Need an exciting hobby? Try adventure motorcycling

Dave Skilton high on the Black Forest Road overlooking Lake Benmore. Credit: Pat Deavoll

Want to get into the backcountry without having to tramp or mountain bike? Then adventure motorcycling could be the hobby for you. Gravel roads, farm tracks, river beds and high passes are accessible if you have the right motorcycle (an adventure or dual-purpose bike), a set of knobbly tyres and the right attitude.

Of course, you have to be willing to take the knocks and spills (and being up sided by 150 kilogrammes of machinery can be quite daunting at first), but the spills become less as you become more skilled and the rewards become greater.

Central Otago has a wealth of great riding- the Nevis Road, Thompsons Gorge, the Old Dunstan Rd, the Pisa Range and Mavora Lakes, to name a few. Oh, the places you'll go and the things you will see.

Some farmers will allow you onto their land, but catering to their requirements is paramount – you don't want to get on the wrong side of them as this could jeopardise access for other bikers in the future. Shut gates, stay on the track, don't upset the stock.

Bikes can be kitted out for multi-day trips with panniers that sit to the side, and luggage that sits on the back of the bike. Take your tent, your sleeping bag, some food and head off up into the Old Woman Range for a night under the stars.

Adventure motorcycles cost anything from $3000 up to $20,000 depending on size and whether you want to buy new or are willing to go second hand.

Size can be anything from 250cc to 1200cc depending on your height and skill level- but best to start small. Lots of fun can be had on a 250cc.

The Wānaka Motorcycle Club caters for all types of riders, including adventure riders.


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