NZ over the ditch tour - day one: too many drops

After taking 2 hours to get through customs, we finally got back to our room at 130am. In stealth mode, we walked the VERY full car park in search of our bikes, finally finding them tucked in a back corner.

Sitting on one, I had a moment of panic. It was too high. But as Goldilocks did, I sat on the second bike and it was juuuuust right.

 Motorbikes parked Happy in front of my hire motorbike

Having the bikes at the hotel was amazing, but I hadn't ridden that type of bike and there was no one to show me the ropes. Riding in a new country is daunting, but riding a new bike on top of that was giving me the heebies. 

My bike, a BMW F750 GS, was older and had 100K on the clock. No hand warmers or cruise control. But it does has a quick shifter, which I realised on day one, made gear changes in horridly stiff winter gloves a little easier. 

My first ride on her was out of the carpark and onto the busy Christchurch street. I had visions of sprawling in an unladylike manner onto the bitumen in front of peak hour traffic, but after a couple of minutes feeling like I was on my L's again, I felt more comfy.

Dropped temps and droplets. The weather was cool and wet. A low of 13 and high of 15. So that made layering easy… LOTS! All our bikes were in different locations, so we organised to meet at the one furthest from town - South Pacific Motorcycles. Great place and great people. Although we hired from someone else, this family business could not be more helpful.  They even set up a gazebo for us to pull up out of the rain. Offered us tea or coffee and were very accommodating.

Today’s leg was supposed to be long ish... taking us 297km from Christchurch to Hanmer Springs. But we decided, with relentless rain and all of us getting familiar with our bikes, to go the short way, directly North through Culverdon.

Standing at the beach

Shaking and shivering, I was fairly soaked by the first stop, wringing out my gloves and feeling that squelchy feeling in my boots. I didn't put rain gear on, but should have as the wind pushed the water under the jackets, which just seeped onto my clothes. I know what NOT to do.

What was amazing were the heat packs I once again, strategically placed around my body. Having learnt from my previous long haul ride, I knew where NOT to put them ;)

The scenery was beautiful, but it's hard to look around when you don’t want to move your head for fear of letting the rain and cold in. So it was pretty much head down. curves

We stopped for brunch at a lovely cafe called the Red Post. It was warm and the bar heater was perfect for warming those freezing wet gloves. 

Drying boots above the oven

Another short ride and we checked into the Top 10 holiday park. Hung our gear out to dry (can I recommend boots hooked under the microwave above the oven?!?!) and headed straight to the hot springs in Hanmer, where we soaked for an hour or so soaking in our private hot pool. We then headed for a well-earned glass of something local and dinner at the Irish pub.

Hanmer Springs private pool Today was full of challenges, but we had just as many laughs. I made mistakes, but learnt more and grew a little as a rider and a woman.
The best thing about this trip is, I'm not the only solo lady rider. I'm joined by my friend and an amazing lady rider, Tracey. At 62, this inspiring woman is my mentor and highly respected by so many others.
What a great reminder of our strength and resilience.  
Whatever tomorrow brings, I am ready.
Can't wait for tomorrow! 
Previous post Next post


  • Vicky 06:54 AM

    So glad your having a great trip. I’m from NZ and I would love to go back and do a bike trip. Hamner is one of my fav spots to go such stunning scenery getting there. Can’t wait to read where you get to next 😊

  • Deb Andree 09:25 PM

    Love this. Despite the shivering and being drenched you DID IT and didn’t stop you from having fun. You all deserved a soak in the hot tub. Hopefully the sun comes out for the rest of the trip ❤️

  • Jules 05:54 PM

    Happy International Women’s Day to all you amazing riders 👏🏻

Leave a comment