Fuel is an entertaining subject. Every motorbike rider has a story to tell of running out of fuel in the South Island.

My story of running out of fuel… leaving Chch to go to Greymouth one evening, I knew I needed fuel before I hit the Southern Alps but the Caltex in Yaldhurst was on the wrong side of the road, the Shell in Yaldhurst on West Coast Road had a big queue, then Kirwee and Darfield were closed. Ah… the queue at Yaldhurst Shell was the 6.59pm rush… this is the night I discovered that fuel stations close at 7pm. I turned off and headed for Oxford thinking, being a bit bigger, the service stations would be open later. Hmmm, no. so now I have about 20kms left – not enough to get back to Chch and deffo not enough to get to Greymouth on. An Oxford local took pity on me and emptied his lawnmower fuel can into my tank. It seemed like a lot of fuel so I set off for Greymouth. Pulling out of Arthurs Pass still heading West the bike went onto reserve… and whilst it is downhill from there to the coast it isn’t reasonable to do it all on an empty tank.. so I begged a bed at the YHA in Arthurs Pass and waited for the single pump to open the next morning.

Andrew’s story… Riding north up the West Coast, having fuelled at Haast, expecting to top up at Harihari, found it closed and had to push a fully laden ZX12R the last couple of kms into Hokitika…

  • If you have less than half a tank, fill up next time you can.
  • Never rely on the last possible place to get fuel – they might have run out or closed early
  • Fuel station opening hours out of the main towns are normally 6am – 7pm but can be 7am – 6.30pm
  • NZ credit cards and eftpos (debit cards) only – don’t plan to use an offshore credit card unless you have cash and impecable timing to bribe a local…

I’ve noticed a lot more 24 hour options springing up at the smaller centres which gave me hope for riding a bit later without a 6.59pm fill up but a word of warning from the lady in Fox Glacier BP; the 24 hour card pay is always available overnight, unless a power surge trips it, when the system switches off and won’t work until reset when they re-open the next morning – I guess this is probably true for all of the 24 hour pay stations…

Culverdon , Fox Glacier and Tekapo now have 24 hour fuel!

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$ New Zealand dollar