Motorcycle touring in New Zealand
using AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™ [a Bed and Breakfast Guest House (B&B) in Nelson city centre and right at the geographical
centre of NZ] as a base.
The name is a dead giveaway: AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™, an 1897 Guest House, is right at the very geographical centre of New Zealand and, just as importantly, has the best climate in NZ with the highest sunshine hours.
Our police district has the lowest crime rate in New Zealand and we have a Garage that can keep safe and snug up to four touring Motorcycles with full panniers and top boxes.
No less than THREE National Parks surround us and Tahunanui beach, 4 minutes ride away, is one of the finest beaches in the whole country and very popular with kite surfers. Nelson has a lively club and pub scene centred around Bridge Street.
The Port Nelson Street Races are a non-championship event for riders of a wide variety of motorcycles held on 2nd January every year and now in its 26th year.
Due to the nature of the circuit - the ordinary public thoroughfares of the biggest fishing port in Australasia with manhole covers and kerbed corners - some restrictions are enforced in the interest of safety and to ensure the long term viability of the event. For this reason, tyre burn-outs and wheelies are not allowed. (The event stewards are aware of the difference between loss of front tyre contact with the track due to acceleration and intentionally “pulling a wheelie”).
The event is run under current MNZ rules and supplementary regulations put in place for the event. One event licences cannot be used at a street road race and are not available through MNZ.
The 2.4km long circuit has been improved with a hairpin and there is now a special SuperMotard dirt section.
- Formula 1 B.E.A.R.S.
- Formula 2
- Formula 3 / Pro-Twins
- Classic (pre 1963)
- Post-Classic (1963-1982)
- Pre 89)
Burt Munro Challenge, Southland in late October - The Worlds Fastest...
Greymouth Motorcycle Street Race in late November
Photos from Port Nelson street racing at the very start of January
Battle Of The Streets, Paeroa in February
NZCMRR Classic Racing, Pukekohe
Text in italics below is taken from "Welcome to London Bed & Breakfast".
(The principal at that organisation is Tim Darbey who has been involved in the Bed & Breakfast field for
over 15 years and has visited 1000's of B&B's in Europe and the U.S. As the owner of several B&B's, he estimates that he has inspected or
photographed a combined total of more than 10,000 bedrooms, bathrooms, lounges and dining rooms!)
Text not in italics is our comment in relation to Amber House:
"...To make your stay as comfortable as possible, you should consider some of the differences between expensive full service hotels and private
family homes that offer B&B in the original European style... Bed & Breakfasts are not the same as in the U.S., where B&Bs have become
increasingly associated with the country inn type of accommodation, with housekeepers, staff and often with an in-house restaurant. In the U.K.these are
known as country house hotels. The European B&B residences are private family homes, often older properties, sometimes several hundred years old, and
consequently may have smaller rooms than you are used to at home or in modern hotels..."
Built in 1897, Amber House is pretty young by European standards but is definitely one of the older homes in Nelson which is, itself, the oldest city in the South Island (or Mainland) of New Zealand.
However, none of our rooms are tiny, with ceilings more than eleven feet high downstairs and the Balcony Suite measures more than 468 square feet in area.
It is our family that will look after you (with some help at busier periods).
"...Other features you should not expect are air conditioning or elevators unless they are specifically mentioned. You will find that our top-rated
homes have attached "en-suite" bathrooms, however at a number of homes the private bathrooms may be adjacent to the bedrooms or a few steps away along the
Our Blue, Gold and Rose Rooms, together with the Balcony Suite are air-conditioned with reverse cycle heat pumps.
All of our accommodations have en suite showers and wash hand basins.
All our bedrooms also have double glazing (with argon gas filling the 16mm gap and a molecular coating of gold to further reduce heat transmission) for extra sound proofing and to further reduce our carbon footprint.
We have no elevators (or "lifts", as we say in New Zealand) but the strongest family member will carry your bags upstairs if you are in the Balcony Suite, Blue or Gold Rooms.
Agree your arrival time
"...An obvious but often overlooked difference between hotels and staying at private family homes, is that of service; there is no desk clerk on duty
to await your arrival, so it is vital that the family knows what time to expect you, as they have daily family business to attend to. The worst possible way
to start your visit is to arrive unexpectedly and find no-one at home to greet you...."
Now you know why we ask you for your anticipated arrival time together with your mobile or cellular 'phone number. If we have those details, if our plans or yours suddenly change we can then communicate. There are many areas of poor cellular reception in New Zealand but SMS or text messages can often get through where voice calls will fail - it only takes a few seconds of coverage as you crest a pass or hilltop for our text to reach you. Additionally - and unlike receiving voice calls - when travelling overseas, you will not usually be charged roaming charges for receiving a text message from us or anyone else. Please be aware, though, that you should not just hit the "reply" button as our SMS text messages are sent from a bulk service provider in Ireland. Please instead manually reply to the phone number listed in the message you receive from us!
We would prefer to welcome you and show you round personally but, if your arrival time is unpredictable, we can send you a keycode so you're independent of our movements.
Riding times and distances from Nelson
Times are only a rough guide for a direct route and don't allow for any stops - which is daft considering the wonderful scenery!
Please allow more time when riding conditions are less than ideal.
Unlike most of the drivers, New Zealand roads are of a reasonable quality, but with no clues as to the severity of bends provided by centre line spacing. New Zealand drivers typically follow much too closely and stupidly regard the open road speed limit of 100km/h as a target rather than exercise their own judgement.
Police very rarely ticket inconsiderate and dangerous drivers or those that do not afford cyclists and horses the two clear metres of space they need, concentrating instead in a monomaniacal way on enforcing arbitrary speed limits and the counterproductive cycle helmet rules.
Considering the beautiful scenery, the many places of interest along the way and the number of drunken and incompetent drivers on the roads that consider overtaking to be either a spasm manoeuvre or a calculated insult to the passed road user's manhood, you may find that you take much more time than you had planned for.
Please take your time and keep to the left. Unless you're in a one way street, it is a criminal offence to stop on the right of the road.
You should also be aware that this stupidly unique Kiwi priority rule that meant you were only a blown indicator bulb away from a collision for more than 20 years was only abolished relatively recently at 05:00hrs on Sunday, 25 March 2012
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AMBER HOUSE - at the centre!™