Smoking Dragon

Route Overview

General Overview
The Smoking Dragon exploration route criss-crosses the Main Divide with a range of sidetracks offering views of spectacular valleys, lakes, rivers, and constantly changing vistas from open tussock land to lush native bush. This route is focused on utilising tarmac, gravel roads and 4X4 tracks to access a range of stunning New Zealand locations. Although this is not a highly technical route, it requires reasonable riding skills for some of the Grade 3 sections.

Where did the name Smoking Dragon come from you may ask? Well, it came as a result of the route outline on the map looking like a smoking dragon's head!
Start/Finish Point
This package was specifically created for a natural start/finish point at Christchurch however the full route is a loop so it can essentially be started/finished at any one of these places: Kaiapoi, Amberly, Hanmer Springs, Springs Junction, Reefton, Nelson Creek, Greymouth, Rakaia.
Terrain includes
Terrain from Tarmac through to Grade 3 will be encountered. The tarmac sections are superbly maintained allowing you to focus on the dramatic landscapes. As you venture onto the Grade 1 and Grade 2 gravel roads and 4X4 tracks they will offer you enjoyable riding terrain mixed with rugged New Zealand scenery. The Grade 3 tracks bump up the enjoyment factor if you like more technical off-road terrain and allow you to access more remote places.
1,185 km total distance.
Max Fuel Leg
The maximum distance between fuel stops is 246 km.

Important note: due to the remoteness one of the fuel stops only has low octane 91 fuel. If you want to fuel your bike on high octane fuel the entire trip you will need to be able to travel 357 km between fuel stops.
Ride Time
This ride is made up of six legs and can be ridden in two recommended options.

Option 1 : 6 days: each leg can be easily ridden in one day for a relaxed paced trip at an average of 4 1/2 hours conservative seat time on each of the 6 days.

Option 2 : 4 days: if your goal is to make the most of riding each day (or you have limited time) then what is recommended is to combine Leg 1 and Leg 2, and also combine Leg 4 and Leg 5 to produce an action packed 4 days of riding!

Total route continual riding time (seat time) is approximately 26 hours conservatively or (21 hours at a solid pace).
This route has been specifically tailored for camping with the optional use of DOC huts or hotel accommodation in some locations. It is possible to pull short/go further on some of the legs to make use of motel/hotel/lodge accommodation if that is your preference however these options are only briefly mentioned as this route package is focused on camping in great locations.

Cost for camping accommodation at the recommended campsites is approximately $6 per person per night. You will need to carry money with you as payment is via honesty boxes, no cash facilities are available at any of the campsites.
Access Permission
All routes within this package are on publicly accessible roads/tracks so access permission is not required.
Access Limitations
The routes within this package are not normally subject to access limitations that present a showstopper. At some points it is possible to experience farming operations such as stock movement which may delay progress. It is feasible to encounter roadworks which may involve a detour and in some cases you may encounter forestry operations which can also involve a detour. The only access limitation to seriously take into consideration is weather. Information about the weather cautions and recommended travel times is included as part of this route package however as a rule of thumb, summer and autumn provide the most stable weather and the best conditions for riding. This route can be ridden in winter or spring with careful planning around pockets of good weather.

Legs in this Exploration Route

Leg 1 <span>(11 photos)</span>
Leg 1 (11 photos)
Leg 2 <span>(10 photos)</span>
Leg 2 (10 photos)
Leg 3 <span>(13 photos)</span>
Leg 3 (13 photos)
Leg 4 <span>(15 photos)</span>
Leg 4 (15 photos)
Leg 5 <span>(15 photos)</span>
Leg 5 (15 photos)
Leg 6 <span>(12 photos)</span>
Leg 6 (12 photos)


Update by RMOTO


Review by RMOTO


Photoset by RMOTO

Riders that have completed this Exploration Route