My Kiwi-land Tour Part I
by Vic Paladini

My Kiwi-land Tour Final Report - Vic Paladini

My Kiwi-land Tour Part IV - Vic Paladini

My Kiwi-land Tour Part III - Vic Paladini

My Kiwi-land Tour Part II - Vic Paladini 

     After listening to many of my motorcycling friends talk about going “Down Under”, meaning flying to New Zealand specifically to motorcycle that great island nation, I decided that 2010 will be my year to experience the wonders of New Zealand.

     Since it’s a long way to travel, in an entirely different hemisphere (remember World Geography in High School?) the Southern Hemisphere’s summer is in the November to May time frame – just the opposite of us here in North America!  Plus, the Kiwis drive on the right side of the road and speak a blend of Kiwi-laced English.  

     I bought some books about New Zealand in general and specifically about touring New Zealand by motorcycle.  Many of my California-based motorcycling buddies have already experienced the “NZ Adventure” so I first consulted them for their motorcycle adventure-touring knowledge about the Kiwi nation.  I also researched both independent and all-inclusive m/c tour operators and I finally went with Ian Fitzwater and his brother John who do business as 

     Ian has a vast knowledge of his homeland, specifically the beautiful southern island of Kiwi-land.  Plus he offers three different versions of motorcycle riding adventures: one is a group tour followed by Ian and John in a chase vehicle (not appealing as a “great adventure” to me), one is a totally independent “just rent a motorcycle from us and bring it back by … {fill in a date}” (that may be an adventure, but the first time in New Zealand I don’t want to miss great roads to ride, places to see, and the lay of the land with the Kiwi’s!) and finally, a Self Guided Tour (my kind of “adventure”). 

     I chose the Self Guided Tour (SGT). Simply put, you just tell Ian when you want to start the tour, how long time-wise you have to ride, what kind of motorcycle you want to ride (he has Harleys, BMW’s, and Japanese makes), and what kind of adventure you expect (i.e., a deluxe 5-star or value-oriented lodging/events).  He figures up a price based on your desires, you wire him some money and your adventure is about to start.

     Personally, I had Ian design me a Self Guided Tour of two weeks of the south island using a mix of 5-star and value-oriented lodging.  That means some nights I slept in beautiful B&B’s that would make any wife/girlfriend/sig-other yell, “I’m NOT leaving!”  Then again, on some nights I lodged in nice hotels, and/or at farm stays in the countryside.  What a great mix of scenery for my first time “down under”!

     Ian produced, specifically for me, a very comprehensive SGT itinerary, with over 90 + pages, outlining every touring day’s route of travel, destination, how to get there, distances involved, and a listing of things to see and do that day.  He even suggested places to eat, the best roads to ride, and the history of what I’m seeing!   How great is that?!  And from my limited experience in NZ he was right on!! 

     Even the practical aspects of touring are covered – like where to fuel-up before you flame out in the sparsely populated areas! Almost as important as the daily riding adventure, every night’s lodging is reserved specifically for me. Remember, January and February is summer time in Kiwi-land so most of the entire nation are on “holiday” (vacation) during the few great months of good weather they have there.  That means that without nightly lodging reservations I would have to end up using the famous “Iron Butt Motel” (sleeping on a hard picnic bench in some city park!). That’s not my style of lodging … anymore   ;-)

     So, I’m down in New Zealand for a month to explore both islands of this island nation. I’ll send photos and some details of my trip in the next SEAT newsletter.

     TTFN (ta ta for now)

[Ed Notes:  Vic is up to Part III.  Lots more good stuff to come.  Check for more pictures.]

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