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Invercargill, Burt Munro and Dunedin New Zealand!

Invercargill, Burt Munro and Dunedin New Zealand!

On a very rainy day I left the Doubtful and Milford town base of Te Anau and rode to Invercargill.  The road was as beautiful and scenic as ever, but in a chilly rain I didn’t photograph anything. It’s all stored upstairs.. !! ;-).  My goal was a simple ride to the town of Invercargill where I set up in a very shonky little room in a campground. The tent leaks and it was only $10 more.

Not only was it raining but gale force winds kicked in shortly after I arrived.. good timing!  Even the camp manager said I couldn’t have timed that better.  Whew!

I actually had two days hiding from bad weather in my little room.  The good thing is that the internet worked really well.  Better than a regular hotel, which surprised me.  New Zealand has been really difficult internet-wise. I’m still not sure why such a progressive modern country has worse internet access than a super poor country like Bolivia, but I find my ways to do what I can.  I was lucky this camp gave me free access for one of the 2 days.

When the weather cleared, I was out!  Off to see Burt Munro! ;-)))) I hope all of you have seen the movie “World’s Fastest Indian” with Anthony Hopkins??  One of the greatest true motorcycle stories of ALL time?!?  IF you don’t know about the legend, here is a great Wikipedia link.. Burt Munro Wikipedia.

Also, in the nearby Southland Museum there’s a Burt Munro showcase. A 26-minute movie runs showing the actual life and times of Burt as he ventured to America in the 1960s in pursuit of world speed records (this film is also often included on the DVD version of The World’s Fastest Indian). The film is a fantastic homage to a small-town Kiwi who dreamed big and then had the verve to make his dreams of speed records and world travel come true. – See more at:

In a nutshell, Burt was a man from a small Kiwi town who dreamed bigger than big.  He followed through on his dream of beating the top speed record and world travel way back in the 1960’s and amazingly, this speed record on a motorcycle still stands today! Just this one story alone is a reminder that against all odds, anything is possible. Burt was from Invercargill where I am now at the very bottom of the South Island, New Zealand.

The film is a fantastic homage to a small-town Kiwi who dreamed big and then had the verve to make his dreams of speed records and world travel come true. – See more at:

The film is a fantastic homage to a small-town Kiwi who dreamed big and then had the verve to make his dreams of speed records and world travel come true. – See more at:

The film is a fantastic homage to a small-town Kiwi who dreamed big and then had the verve to make his dreams of speed records and world travel come true. – See more at:

The film is a fantastic homage to a small-town Kiwi who dreamed big and then had the verve to make his dreams of speed records and world travel come true. – See more at: Burt has moved on to the big highway in the sky, his bikes are on show here at E. Hayes and Sons Hardware Store.

The original bike, a 1929 600cc Indian Scout that Burt achieved his still-standing world speed record is on display inside this hardware store, E. Hayes and Sons.

The Original Burt Munro’s “World’s Fastest Indian” (without the outer shell)

The reflection from the case made a tricky photo, but it says he was officially timed at 191.34 mph (308 km/h), and reputed to have exceeded 200 mph (322 km/h) on his 1929 600cc Indiana Scout!

I climb into the replica to get a feel for what it must have been like!  The biggest thing I noticed is that Burt must have had smaller hips than me… ;-/

Although his world record was achieved at the Bonneville Salt Flats in America, here at Oreti Beach, about 10 km south of Invercargill is where he did a lot of racing, testing and practice.

This is not Burt, but another photo I picked up at a museum in Dunedin.  That beach is very popular with motorcycles to this day!

I find New Zealanders as a whole to be so passionate about motorcycles.  I really feel at home here…

From Invercargill I ride north to Dunedin.   What I decided to do early on to be able to stay in this expensive country is to house sit!  I got online, found many options to choose from and I chose one just outside Dunedin.  I knew the South Island is a place I’d like to get to know better.

Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin used to be the most wealthy city in New Zealand mostly settled by the Scottish people.  From Wikipedia, “The Free Church of Scotland founded Dunedin at the head of Otago Harbour in 1848 as the principal town of its Scottish settlement. The name comes from Dùn Èideann, the Scottish Gaelic name for Edinburgh, the Scottish capital.”

Dunedin is also a huge University town.. and you don’t have to doubt that when you see an entire shop window dedicated to Jagermeister! Ha!!

I was waiting for some service to be done on my bike at McIver & Veitch KTM, where I met Bill Veitch.  He suggested I take a wander around the Settlers Museum close by.  I love history, so off I went.  He didn’t tell me he has some of his own motorcycles in the museum!

The museum is all about Scottish settlers and it just so happens this motorcycle is called Scott.

Love the helmet, love the jacket, love the glasses..

Smoking a ciggie helps you go faster.. ?? 😉

It wasn’t just Burt, they’re all about speed down here on the South Island!

That was cool.  And here I am many years later on my own motorcycle.  Not setting any speed records whatsoever, but I’m in good company here!

Next I ride up the hill to the house I will be “sitting” in Mosgiel.   The owners are off for a one month holiday to China and I’m here to look after 2 dogs, 1 cat, 2 goats and many many many chickens!

One of the first things I did was run to the grocery to stock up on my Hubbards Muesli, out of respect and love of good food from my friends Dick and Diana Hubbard!

When I was at the KTM shop in town, I met Ross Gold and Bill Veitch whom both invited me to do a presentation at their Ulysses club meeting.  I knew I liked these guys, so I said yes!

Meeting the locals!  I really enjoyed that.  And in this this motorcycle-mad community they welcomed me like family!

We are in the Otago Motorcycle Club meeting rooms, and the walls are covered with even more history!  Pointing out photos of Bill Veitch in action!

Then I got a call that the Otago Daily Times newspaper wanted to meet..  They’re keeping me busy down in this part of the world!

I escaped on the first Saturday to just go exploring.  The guys gave me lots of suggestions and I had a beautiful ride down the Otago Peninsula.

View to Dunedin City from the Otago Peninsula

It’s kind of nice just riding the motorcycle around all day but not actually having to make a destination.  I arrive back home to some very hungry animals!

And somebody wants to play. You can’t say no to that face!  I love this dog, his name is Luke.  But he doesn’t look like a Luke at all.  My dog’s name was Luke and he was a big strong boy, so that’s what I relate to the name.  This dog has great personality and he reminds me more of the dog in Argentina at the Estancia El Chalet.  That dog was called Monkey and I loved him too, so I accidentally call this one Monkey.  He didn’t care, he’d flop around and answer to anything as long as we play. 😉

Below is a photo of Monkey in Argentina.  Both of them make a total sucker out of me… 😉

Walking the dogs on Pineapple Track.  Lots of great walks here the owners showed me before they left.  Every day we’d do a different one.

So, life is good in Mosgiel, New Zealand.  The only other time I stopped to house sit was in Italy in 2010. It’s not an option in most countries, but it’s been a great help here, especially with as expensive as New Zealand is.  It’s also great way to stop and get to know where you are, make new friends, and have more time to enjoy everything.. literally!

Originally from America. Proud citizen of Australia. Currently riding my motorcycle around the world. 44 countries so far and counting. ;-)


  • July 12, 2013

    Great story and pictures as usual… Thanks…

  • July 12, 2013

    This was an excellent read, I really enjoyed it a lot! Thanks! NZ is beautiful.

  • John Hand
    August 30, 2018

    I watched World’s Fastest Indian multiple times. When it stuck to motorcycles, the movie was great. Unfortunately the Hollywood libs had to interject their political correctness throughout the movie. From the time Munro gets to America until he gets the bike to Utah they went off course, putting in a hippy flower child in Hollywood (not in 1962) and also a transgender openly working at a motel (not in 1962) and as Burt drives to Utah he picks up an Airman who says he is spreading Agent Orange in Vietnam. (not in 1962). The movie was great, would have been much better if they could have avoided their liberal BS.


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