This entry is part 4 of 26 in the series AusMotorcyclist Issue#26


“You’re bloody mad!” he said.

“You’re lucky to be here now, bro! Wow, you must really be crazy or something!”

I replied, cool as (see I even learned to talk New Zealand, bro), “It was a bit of fun, mate”. I walked back to my bike with him still standing there in amazement with a stunned look on his snaggletoothed face, shaking his head.

But that was later on our ‘Hiamo’ tour, in Invercargill. That means “exciting” in Maori, and it describes the entire tour really well…

We teamed up with the top class people at Paradise Motorcycle Tours NZ, for our fi rst fully fl edged AMM tour. You will have read a number of pieces over the past few months, promoting the nine day tour of the South Island in New Zealand and promising the trip of a lifetime. Well, that is exactly what every single participant got, including me and the tour guides who were amazed at just how succesful this tour turned out to be.

Did you miss out? Watch this space; we have something in the pipeline for 2016. But I will warn you now; you had better be quick – it will sell out fast. Many of the participants on this trip expressed the desire to do it all again next time, that is how well Paradise Motorcycle Tours NZ knows its business.

Both of our guides Trevor and Andre are passionate about motorcycle touring and extremely knowledgeable about the areas you’ll ride. I am also very impressed with the general professionalism the pair of them displayed. Back at the office, the participants told me, Mike and Alison (whom I didn’t get to meet this time round) did all they could to plan, help and advise about anything and everything.

I will admit I am a guided tour virgin.

Sure, The Bear has been on lots of them over the years while I’ve been stuck in the office getting the magazine out each month [aww Stuey…], but I managed to make time to come on this one, mainly because I was super keen on it. I just love the South Island and when Paradise put the route together I was not only excited to see a number of the places I’d visited on previous trips, but even more inspired by the many places that I haven’t seen.

For those of you who have never been on an organised tour, you may well be worrying about the way these things work on the day – or days. You might be anxious about the way you ride, or the way you’ll fit in or simply whether you will even enjoy riding with a group of strangers. All these things might be running through your head, but fear not. Just think of it as a ride with a group of mates (or, in this case, bros), because all of the participants certainly became mates over the nine days of our Hiamo tour.

Okay, so this was a South Island tour, and being “summer” in NZ, I packed a little on the summery side.

I must have had a premonition, because I also packed for cold weather. Just how cold, I was not to know until part way through the trip, but more of that later.

Here is some advice, anyway. I recommend packing a couple of pairs of gloves, maybe even three to cover hot, cold and in between temperatures. Pack a riding suit that has a removable winter liner and is cool enough for hotter temps. Rain gear, if your suit is not waterproof, and a pair of waterproof boots. This will take up a lot of your allocated luggage weight on the plane, but a number of us flew Emirates, which has a 30kg limit – more than enough, I found. Of course, don’t forget your helmet and clothes to wear while off the bike. If you happen to forget something, so long as you fl y into Christchurch early enough you’ll have plenty of time to source anything you’ve forgotten at one of the shops in town. And yes, there are plenty of shops despite the earthquake damage, which is still being repaired.

Lindis Pass.

I flew into Christchurch and contacted that night’s motel via the courtesy phones in the airport to come pick me up. All a very easy process.

After settling into my room at the Commodore Motel (free Wi-Fi – always a welcome service) I received a call from Trevor, one of the tour guides at Paradise, giving me details of our welcome dinner in one of the motel’s convention rooms. We all had a very pleasant dinner together and got to know each other a little. We were also given a briefing by the Paradise team about how the tour would run and exactly where we’d be going.

It doesn’t really show it, but those waves out to sea are over a metre high!


A short 270km on the first day to get everyone settled into the groove of riding an unfamiliar bike, riding in a group and how things generally run throughout the day.

Sixteen bikes and 19 participants all up make our Hiamo tour one of the biggest groups touring the South Island. A variety of bikes were available and I ended up on a near new BMW F 800 GS, which made for an easy journey throughout the nine days. The thermometer hit just over 30 degrees, but then as we got to Fairlie, the rain hit. Only “fairlie” hard… Not heavy at all, actually, but enough to wipe out the amazing views that had just started to come into focus – that’s the luck of the draw.

You can’t stop what Mother Nature has planned, as I found out – she had something planned for me later in the trip! At this stage I had planned an afternoon run with some of the team out to Mt Cook (a 200km or so round trip), but the rain hit that idea for six, clouding over this wonderful view. But as expected, late in the afternoon the rain stopped, the sun came out and the bright sunlight reflecting off the surrounding mountains and the ever changing blue/turquoise Lake Tekapo were a genuine pleasure to enjoy – beer in hand with good company.


A long day for many. But in the scheme of things, 420km is easily done with plenty of time to see some sights and enjoy a nice pace while also seeing the amazing scenery we passed throughout the day on the bike.

Heading through Lindis Pass gave everyone a chance to enjoy some nice flowing twisties, and this road brings you to the viewing area for Mt Cook, not much further along. Unfortunately it was mainly covered by cloud, but they came and went, so we managed to get some glimpses of this amazing high mountain, covered in snow.

Further down the road we had lunch at Cromwell.

This is as far south on the east coast as I’d been, so travelling down to our final destination for this day, to Dunedin, was especially interesting for me. Great masses of rocky mountains surround the river that the road follows. It is hard to keep your eyes on the road at times, because the scenery is so stunning. And when you think that this is just the start of the trip!


420km today was a day of caution and safety for the group. Weather predictions were diabolical with 90mm of rain and 130km/h winds expected to lash the southern coastline – especially the area of Invercargill, and I so wanted to go there to see Burt Munro’s Indian.

We took off from Dunedin with light rain falling, which turned to medium rain. Once we got to Balclutha the sun had come out, but the wind had just started to get strong. This is where I split from the group to ride the Southern Scenic Route (SSR), while the rest of the group took the safer route inland.

Church of the Good Shepard – Lake Tekapo.

The wind I experienced was intense (to put it mildly) the entire 160km to Invercargill. The next 160km to Te Anau was also quite strong but nowhere near as bad as I experienced along the SSR. I got to Florence Hill Lookout and I could have jumped up in the air and landed two metres away, flying as if I was Superman. People were scared to get out of their cars and one bloke wound his window down to tell me I was crazy being on a bike in such weather – whatever, bro!

Such was the ferocity of the wind that I could have got my knee down while riding in a straight line at one point – something out of this world! I saw a sign, “Edge of the World” and this is exactly what this part of NZ is.

Not long before Stuart got smashed with hail.

I thought the West Coast of Tassie was wild; the Southern Scenic Route on this particular day was like a pissed off Mother Nature coming out of the ocean and ready to eat me whole for defying what she was lashing this part of the world with – the edge of the world, all right!

So, the wind was really bad, well what about the rain! I rode straight into two of the biggest storms I think I’ve been in. The tops of my legs bore the brunt of the light hail that Mother Nature threw at me; as a result, I got quite a bit of bruising. It is something I will never forget!

When I got into Invercargill, I pulled into a service station to fill up, and that rather “colourful” character with teeth pointing in more directions than I ever thought was possible said to me that it was not a good day to be on a bike. This is where you came in, above; I walked back to my bike with him still standing there with a stunned look of amazement on his face, shaking his head.

Fly like a bird.

My new mate had given me directions to the Burt Munro statue in Queens Park and to the E Hayes hardware store to see Burt Munro’s “World’s Fastest Indian”. While in Invercargill, you must visit both of these sights. The store is a functioning everyday hardware store with many rare and fine cars and motorcycles on display, along with the main attraction, the Burt Munro pieces.

A wall of Bert’s old handmade pistons; fairings used throughout the time he raced and all sorts of memorabilia from his life are there for you to enjoy. I even got the chance to get inside… um, let me rephrase that – force myself into one of Burt’s Fastest Indian body shells, complete with original front wheel and handlebars.

No, Stuart, you are not going to fit, no matter how hard you try.

While looking around at Hayes I got a message from Andre, one of the tour guides, that he was bringing a few of the group down to the shop from the town of Gore and to wait for them. Once they arrived, they too got to see the amazing displays. Then we rode back north, out towards Winton, Manpuori and up to Te Anau.

What a day and what a trip so far! But do you think old Mother Nature had finished with us yet? No, she had something special just around the corner. See the next issue of AMM for part two of this amazing AMM Hiamo Paradise Motorcycle Tours NZ tour.

Want to experience some more of this? Visit ; trust me, you will love it!

Series Navigation<< LAUNCHThe BEST of the WEST with AMM Editor Peter “The BEAR” Thoeming Guided USA Tour • 15 – 30 August, 2015 >>
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Australian Motorcyclist Magazine is Australia's leading motorcycle travel magazine.

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