. If you’re planning on travelling by motorbike, It’s recommended to travel in summer and early autumn. Winter is cold and the further south you travel, the colder it gets. Weather can also vary dramatically with rain and hail to bright, sunny,  cloudless skies. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of popular destinations complete with typical weather for those areas so you can plan accordingly.

North Island weather: (travelling north to south)

  • Northland and Auckland – As this is as far north you can go in the country, temperatures get to as high as 30 degrees celsius in summer. Humidity is pretty common here too, so bring comfortable light clothing for the day, and warmer clothing for the night.  
  • Hamilton and Tauranga – These areas can be quite sunny and lovely, but still drop down to 10-15 degrees in the winter.
  • Wellington – Known as the windy city, be mindful of the weather here. Snuggled in next to the Cook Strait, Wellington isn’t particularly known for kind weather. High temperatures range in at about 20 degrees celsius, and lows in the winter get down to about 5-10 degrees with intense winds whipping through the city.  

South Island weather:

If you’re traveling down the South Island via motorbike, your best option will be to take one of the strait ferries between the islands. This is a really enjoyable experience on a calm day, and will give you an idea of how lovely the Wellington bay is, and how close the two islands actually are to each other.

  • Nelson – Even though it’s just across the Cook Strait from Wellington, Nelson can have nice weather, with more sun filled days.  
  • Invercargill – located at the bottom of the South Island, Invercargill is just about as windy as Wellington. It typically only heats up to about 15 degrees, which means that you’ll be quite cold if you’re traveling through at any time besides the peak of summer.

Geography and infrastructure:

Aotearoa is a mountainous country. Roads between main cities are well maintained, however less travelled roads can be rugged and neglected, and gravel roads are not uncommon. Besides that, you’ll potentially be experiencing some pretty intense weather through mountain passes, like extreme cold and more tourists to contend with on the roads.

Make sure you take your time on the twisty, windy roads that New Zealand is so famous for. In fact, New Zealand is one of the best places to motorbike through, as long as you do it safely. Here are some of NZ’s top motorbike rides you can take while you visit.

When you’re ready to hit the hay for the night, you’ll have plenty of options as a motorbiker. However, keep in mind that the South Island is a bit more remote, and there are many stretches with no mobile service and no service stations or accommodation, so just try and plan ahead when possible.  

Your options will be pretty standard, including camping, hotels and motels, and hostels. Hotels and motels will be available in towns, and hostels scattered throughout as well. Some areas like down in Milford Sound, for example, can book ahead quite quickly, so definitely plan ahead if you’re looking to stay in the extremely popular areas.  

If you’re looking to camp, you are in some serious luck. New Zealand is a camper’s delight, with campsites scattered throughout Aotearoa. You can even look into Freedom Camping, which is free of charge camping on any public conservation land that isn’t marked otherwise. If you’re carrying a tent on your motorbike, this is an awesome way for you to save some money and spend time in the beautiful outdoors.

Hopefully this has given you a glimpse of what it will be like to motorbike across New Zealand. What it definitely hasn’t told you is the wonders and beauty that you’re about to see, and the amazing people that you’ll meet along the way. New Zealand is a haven for backpackers, travelers, and kind, friendly locals who will help you out almost every time. You’ve chosen an incredibly country to motorbike through, so stay safe, take heaps of pictures, and never forget this amazing trip you’re about to embark on.

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