We had "planned" to tour New Zealand "next" ever since we returned from southern Africa in 2004.  Somehow we kept finding other things to do or other places to see.  Until we learned from Fred Rau that Fred Rau Tours, in conjunction with Te Waipounamu Motorcycle Tours was conducting The Ted Simon New Zealand Tour in January, 2010.  The opportunity to travel and converse for a couple of weeks with Ted Simon, and with Fred, and with veteran NZ tour operator John Rains was too much to resist.

Here, Ted Simon leads a group of riders to a rendezvous at the Patengata Tavern in the Hawkes Bay area of the North Island just prior to our overnight Farm Stays on several local farms.

New Zealand was created for motorcycle riding and the people of New Zealand have done little to mess it up.  It is purely a wonderful place to ride.  Voni and I did little group riding with the tour group.  With our destinations planned and a GPS to guide us after we got lost, we were mostly content to strike out on our own in the mornings to rendezvous with the group for a lunch stop, or at the hotel each evening for dinner.

The roadway engineers in New Zealand have not felt compelled to cut down every hill and straighten every curve.  Many of the bridges remain one-lane only.  Traffic yields when necessary and moves on in a friendly, orderly manner. 
Voni and Ted Simon take a stroll on the way to dinner the evening we stayed at the Larnach Castle near Dunedin on the east coast of the South Island.

The scenery is spectacular throughout New Zealand.  For motorcycling we preferred the South Island because it is not at all congested, the mountains and lakes are magnificent, and the towns and cities are small. 
Having left the Chihuahuan Desert in southwest Texas mere days before, we found the foliage pleasing and inviting.  Here, Voni hid her F650 motorcycle amidst the flowering bushes.

One distinct advantage to touring with a group, which we haven't done since Africa 2004, is that the finest of foods always awaited us - each morning for breakfast and each evening for dinner.  We don't eat this well at home, and almost never when traveling "on our own".
It probably comes as no surprise that we both thoroughly enjoyed the desserts.  And also not a surprise that Voni particularly liked the desserts that were heavily laden with chocolate.


We have posted four sets of photographs as albums on the Photobucket photo server site.  They are somewhat organized and titled:  People, Food, Views, and Too Good Not to Share.  The following links will take you to all the pictures:

People: NZ1 People/

Food: NZ2 Food/

Views: NZ3 Views/

Too Good Not To Share: NZ4 Too Good Not to Share/


Here is a Video by Fred Rau Tours:

Te Waipounamu Motorcycle Tours: