ON MOTORCYCLES AROUND NEW ZEALAND
The idea about travelling around New Zealand on motorcycles originated in our heads last year. We thought it would be adventurous and exciting to visit this country in such a way. So we signed up on a riding course in Warsaw, passed the driver’s license last October and now here we are in New Zealand with our first bikes ever ready for a long ride!
We found the bikes we’re looking for on the first day. As we’ve had only about 30 hours of riding experience on the streets of Warsaw we decided to get small, reliable, cheap and easy to ride bikes for this trip. We bought all the gear (helmets, pants, jackets, gloves) and a motorcycle road atlas and off we went!
New motorcycles, new clothes, new country and the left-side traffic – all at once! I felt quite anxious and a bit stressed out, but after about 30 minute drive within Auckland we managed to arrive to the place we stayed at. We packed all our luggage on the bikes (2 big and 2 small backpacks) and we headed off on our first road trip. It was only 127 km long and Google maps say that it’s an 1,5 hour ride. Well, with our average speed of 40 km/h it took us almost 4 hours to get there but we made it! I can’t yet say that it was fun. It was pure adrenaline!
Driving on the left-side was easier to get used to than I thought. The roads are well marked and in good shape so it’s quite easy to find out where to go. Only the roundabouts were a bit complicated at first as it was quite a puzzle to figure out from which direction the cars will come and how to get out of it. In theory it’s obvious, but when I reached my first one I needed to stop and think for a while.
After the first week we made more than 700 km across the northern island. I began to have fun of riding and I get relaxed enough to admire the views. Our average speed almost doubled and grew to around 70 km/h! However, this speed almost gave us a ticket for… slowing up the traffic!!! I couldn’t believe what the policeman said after he ordered us to pull over. He told us that if the speed limit is 100 km/h we need to go as fast or… we must pull over to let pass all cars that got behind us! Drivers in Poland would love that!
The things I realized quite quickly when riding a bike was the feeling of freedom and great appreciation of the nature. When you travel by bus or even a car you just pass the places on your way reading or sleeping. In order to visit and somehow experience them you need to stop, get off, go on a track and then look around, take pictures. While when riding a motorcycle you are just there visiting with every kilometer of the road you’re on. All you need to do is look around! I really loved that!
In order to experience the countryside more, we chose the smaller roads and avoided the traffic. As there are not many people living in New Zealand (around 4,5 million) there are not many cars going around if you get off the motorways. It sometimes happened that we’ve been riding for 15 or 20 minutes without seeing any other vehicle on the road. And that was just perfect!