New Zealand: The World's Fastest IndianOreti Beach: Southland's Natural Race Track
Oreti Beach - we are talking about 26 kilometres of flat sand, only 10 kilometres away from the small city of Invercargill. Naturally for Burt Munro, this was the perfect testing ground for his Indian motorcycle.
After decades of testing and modifying, Burt reached a speed of 131.38 mph (210 kmh) on Oreti Beach in February 1957, setting the New Zealand Open Beach speed record. In 1975, he topped his own record by another 5 mph (8 kmh) - at the ripe age of 76!
The beach racing scenes between Burt and the local motorcycle club were all filmed at Oreti Beach.
From Invercargill, take Stead Street until it turns into Dunn Road. This will bring you right onto the beach, which is driveable even for normal cars.
The viewpoint of Burt tinkering on his bike is at S46° 26' 19" / W168° 13' 52" or -46.438611 / -168.231111.
If you ever contemplated a beach drive, Oreti is the place to do it. The great thing is that even a normal car can easily negotiate the beach.
Here are some basic tips for beach driving:
- Never drive on dunes as this will destroy them and the wildlife they foster.
- Watch out for wildlife on the beach - many seagulls are actually endangered.
- Give way to pedestrians at all times.
- Drive near the high tide line where the sand is hard.
- Don't make sudden turns, as your wheels might dig in.
- Maintain your speed so that you are less likely to get stuck.
- Always park facing towards the water.