in the Top of the South
These six rides are all on sealed roads.
Renwick – St. Arnaud – Nelson
280 km – 3 hours 30 minutes (round trip)
This route stays mainly on state highways apart from a short section north of St Arnaud. Great, easy riding even for less experienced riders. Caution required on SH63 east of St. Arnaud, a known crash risk for motorcyclists. Watch out for tourists on SH6 between Havelock and Nelson as they invariably do unexpected things!
Blenheim – Picton – Havelock (via Queen Charlotte Drive)
95 km – 1 hour 30 minutes (round trip)
Count on heavy traffic between Blenheim and Picton. Twisting Queen Charlotte Drive can be fun but it’s very narrow, often with gravel on corners, varying speed limits and liable to ice in the shade in winter. Watch out for tourists doing the unexpected. SH6 from Havelock to Blenheim is fairly straightforward. Good rest stops and cafes in Havelock and Renwick; even more in Blenheim and Picton!
Blenheim – Kaikoura
260 km – 3 hours (return)
A brilliant, scenic run with many corners. Beware of tourists stopping unexpectedly, and seals on the road close to Kaikoura. A fairly busy road with lots of trucks, resulting in numerous bumps and pot holes, detritus, diesel spills, rough surfaces and unexposed tar seal.
160 km – 2 hours (round trip)
A pleasant ride, mainly on local road with lower traffic flows. Be prepared for narrow, twisty sections and numerous tight corners. Watch out for fallen leaves and loose gravel. A popular tourist route.
Nelson – Westport
450 km – 5 hours 30 minutes (return)
A longer ride but reasonably straightforward, with magnificent countryside. Once you’re over Hope Saddle watch out for slow-moving traffic hidden around the next corner, and loose material on the surface. Go slowly through Buller Gorge and enjoy the view! Very icy during the winter. Check signage carefully approaching Westport for the correct route.
Nelson – Collingwood
260 km – 4 hours (return)
Ride over the awesome Takaha Hill. It’s a fairly straightforward run to Motueka followed by sudden, sharp bends to Riwaka. Takaha Hill is fantastic, with seemingly endless bends, but many are tight and deceptive. It’s exposed to crosswinds throughout and subject to sudden weather changes. The road is fairly straight after the hill, through to Takaka and Collingwood. Watch out for slow-moving campervans.