5 Tips For A Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Jul 29, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
Planning a “motoring excursion” in New Zealand has a few unique considerations. Just like with any other road trip, you want to make sure you know your budget and the lay of the land. Make a plan and save yourself some time and money. But to make sure that you are ready for a trip to the beautiful country of New Zealand, consider the following tips.
Know The Roads
Depending on where you are from, the roads in New Zealand may come as a shock. They tend to twist and wind around the scenery and are nearly always just a single lane in each direction. Make sure you are confident in your driving before hitting the gorgeous mountains since many remote roads don’t have guardrails. This can throw you for a loop if you aren’t prepared. And always remember that, like in England, New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road.
Consider Your Car
The first thing to consider on any road trip is your vehicle. Make sure you have enough space for you and your fellow travelers along with everything you need. Ideally, you will want a vehicle with four-wheel drive, but if you are driving in winter and don’t have one, bring along some snow chains. If you are driving in the winter or want to go off-roading, consider an SUV despite the increased cost of fuel. Also, consider a campervan if you want to take advantage of “freedom camping.”
Understand Freedom Camping
New Zealand makes it incredibly easy to explore the stunning wilderness with “freedom camping.” Although it the system is changing soon, if you have a campervan that is “self-contained,” meaning it has a toilet and a corresponding sticker, you can camp on most public land for free. You won’t be able to do this without a self-contained vehicle, and expect a severe fine if you don’t respect the system. Of course, there are always campgrounds that you can use for a fee.
Find Remote Areas
New Zealand has an overabundance of gorgeous roads and wilderness areas. That being said, take advantage of your car and put in the extra effort and to visit remote locations that don’t have as many tourists. If you have a good GPS unit and a strong sense of navigation, take the back roads, talk to locals, and find remote beaches and other picturesque areas.
Resist The Urge To Stop
During any trip to New Zealand, you will likely be tempted to stop and take pictures every few miles! However, because the winding roads are only one lane in each direction, stopping at random can be a serious safety risk. This means you should let your passenger take care of the photos or make sure there is enough room to pull off the road safely before doing so.
New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries in the world with a stunning range of mountains and oceans accessible on modern roads. Learn the lay of the land and take advantage of the time and mobility offered by your car on a road trip in New Zealand.