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Old 1 Oct 2005
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Moving to NZ

Hi Guys,

I'm moving to Christchurch from the uk in Jan '06. Just wondered if someone could help me out with some nice Dual Sport type routes on the South Island. I'm not into anything massively extreme but just love being off road with a bit of a challenge every now and then. I prefer more than one day trips.

I used to live in Africa where I had all the off road I could ever need, been trapped in UK for a few years mostly on tarmac and dying to get off road again.

Also, any good bike shops in Christchurch?


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Old 2 Oct 2005
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Gidday Steve, and welcome to NZ.

I've been riding out of Dunedin for a few years now, but I used to drive out from Christchurch in a Landrover. Pretty much anywhere along the Alps there are tracks to be found, a good starting place might be getting a book like this:
That would give you details on a fair few.

Just out from Chch there are some good rides around Bank's Penninsula, mostly gravel and tarmac but there's plenty of corners. Also, for a quick burn in some mud, there are short tracks on the Waimakariri river banks, both sides.

About an hour out from Chch is Arther's Pass, which has some d/s opportunities. It's possible to ride most of the way up the Poulter River, and the gravel road from Lake Lyndon to Lake Coleridge is worth a look. There are also some tracks around the back of Mt Oxford that are closer to Chch.

For a weekend, Lake Sumner would be a good ride. It's inland from the town of Waikari, on highway 7. There is a fair bit of gravel into Lake Sheppard, but from there it's a 4WD track.

And further afield, the ride up to the Macauly Hut from Lake Tekapo is worth it. There's also a huge amount of d/s riding down here in Otago, if you ever get sick of Canterbury.

If you're more into trailriding, most rural schools organise trailrides. There's normally about one a month somewhere. These involve a lot of riders and are normally a good mix of gravel, dirt tracks and farmland. I'm sure the local bike shops would tell you about those.

Hope that's of some use to you.
My upcoming trip to Aussie
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Old 2 Oct 2005
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Thanks very much for that. Are the tracks in the Alps on private land? or is it national park? I guess what I'm trying to get at is it legal? In the UK apart from the lack of tracks most are on private land and people here are very against anyone being on their land.


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Old 3 Oct 2005
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All the tracks I've mentioned above are legal. Most are 4wd access tracks or tracks up river beds. You can't ride a bike freely in the National Parks but access to the more remote sections are via 4wd tracks, perfect for bikes. It's normal to have a lead-in track of 2-5 hours riding through the park before you get into terrain where bikes aren't permitted. Most times you'd have to have a trials bike to ride any further anyway.

There are some trails in state and commercial forests that require motorcycle permits before you enter. These are normally shorter, more technical tracks through tight pines and mud. Permits are about $2-4.
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Old 4 Oct 2005
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Gidday Steve,
Having just returned to NZ after 8 years living in the UK I think it will be fair to say you will be blown away by the off-road opportunities open to you in NZ. Plenty of small gravel roads leading to the back of beyond and plenty of opportunities for something a bit more challanging. You will not be disappointed.

280,000 kms on a TDM850 - ridden 2 up UK-NZ. Now abusing a Cagiva Elefant
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Old 7 Apr 2006
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I was in the national park the other day..you can't even bring your dog and even less your horse so the bike is definately a problem !
There should be tracks somewhere, I live to close to the city so I havn't had the opportunity to go see them yet.


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Old 4 May 2006
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Hi there

There is a good adventure tour coming up in Jan 07 if you are interested?

I have copied the info for anyone interested.
Email the organisers if you are keen.

Top of the South Island Back Roads- Adventure Ride
January 13th - 15th January 17th -19th
AFS Student Fundraising trip to Norway in 2007
Fully Guided - Numbers are very limited so be in fast
3 days of exhilarating adventure riding in the South Island with amazing mountain scenery, winding rivers, native forests and alpine lakes

You will start in the beautiful Vineyards near Blenheim, its then through the famous Molesworth Station before arriving at Hanmer Springs.

Back onto the saddle for another day of amazing scenery this time though travelling on some rough gravel roads through to Lake Tennyson, over Island Pass and through Devils Gate before we enter into Rainbow Station. A comfort stop at Tophouse Tearooms, a fantastic place with a horror story to match. Then its off to our next stopover, Murchison.

The final and longest day, through the Mataki Valley and numerous River crossings, before linking up to cross the main divide and into Reefton, then its onto Waipuna and a very special surprise will wait here. Lake Brunner and then Greymouth for the final dinner and farewells.

You will be put into teams of 2 riders, you will have challenges along the way, the team with the best score at the end of the tour wins takes the trophy
This is not a race, but a very social experience with like minded people.
So only those that want to have fun need enter.

There will be a 4wd support vehicle with us.
They will carry all additional equipment you cannot carry (camping equipment etc) and will also carry emergency fuel, first aid kits and communications with the tour leader.

Extra fuel must be carried on the bikes
Alcohol to be consumed during the Tour

Bikes must have
Warrant of fitness
Insurance (Minimum of third party)
Be worthy for 3 days of good trail riding (this includes tyres)
Personal First Aid kit
Have enough fuel to travel at least 230km

Riders Must have
Good Riding Boots
Waterproof riding gear
Have Current NZ Drivers licence (Learners Ok, but must comply with licence restrictions)
Be confident Road riders
Be confident Gravel Riders

Tour Guides
Land Access fees
Final Night Meal

Not included
** Note this ride is catered for beginners as well as experienced riders
This is a fundraising event and not a commercial operation, Experienced South Island tour operators will lead you.
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