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Discover New Zealand’s Backyard: Danseys Pass, South Island

Updated: Sep 8, 2022

women on motorcycle on shingle road inbetween green hills
Motorccycling across Danseys Pass is an easy, yet memorable backyard ride

Tucked away between all the evergreen hills in Central Otago on New Zealand's South Island lies Danseys Pass.

Nothing seems to be happening out here. Stillness befalls the few motorcyclists as they follow the winding shingle roadway up to the pass—the ridges, standing tall like witnesses of bygone times and the future. And I keep wondering whether a human has ever set foot on them.

These hills are and will always be the guardians of the souls. They are gently nestled upon their steep slopes, where only fluffy sheep and a rustling breeze are at home. Undisturbed by the hustle and bustle of humankind, they peacefully feed on evergreen pasturelands. Unperturbed their existence, for they have no inkling of their troublesome end.

The verdant ridges mirror the clarity of existence like a lake its environment, with its surface at rest on a still day. There is no sound except for the motorbike's even rattle climbing uphill.

Women inmidst a kneeling in a lavender field
The Lavender farm en route to Danseys Pass — a place of tales and purple delights.

A lavender farm hidden in the deep gorges way before the pass welcomes visitors to turn into the tree-lined driveway past the pink gates and enjoy a unique break. The lavender grown here in seclusion eventually turns into soaps, lotions, and ice cream. Those who have time, which goes for most travelers who stray here, stop at this special place. To chat with the owners, lick a lavender ice cream of peculiar taste, or take a photo amidst the purple splendor.

Above me, the blue sky expands to the point it threatens to shatter. And yet it never does. A godsend to be able to ride beneath it on my motorcycle. To retain the magnificent moments in my mind before they give way to the next. The senses are directed by the sheer simplicity of existing out here, the engine's humming, the joy of being on the road. All I need lives in my panniers.

I would have laid it at the pass's summit if I had carried a prayer flag. Its barrenness takes me back to the dry and remote heights of the Himalayas. Although the distance over this little pass is less than 70 km between the Duntroop and Naseby, the isolation becomes apparent at 1,000 m above sea level. Once you take your helmet off, you will immediately perceive it with all your senses.

"The wind will be whistling, the tussock waving and clouds scudding across the expansive sky"—Mike Hyde.
Tussock landscape overlooking valley with Mountains
The solitude on Danseys pass is worth the ride.

And while the yearning gaze scans the barren surroundings uninhibitedly, a feeling of home sets in for a while. Like a silent whisper and yet clearly audible. The longing for this road to never end.

Thank you for joining me!

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