It’s no secret that New Zealand is full of great motorcycling routes. In this series, we hope to fill you in on some of the must-know info on some of NZ’s best motorcycling offerings so you know what to expect before you put rubber to the road.
The Molesworth Station ride is a must for anyone who wants to take in the pure majesty of the South Island of New Zealand while riding a slightly more adventurous route than the coastal roads have to offer.
Covering an expanse of 180,787 ha including the Awatere Valley, the Molesworth Station is New Zealand's largest farm while the area also features the country's highest publicly accessible road at Island Saddle which is 1357m above sea level.
Access to the main Molesworth route (Acheron Road) is gained at either the north end of the station via Awatere Valley Road or from Hamner Springs in the south.
The road through Molesworth Station is normally open 7 am – 7 pm daily from the Saturday of Labour Weekend in October, to Easter Monday or the second Sunday in April – whichever is later.
It can close without warning so checking the DoC website before you go is a good idea.
It’s recommended you have enough fuel range for 200+ Kilometres as there is no fuel between Seddon in the north and Hamner Springs.
The ride itself is not a challenging one, with the gravel surface of Acheron Road being well kept for the majority of its length. Save for a couple of spots, you could quite happily take the family hatchback through Molesworth Station with little effort. Guys riding Harley-Davidson cruiser have even been known to take the incredibly picturesque route rather than State Highway 1 at times.
While the road itself isn’t particularly hazardous as far as it’s gravel surface goes there are plenty of reasons to keep your wits about you.
Much of the ride follows high above river valleys with no guard rails to prevent you dropping down into a river if you overcook a corner.
Being the country’s largest working farm, you also need to be wary of stock on the road, in particular cows. The animals all need to be treated with respect so no chasing them off the tracks and up hills or down valleys unless you want to be the cause of access restrictions.
Lastly, being in the backcountry means there is little to no cell phone coverage. Great for “getting away from it all“ but also risky as it is harder to contact assistance if you need it. Don’t travel alone if you can avoid it or, if you must go it alone, carry a personal locator with you in case you find yourself in need of help.