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If you’re looking for a great place for a motorcycle trip, look no further than New Zealand. We initially chose New Zealand because we’d heard it was beautiful, and really motorcycle friendly. We had no idea there that New Zealand adventure motorcycle travel was a thing, or that there were so many unpaved roads to explore.
After riding 15,000 miles, from Florida to Alaska and back, X2 and I were looking for another great adventure. We found our 18 day guided motorcycle trip with New Zealand Motorcycle Rentals and Tours in a motorcycle magazine and really lucked out. There was only one other guy on the trip with us, and he was enthusiastic about exploring dirt roads and getting off the beaten path. The tour was originally designed to be about 4500km – and we rode 7000!
Toward the end of our ride we had a free day on the north island. We were staying in Paihia for 2 nights so we got directions to 90 Mile Beach and headed off to Ahipara to find access to the beach. It’s an At-Your-Own-Risk ride, and certainly not encouraged by the rental shop, but it was definitely a highlight of the trip.
At first we were alone, riding on firm, smooth sand at up to 100 mph, but as we rode further north we found bumps and mushy sand. We saw 3 beached whales and hundreds of fishermen with long poles planted in the sand along the shore competing in a tournament.
We rode for two hours, and I was certain that we should have reached the road out indicated on the map. X2 asked a Maori guy in a pickup truck and he pointed at the river we’d just crossed. “That’s the way out, mate, follow me”. At first we though he was having us on but he jumped in his truck and blasted off kicking up a rooster tail of water and leaving us in his wake, literally.
We followed and it was true, what looked like a road on the map was Te Paki Stream and it’s only drivable at low tide. There were tall dunes on one side and what looked like marshland on the other. We rode all the way to Cape Reinga, the northernmost point and heading south again on the main road we stopped for deep fried breaded mussels.
We were rejuvenated and I lobbied for a side trip to Spirits Bay which turned out to be the most beautiful spot in NZ. Down logging roads to a campsite, parking area and a short hike over the dunes to a gorgeous white sand beach and turquoise water. On the way back to the hotel we stopped to wash all the evidence of our beach excursion off the bikes.