Certain countries were just made for a road trip, full of stunning scenery, varied terrain, sights to see, and experiences to be had – New Zealand is certainly one of them.
Whether you choose the North Island, the South Island, or you mix it up and go for both, New Zealand is a road tripper’s paradise. Of course, like anywhere in the world, whether you choose a car to enjoy your road trip, you travel by motorhome, or you decide to use public buses, there are some things you need to bear in mind. If you’re driving yourself, remember these important rules and considerations.
Remember to drive on the left
New Zealand’s road are left hand drive, with the driver situated on the right hand side of the vehicle. If you come from a country which is right hand drive, make sure you practice a little before you set off, because this can be something you need to get used to first!
Remember to take regular breaks
It goes without saying, and it’s common sense, but taking regular breaks is extremely important when travelling around New Zealand’s varied landscapes. Don’t ever drive when you are tired, and always remember to take regular breaks.
The terrain is ever changing
The roads are constantly shifting and changing in New Zealand, and you can encounter motorways, single lane roads, roads without barriers between, gravel roads, and very windy roads – take your time and adjust your speed accordingly.
The map often lies in terms of distance!
A distance that might look small on a map is often not in reality! As we mentioned, the terrain can be ever changing, and that means some roads might be narrow, causing traffic, mountainous, which means you need to take your time even more, and some are very windy; all of these can mean your journey will take longer than you realise.
Be aware of the weather
If you’re travelling in the South Island especially, the weather can change quite quickly, and in winter it is not unusual to come across ice, snow, and foggy conditions. Remember to take extra care during these times, and keep an eye on the local weather forecasts.
Be rail crossing savvy
Whilst rail travel is a very common way to travel in New Zealand, not all crossings have alarms attached to them. If you come across a crossing which doesn’t have an alarm, check whether the red light is flashing, and if so, wait, because that means a train is coming; proceed when the light has stopped flashing. If you see only a ‘Railway Crossing’ sign, look both ways and only proceed when there is no train in sight.
These are simple rules to abide by when you enjoy your road trip across New Zealand. One thing is for sure, you will have the time of your life seeing the varied and stunning sights which await you.