Planning your West Coast Itinerary

Initially I thought I would write a post called something like ‘The Ultimate 1 week West Coast Itinerary’. Certainly I have come across many similarly titled blogs. But the more I thought about it the more I realised that the components that make it the ‘ultimate Itinerary’ for me, won’t necessarily be the ultimate for you.


I was in Italy 2 years ago and while I liked Italy, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I would. This has nothing to do with Italy, it’s an incredible place, but more to do with the activities I planned. We did all the art galleries and historical sites, you know, all the things that you do when you go to Italy, but the truth is, art galleries are not really my thing (although seeing the statue of David was quite an experience). I like a bit of history, but I’m not a history buff.

Then we got to Slovenia and we fell in love. The crystal clear waters, snow capped mountains, rolling hills. That’s my thing. If we had spent our time in Italy in the Lake District and Dolomites Mountains, I am almost certain that I would have also fallen in love with Italy.

So I wanted to share our West Coast itinerary with you, but also leave you this piece of advice, this is by no means the only things you should see and do, pick and choose from it, the parts that get you excited and give you wonderlust. Craft your own epic adventure.

Overview

Here is the route we took.

  • Day 1: Wellington to Picton by ferry, then onto Punakaiki via Nelson
  • Day 2: Short day trip up to Charlestown with a side trip to Westport
  • Day 3: Punakaiki to Frans Josef
  • Day 4: Day in Franz Josef
  • Day 5: Franz Josef to Hokitika via Okarito
  • Day 6: Day in Hokitika
  • Day 7: Hokitika to Mt Lyford via Lewis Pass
  • Day 8: Mt Lyford Lodge to Wellington via Kaikoura and Picton

Wellington to Punakaiki

Ferry Crossing: The first part of our journey involved crossing the Cook Straight. As we had a vehicle (our motorbike) we had 2 options, Bluebridge or The Interislander. If you are a foot passenger, Bluebridge may be a better option for you as it is located across the road from the train station so is really convenient. I have also found that Bluebridge tends to be a little cheaper. The reason we have used The Interlslander the last couple of times is because of the Plus Lounge, a fully catered, adults only lounge with guaranteed seating. It’s a really relaxing way to start or end your journey and your meal, drinks (and snacks) are taken care of.

The Route: We didn’t take the most direct route to Punakaiki. Being on the motorbike we always look for the scenic coastal routes and twisty roads, trying to stay of big main highways. I would highly recommend Queen Charlotte’s Drive that starts in Picton, taking you around some gorgeous coastline with stunning views, taking you all the way to Havlock.

Food: We carried on to Nelson and stopped for a bite to eat at Burger Culture. Simply scrumptious food. If you’re in the mood for a sugar overload, they have a delicious selection of donuts. And milkshakes, topped with donuts!

Accommodation: We stayed at Te Niaku Lodge which was gorgeous. Our lodge was nestled into the forest, our windows looked out across the canopy. You feel like your in a tree house here. There is also easy access down to the beach where you can watch the setting sun.

Link: Check out this post I wrote, ‘Heading for the West Coast’

Tip: Check your map for directions. We didn’t, we just assumed we were on the right track and ended up taking a rather large detour that added on a fair amount of time.

Charlestown & Westport

The Route: After a long riding day the day before, I had scheduled in a late start. I spent the morning down on the beach, breathing in the fresh ocean air before we made our way to Charlestown for our activity. It’s only a 30 minute drive but the road is sensational. We pretty much had it to ourselves, twisting and turning along the coast enjoying the incredible views. After our activity, we headed another 20 minutes north to Westport to get some petrol before enjoying the great drive back.

Activities: We headed to Charleston for a caving, tubing and glow worm experience with Underworld Adventures. This was a 4 hour tour that was super fun. Caving is such a unique experience and this cave was particularly special, being very much in it’s natural state (no built walkways, hand rails, lighting etc) It also has the most incredible glow worm colony I have ever seen. Honestly, words can’t do it justice, it was out of this world mesmerising!

Food: We loved The Punakaiki Tavern, we had breakfast and lunch there. The hosts were really friendly. The food is what I would describe as simple, hearty, home cooked meals and the outside garden is the perfect place to enjoy the last bit of warmth from the sun before it says goodnight. In Westport we popped into Jimmy’s Restaurant and Bar expecting to grab a quick bite to eat but ended up staying for a couple of hours chatting to a local over some good food and drinks.

Link: Check out my previous post ‘Caving in Charlestown’

Tip: Be sure to keep an eye on your petrol. There’s a station in Westport and Greymouth but nothing in between. They are an hour and a half apart. If you aren’t careful, you might find yourself out of gas!

Punakaiki to Franz Josef

The Route: We headed from Punakaiki to Franz Josef, initially along the stunning coast and then through some beautiful rainforst. We made stops in Punakaiki and Hokitika for some activities.

Activities: We didn’t have any planned activities for the day as it was a riding day, but it was a leisurely ride so we were able to make some spontaneous stops along the way. The first being a walk at Pancake Rocks. The rock formations are quite unique as well as the blow holes. We also stopped at Hokitika Tree Top Walk and experienced the forest from birds eye view. In Franz Josef I also managed a short walk along Terrace Walk track which is through some lush, green glacier rainforest.

Food: We had a rather nice dinner at Monsoon Restaurant & Bar located on site at our accommodation. The buffalo cauliflower was delicious and even my carnivorous husband loved these.

Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat in Franz Josef has been on my bucket list for a long time so I was really pleased to finally stay here. They have a range of accommodation options to suit every budget. They are in some beautiful grounds – lush rainforest, and centrally located. We also were given a room upgrade when we arrived which was a lovely surprise.

Tip: The blow holes at Pancake Rocks is tidal. If you can time your trip with high tide you will see it in it’s most impressive form. But, even if you can only visit at low tide it would still be worth checking out. At the time of writing, Hokitika Tree Top Walk is on Book Me, so if this is something you are able to book in advance then you should be able to get it at a discounted rate.

Link: You can read more details in this blog ‘Franz Josef Bound’

Franz Josef

Activities: It was a last minute booking through Book Me but we were able to spend the afternoon quad biking through some rainforest, sand dunes and across rivers. It’s a great wet day activity. We did this through Across Country Tour.

Food: The power was out for a while so we weren’t sure if we would be able to get brunch anywhere, fortunately SnakeBite was well prepared. They have a really cool atmosphere, mouth watering counter food and an extensive menu. A great place to sit and watch the world go by when it is pouring with rain (or the power has gone out)

Tips: Even if you are traveling in Summer, go prepared for rain. The West Coast is a very wet place (but it makes the rainforest smell incredible) If your looking for a deal in Franz Josef, be sure to check out Book Me. Or you could even just go for a stroll along the main street, I saw a lot of different deals being offered.

Link: Check out ‘Quad Biking in Franz Josef’

Okarito and Hokitika

The Route: We started heading back up the island, again through the spectacular forest and later along the coast, heading for Hokitika. It’s simply stunning

Activities: Okarito Kayak has been on my bucket list for a long time so I made sure to plan in this little detour. It did not disappoint. The lagoon was mirror like, reflecting the glacier forest and mountains. It is also the breeding site of the Kotuku (White Heron) It was a privilege to get so close to these majestic birds. In Hokitika, take some time to have a wander around the town, check out the beach and take a look at the Hokitika Driftwood sign down on the beach.

Food: We were rather famished after our 3 hour kayak trip so we made a stop in Harihari, a small, rural settlement. We had lunch at the Pukeko Store and Cafe. Filled with some deliciously tempting home baking, pies and friendly service, this was a delightful little stop.

Accommodation: In Hokitika we ended up staying at Mountain Jade Backpackers. I couldn’t find any accommodation that wowed me, at a price I was happy to pay, so we went budget and central. It was a great location, clean tidy facilities and perfect for our requirements.

Tips: Take insect repellent if you go to Okarito Lagoon. They will attack you in thousands!

Link: Kayaking with Herons

Hokitika

Activities: Of course you could buy your own greenstone souvenir, but why buy a pre made one when you can carve it yourself. At Bonz ‘n’ Stonz you create your own piece to take home. Everything you need it provided and there are excellent tutors on hand to help you every step of the way. This was a most excellent day.

Food: If your a pizza lover like me, head to Fat Pipi Pizza. Fresh, simple ingredients, delicious food and a lovely outdoor courtyard. Also try Sweet Alice’s Fudge Kitchen if you are craving a sugar hit.

Tips: Make sure you allow time to sit and watch the sunset. Hokitika is famous for its gorgeous sunsets. Even on an overcast day like we had, it was still a beautiful sight.

Link: Read more about my greenstone carving experience here.

Lewis Pass & Mt Lyford

The Route: This is where we left the West Coast. We could have gone back up country through the West Coast but it would have been a lot of back tracking. Instead we headed over to Canterbury to My Lyford, via Lewis Pass. Its a pretty well known route and a nice bit of road.

Activities: Check out Hokitika Gorge before you leave. You will be wowed by the incredible colours of the water. Its an easy walk too, suitable for all fitness levels.

Accommodation: We splashed out a bit here and stayed at Mt Lyford Lodge. Nestled into the mountains with a couple of spa pools, it was the perfect place to soak away the aches of being on a motorbike for a week, while breathing in the fresh air, watching the sun slip behind the hills and enjoying a drink or 2 at the bar.

Tip: Just be alert on Lewis Pass. It’s a popular road with tourists (along with many other South Island roads.) We drive on the left hand side. There are instances where tourists will get confused and drive on the wrong side. Or sometimes just stop on a blind corner to take photos of the beautiful scenery. A lot of our highways are not like highways you may be familiar with. Narrow, single lane and twisty. Make sure you allow a lots of time.

Link: Turquoise Water, Swing Bridges and Pool.

Kaikoura

The Route: First you will do the inland route to Kaikoura. If your on a bike, just watch out for gravel, there was quite a bit on the road when we did this ride as well as a year ago when we were down that way. From Kaikoura to Picton you get to enjoy more coastal road, this time along the East Coast. Keep an eye out for seals which you can easily spot from the road while driving (Only do this if your a passenger! Eyes on the road driver.) You will see them on the rocks or frolicking about in the ocean.

Activities: If you are in Kaikoura and an animal lover, Kaikoura Seal Swim is outstanding. Don’t go near seals on land, they can be very aggressive. But in the water, just wow. I have heard them be described as dogs of the ocean and they really are. They are playful, curious and so much fun to watch. This experience was a real highlight.

Link: Want to know more about swimming with seals? Read my previous post here.

A few other things

There were a few activities we didn’t get to do on this trip for various reasons, but I want to still mention them here as I think they would be activities that are well worth while.

  • The Wild Kiwi Center in Franz Josef. We ran out of time for this one. Here you will be able to see Rowi, the worlds rarest kiwi, and tuatara, often described as the oldest living dinosaur.
  • Lake Matheson – a glacial mirror lake that is picture perfect. But you want to see it on a nice day to get the full impact of the lake. I have tried to get here twice now. Hopefully it will be third time lucky.
  • In Franz Josef we were booked in for a glacier nature tour with Glacier Valley Eco Tours. This was unfortunately cancelled due to the weather. We were prepared to get wet, but DOC had closed the walking track. We were in the West Coast back in 2012 and were able to do a tour of Fox glacier. It was such a unique experience and I am definitely keen to do something like this again. The difference being that now, if you want to walk on the glacier, you need to do it by helicopter, you can no longer walk in. The tours with Glacier Valley Eco Tours don’t go on the ice but do offer views of the glacier, along with expert knowledge of the area.
  • I was hoping to book in a nighttime kiwi spotting tour with Okarito Kiwi Tours. We unfortunately missed out as they closed up from 2nd Feb, but they reopen again in October so make sure you check them out.
  • At the top of the West Coast is a place called Karamea, home to the Oparara Basin Arches. These natural limestone arches were formed by the Oparara river and sound really impressive. The main reason this one didn’t make it onto our itinerary is because access is down 13km of gravel road. Gravel road is not fun when your on a sports bike.

So there you have it. Some suggestions on how to spend your week on the West Coast. I am sure that you will, like me, fall in love with this part of the country. The people, the forests, glaciers, wildlife, it feels pure and untouched. The glacial rainforest had me captivated. They made me swoon. The vibrant colours, the ancient feel from moss covered trees, it’s unlike any other forest I have experienced before. I couldn’t get enough of it.

Planning a West Coast itinerary? What parts will you be including in your epic adventure?

Swimming with Seals

It’s the final day of our trip. Tonight we will be sleeping in our own bed again with our 2 dogs snuggled up next to us in the blankets. But it’s not over yet! We have one more activity planned that I am feeling incredibly excited about (and slightly nervous)

We pack up the bike one last time and take the inland route, heading to Kaikoura. We arrive a couple of hours early so we pass the time with coffee, lunch and a walk on the beach.

And then, it’s time for our seal swim! Last year we did a dolphin swim but unfortunately we only saw Hectors Dolphins (which was amazing) but they are protected and you’re not allowed to swim with them. That’s just how it is with wild animal encounters though. It’s never guaranteed, but when it does happen, it’s pretty special.

When I told Daniel I had booked us in to go swimming with seals, he wasn’t impressed. He said, ‘aren’t they super aggressive and don’t they bite? And I don’t want to get wet and cold. I’m not looking forward to this.’

I have grown up knowing that seals can be pretty aggressive and that you should never approach them. But that is on land. On land they pretty immobile, I have always thought they look pretty awkward. Their immobility on land makes them very vulnerable, which is why they can be so aggressive, especially if you get between them and the water.

But in the sea, you are in their world. They are fast and agile and not at all aggressive toward people (so we are told.) They could out swim us in a second if they wanted to so we are no threat.

Today we are joining Seal Swim Kaikoura for this experience. Like most of our tours on this trip, we are the only people. We have definitely witnessed the impact Covid has had on our tourism industry. I hope the industry can re-emerge stronger and even better when our boarders eventually open. New Zealand has so much to offer the world!

We have our safety briefing and get kitted up in all the gear, including a wet suit hood in thick neopreme. It’s all so snug and hard to get on but no doubt will keep us really warm. (Daniel will be pleased) We are also given a mask, snorkel and flippers. They even had prescription masks for Daniel to use which was amazing. I had never really considered his limited visibility without his glasses.

We waddle in all our gear out to the van and take a short drive down to the jetty while Vanessa shares some history of the New Zealand fur seals with us. These seals have very thick, warm fur, which means when settlers arrived, they were heavily hunted. Before being hunted, there were said to be around 1-2 million, but nearly became extinct. Fortunately they became protected in the mid 1900’s and today, the NZ population is around 100-300k. I had no idea they had been hunted so fiercely. I have seen seals in many place in Aotearoa and had never considered them an animal that had been endangered.

We get onto the boat and head out into the ocean. There is a bit of a swell and the boat bumps up and down a bit on the waves. I am the first to spot seals. Two of them. We watch them for a while to see if they are feeding or chilling. They look pretty relaxed, fins flapping about, rolling around in the water. But they are in open water so we move on. Our guide wants to try some other spots to see if we can find some that are closer to the rocks.

Seals spend a lot of their time out in deep water, fishing and feeding. They will stay out there for ages until they are completely exhausted, then they come back to the rocks to rest. Because of their thick fur, they overheat easily so will pop back in and out of the water to cool off on sunny days. Today is cool and overcast so the seals are hanging out on the rocks more than they normally would. We are told we need patience and persistence on this tour.

After visiting a few spots, we find an area that is reasonably sheltered with good visibility in the water, seals on the rocks and one in the water. Perfect. We slip into the water quickly and as quietly as we can, although in all that neoprene I still make a bit of a splash.

We swim out slowly towards the seal, I put my head under, and, AMAZING!

I am looking right at this seal in front of me. What an incredible experience. Another seal gets into the water, then another and at one point there are 4 in the water with us. We spend a lot of time watching each other, checking each other out, the seals getting comfortable with our presence. Then they begin getting curious and swim closer and closer (We are told not to swim closer than 1 meter to them, but if they swim up to you that’s fine) I have the most amazing experience, looking at a seal that is so close and we just hang out in the water, staring at each other for ages. It has such big beautiful eyes and its fur is so sleek. They are such graceful, playful, agile creatures underwater. Nothing like the awkward blobs that sit on land. The ocean is their territory and the own it!

Our guide is floating close by, watching and telling us where to look. A couple of times he calls out, ‘to your left’. I turn my head and there is a seal right there, so incredibly close. A couple of times they swim right under me. I do get slightly nervous at one stage, hoping the don’t decide to have a little nibble on me (after all, they are wild animals), but they are just curious. We spend ages in the water with them, it’s such an unreal experience.

After about an hour in the water, it’s time to head back. I have loved every minute of this, witnessing these beautiful creatures in their natural environment. I awkwardly climb back onto the boat, thinking about what a special experience this has been and then look up to see a pod of dolphins in the distance. What a fantastic trip!

And Daniel, he absolutely loved it.

We make it to Picton and board our ferry. We are in the Plus Lounge again. Now we have discovered it, it’s the only way to travel! We are on an evening ferry so I decide to pop out for a bit and watch the sunset. Even in the open water of the Cook Straight, the water is so flat. I have never seen it like this before, it’s a perfect crossing.

The South Island is a layer of silhouettes. The setting sun has blushed the sky pink with golden highlights that spill out into yellow and indigo water colours behind a dark marbled sky.

What an extraordinary sunset to end an extraordinary trip. Surely I live in the most beautiful place on earth.

A sunrise, 2 seals & vintage aircrafts

I am up early for the sunrise, but it is not a sunrise sort of day; grey and drizzly. There is so much fogg that the Kaikoura ranges I could see yesterday from the beach are completely hidden.

I am the only one on the beach, the town is not awake yet so I am left with the sound of the waves rolling back and forth across the stony sea bed. The birds are also quite lively at this hour of the morning.

10 more minutes and the sun should start appearing above the horizon. Some pink hues appear in the distance, this could be promising, but as quickly as they appeared, they disappeared again.

No beautiful sunrise for me this morning.

Another time.

My next stop is to the seal colony. It takes me about an hour to walk there. It’s an easy walk along the waterfront. I arrive, ready to spot some seals, but it’s actually a bit disappointing. I manage to find two, but they are both sleeping, so I decide to take a short walk up the hill to the lookout point which has some pretty sweet views.


I head back to the backpackers, we pack up the motorbike and continue our journey north heading to Picton. The ocean is sage green and the day is very grey, such a contract to what we rode through only 1 week ago. 

Again, from the motorbike I am able to spot seals playing in the waves and sleeping on the rocks.

I actually see way more than I did at the seal colony.

We stop in Blenheim for lunch and then make a trip to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. We visit both exhibits, Peter Jacksons, ‘Knights of the Sky’ a WW1 exhibition and ‘Dangerous Skies’ WW2 exhibition.

The displays are incredible.

Huge, realistic and dramatic. Also very informative.

The collection includes some original aircrafts, such as a Caproni, and replicas recreating very realistic scenes.

There are even some artefacts that once belonged to Baron von Richthofen, also known as The Red Baron.

There is some sort of aviation event happening just outside the hanger while we are here, which means we are viewing the displays with the sound of old aeroplanes flying overhead.

It really adds to the atmosphere.

I found the very early models fascinating. They seemed to be made of nothing more than wood and canvas – so fragile and vulnerable.

Another fascinating but awful fact I learnt was that pilots in the Royal Flying Corps during WW1 were not supplied with parachutes, even though they had been invented by this time. Aside from the cockpit being quite small and not a lot of room for a parachute, it was thought that supplying parachutes would encourage pilots to abandon the plane at the first sign of trouble, rather than stay and fight and try and save a valuable plane.

I can’t even begin to imagine what this would have been like.

This is an excellent exhibition and I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though I am not really that interested in aviation. I highly recommend it.

There is also a vintage car exhibition at the same site. We didn’t have time for this, will have to check it out next time.

And for those who are vintage aviation enthusiasts, you can enjoy the views of Marlborough from the air in a Boeing Stearman.

We arrive safely in Picton but pretty dirty. There are still lots of road works happening around Kaikoura. Combined with rain, it made for a pretty muddy trip.

Our old fire blade will definitely need some TLC when we get home.

Motorbiking, the best way to travel

Today is a traveling day. No plans other than get from Geraldine to Kaikoura where we are staying for a night.

It is another windless, sunny day. Daniel chooses the route we will be taking – state highway 72, the inland scenic route through the Canterbury plains. Just out of Geraldine, Mr. ‘never gets lost’ takes a wrong turn. He realises pretty quickly though and we are back on track in no time.

I’m not complaining, it’s a rather pretty wrong turn.

Heading north, we pass golden pastures (aka, hasn’t been any rain in a while and everything is so dry) framed by mighty mountains in the distance. We pass over Rakaia gorge and stop to take some photos (and awkwardly try to ignore the 2 women having a very loud argument in the car park) There is also a walkway at Rakaia Gorge, that according to Google, is an easy 2 hours walk which you might like to check out.

The rivers and lakes in the south Island are so mesmerising. The colours are incredible and I am speechless every time I see them. The photos don’t really do them justice.  I don’t recall seeing rivers this vibrant in the North Island. (Might need to do a bit more exploring)

Carrying on, we pass lots of small country towns, some so small you would miss them if you blink. We make a stop in a place called Oxford for some lunch. I had a rather delicious tomato and herb soup.

I think motor biking has got to be one of the best ways to travel and explore a place. You have the convenience of a vehicle, but are far more engaged with the environment around you than you are in a car. You experience the elements; the sun, the wind the rain. You can smell the forests and feel the warmth of the sun in the air coming in through your helmet. I feel far more connected to my surroundings on a motorbike than I do in a car.

Arriving in Kaikoura we check into our backpackers and have a bit of a rest before heading down to the beach.

It’s quite a wild beach.

Stony and rugged it has an untouched beauty about it.

As I mentioned in a previous post, Kaikoura is famous for its marine life. Tourists flock here to go whale watching, swim with dolphins and seals. We have chosen not to do that this time.

On our South Island trip back in 2012 I really wanted to do the whale watch. We had an early evening ferry to catch so we didn’t have time for the boat trip and instead choose to do the Wings over Whales flight, a short 30 minute flight with amazing views over Kaikoura. Unfortunately we didn’t see any whales on this trip (still and awesome experience though) and have since learnt that the best time to see a variety of whale species in Kaikoura is during winter months when they are migrating up to the warmer waters of the pacific.

We are staying only a couple of minutes’ walk from the beach so I decide that tomorrow, I will get up early to watch the sun rise. I am not sure I have ever watched the sun rise before. (We tried to at Lake Bled in Sloveina, but that was a bit of a fail)

The Ride to Christchurch

Today we are heading south to Christchurch. Our focus for this trip is to spend most of our time in Central Otago and South Canterbury, visiting family. Picton to Alexandra (Central Otago) is a long ride, almost 10 hours and while we could do it in one day, we decided to break up the trip with an overnight stop half way, allowing 6 days with family.

I choose where our overnight stays will be and book accommodation but I always leave it Daniel to decide the routes we will take. Each morning I tell him what city or town we will be staying in that evening (he has no interest in the details prior, unnecessary information he calls it.) He will then take a quick look at Google maps and decide how he wants to get from A to B. Most of the time, he is looking for the back roads; the twistier the better. 

Lucky I don’t really get motion sickness.

For the first part of the ride we are heading towards Kaikoura, through Marlborough and towards the coast. It is almost a cloudless day, perfect for a ride. Heading through Marlborough region we pass a lot of vineyards. Marlborough is known as a wine region and it reminds me a lot of the Wairarapa, another well know wine region. There are hardly any cars on the road making it a really nice ride. As we approach the coast the landscape changes. We move away from grape vines and flat plains to rugged rocks, flax and tussocks.

And then we see the ocean.

Beautiful turquoise water in one bay and then in the next, stunning aquamarine water.

Even from the motorbike, I can spot seals out enjoying the surf and sunning themselves on the rocks. Kaikoura is known for its marine life.

Whales, dolphins and seals oh my.

Along the coastal route we have to make a few stops for road works. There was a big earthquake in Kaikoura in 2016 causing major damage to roads, including SH1 and also caused the seabed to rise quite substantially in some areas. Work to repair SH1 is still underway, so if you are traveling on this route, be prepared to travel slowly and be stopped for roadworks.

On the bike, stopped at road works

We reach Kaikoura, a very popular town with the tourists – it’s pretty crowded, but we decide to stop anyway for a rest. We head to a funky little cafe call Bean Me Up Coffee and sit out front in some old car seats!

We depart Kaikoura and Daniel, AKA super navigator (honestly I am in awe at his sense of direction, he can get us anywhere with minimal effort) decides that we will move away from the coast and take the inland route for the next part.

The Inland Route

We pass deer drinking at a river, hillsides that are every shade of green and gold and have long stretches of glorious twisting road all to ourselves. The scenery today has been awesome. I can’t understand why the roads weren’t busier (although I am pleased they weren’t!)

The Inland Route

As we approach Christchurch, we also approach grey clouds and notice a change in temperature. I begin to regret my decision to leave the rain gear at home. It’s quite bulky and to have taken it, would have meant leaving quite a lot of other items behind. But it’s summer and we are heading for Central Otago so we felt confident we could leave it behind.

And so we got wet.

And nearly ran out of fuel.

Our motorbike doesn’t have a fuel gage, so there is always bit of guess work required in knowing how far we can get before we need to fill up. Luckily we make it to the petrol station just in time! Note to self, we can get approximately 180km out of a tank of petrol.

We check in at our Christchurch accommodation, All Stars Inn and collapse onto the bed after a long but fun day of riding.

The Details

I was really impressed with All Stars Inn, the rooms felt more like a hotel. The bed was huge, the room modern and quite spacious and the backpacker location is really central. There is also a nice pub on site. A double room with shared bathroom starts from $70.