new zealand road trip

5 tips for a New Zealand road trip

New Zealand is home to friendly locals, super cool cities, and some of the most stunning natural wonders you are ever likely to see. It’s no wonder it’s so high on many people’s travel bucket lists. There are many ways to explore New Zealand, as the country has a good public transport system and plenty of boat trips and guided tours.

We would argue that one of the best ways to explore New Zealand is by setting off on a road trip. When you think of a road trip, you’ll probably be thinking of those scenes in the movies, where the characters cruise along open roads, the sunshine on their faces and the wind in their hair. Indeed there is some truth to this. Road trips offer a huge feeling of freedom and the opportunity for an incredible adventure.

So, let’s get started with our 5 top tips for planning your road trip in New Zealand!

 

1. Plan ahead…

plan a road trip woman driving in new zealand

Everyone likes to relax and forget about the stresses of everyday life when they’re on holiday. But when it comes to a road trip, it’s always important to have at least a general plan in place. Think about where you will pick up and drop off your car, the route you want to take and which destinations you will stop at along the way. You should also identify gas stations and accommodation along your route. This way, even if you plan nothing else, you can at least keep the wheels rolling and have somewhere to lay your head each night!

 

2. … but also be spontaneous

Although it’s always wise to have a plan, one of the best things about road trips is that you can go wherever the feeling takes you. Travelling by car offers you a lot more freedom and opportunity for spontaneity than public transport ever can. So make the most of this fact and use it to its full advantage! You might make some of your most special memories in the places that you just happen to come across whilst driving, whether that be an amazing skyline, a cute little town or a perfect picnic spot in the middle of nowhere. It might therefore be a good idea to reserve an hour or two in your itinerary each day for simply going with the flow and exploring whatever wonders you happen to find along the way.

 

3. Rent a good quality car

new zealand car rental car hire new zealand

Getting your own car over to New Zealand would likely be very expensive, and probably more hassle than it’s worth. A better idea is to rent a car. There are plenty of great car rental places to choose from all over New Zealand. But unfortunately, there’s a lot of not so great ones out there too.

To save you from having to trawl through all the websites of different rental companies trying to find the best – and safest - deal, head to MatesRates Car Hire. Their website allows you to compare offers on cars and campervans at 75 different locations throughout New Zealand. They offer the lowest price possible without compromising on quality or safety.

 

4. Visit remote spots

Although, in general, New Zealand has a great public transport system, many of the country’s highlights can be difficult to reach without a car, particularly the national parks. Buses, trains and trams may not bring you to your exact destination and their timetables may be very limited, particularly in the more rural areas. Travelling by car on the other hand allows you to go directly to your destination, whenever and wherever you like. So, take advantage of this fact and make sure to schedule those remote and perhaps a little obscure places into your itinerary. Go on, you might never get the opportunity again!

 

5. Be safe

camping new zealand new zealand vacation travellers

Okay, we have to get sensible for a minute here. Even though road trips are full of excitement and adventure, it’s also important keep safe during your trip. As part of your planning, make sure you do some research into New Zealand’s driving rules and regulations. For example, New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road, which might be the opposite of what you’re used to and you may need a couple of days to get used to it. It’s also a good idea to have a look at the Freedom Camping rules in New Zealand – sleeping in your car or campervan, or pitching up a tent on public land is allowed in some places in New Zealand but not all, and it’s good to know the rules beforehand.

 

So now that you have just about everything you need to know to plan your trip, what are you waiting for?

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