Now, more than ever, we find ourselves yearning to leave home and go on holiday. Luckily, New Zealand is a stunning country filled with great spots to see on a classic road trip. You’ll encounter an endless variety of picturesque landscapes, charming towns, quirky landmarks and a plethora of activities, plus the promise an exciting adventure. If you’ve never been on a road trip, here’s the beginner’s guide…
Have a good playlist sorted! It’s incredible how much a good soundtrack can enhance the scenery. Or a rousing round of karaoke can lighten the mood.
Choose your company wisely. Who do you love enough to be stuck in a small space with for potentially tens of hours? This may be the ultimate new relationship litmus test, but it’s also a great bonding experience for most.
Pack: clothing for all weather types. Even if you’re just going for a day or two, the weather forecast won’t always be accurate. You’ll likely encounter rain – even in summer. Some regions of the country experience gale force winds regularly, snow, and frost, some parts are humid when it’s hot, others have bone dry heats.
Be careful on winding rural roads. The locals and truck drivers know the way like the back of their hand and might speed around there. Drive at the legal speed you feel most comfortable with and give way when there is chance.
Pack: high SPF sunscreen and SPF lip balm. Even on cloudy days, our UVA and UVB rays are still sneaking in. A first aid kit. A phone charger. An umbrella. Insect repellent, especially if you’re ‘that’ friend who always gets bitten.
Plan activities and locations ahead of time but remember to leave room in the schedule for relaxing, resting or re-energising. New Zealand’s small towns, larger towns and cities all have a lot to offer. Google and guidebooks won’t have it all.
Pack: a blanket, pillow, water and snacks in the car. You never know when someone might want a nap, need a drink between towns or get a little peckish.
Make time to stop and marvel at our beautiful mountain ranges, beaches, lakes, glaciers, geysers, waterfalls, deserts, thermal pools, forests, volcanoes, rivers, caves and more.
Make sure you have GPS and a paper map as back-up to guide you. There are still a few rural areas that are out of cell range.
Follow the guidelines around natural wonders. If there is a warning, trust it. There will be similar safer ones to visit. Search ahead of time if you’re in doubt.
Figure out how long your road trip will be and if you need to manage accommodation. We have many fabulous free/affordable campsites, campervan and RV rentals, Air BnBs, motels and hotels to pick from. New Zealand is often relaxed when it comes to last minute motel or hotel searches. However, by looking ahead you can pick up deals or arrange for incredible experiences like a cabin by a starlit lake.
Bring a camera or utilise your phones nifty one. Get your own stunning advertisement worthy nature shots or friendship/family/relationship Instagram #goal pictures.
Bring activities with you. Car games are good fun, even for adults. A pen and a notebook are always handy – sketch, journal, leave a note, tic tac toe? Pack a few good books, especially if you’re a passenger.