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Seven brothers from the United States touring the South Island riding classic Triumph motorcycles on ''a trip of a lifetime'' have been struck by the island's natural beauty and the warmness of the people.
The Gilbert brothers, from Connecticut, rolled into Dunedin yesterday afternoon, six days into an 11-day tour on mid-1970s Triumph Bonnevilles supplied by Hawea-based Classic Motorcycle Tours.
The oldest brother, George, who collects Triumphs, said there was no better way to see the country.
All seven, plus a family friend who had joined them on the trip, had been impressed by both the scenery and the friendliness of New Zealanders, he said.
''The country is beautiful and the people in it are beautiful,'' Mr Gilbert said.
Highlights of the trip included riding through Arthurs Pass, which he called ''absolutely stunningly beautiful'', and riding down the West Coast.
''Today was the first traffic light we have had all week. This is day six.''
The brothers had ridden together in the US, but never ''gone away to a foreign land and done something like this''.
Their shared love of motorcycles kept the brothers close.
They left three non-motorcycling brothers and a sister at home. John Gilbert said the tour was a ''trip of a life time'' for the men.
Classic Motorcycle Tours director Dallas Boag, who drives in a support van, said the brothers were a ''charming bunch'' who knew how to entertain each other.
''They have certainly developed a passion for New Zealand wine,'' she said.