Five Tips for Driving in New Zealand

Feb 05, 2020 10:43 AM EST | Staff Reporter

Five tips for driving in New Zealand

(Photo : pixabay)

New Zealand is a country boasting landscapes fit for the silver screen, a fascinating heritage and the warmest of welcomes. It's little wonder you're considering taking to the road to explore everything this country has to offer. No matter whether you want to learn more about Maori culture, admire the natural beauty or visit 'Middle Earth' - driving yourself around these gorgeous islands is the best way to experience it all.

Book car rental in New Zealand and you'll open the door to a wonderful country that's waiting to take your breath away.

1. Plan your route and itinerary in advance

If you're embarking on an epic adventure around this magnificent country then we'd suggest planning your itinerary in advance. Planning and researching your chosen stops not only ensures you'll know what to do in each area (and get excited about it!), but also means you'll understand what is achievable in the time frame you have available. This ensures you don't try to squeeze too much in or risk driving too quickly.

2. Read up on the rules of the road

This is obviously essential for wherever you travel but ensuring you know the rules of the road in New Zealand before you arrive is incredibly important. The main thing you need to keep in mind is that you'll need to drive on the left-hand side of the road. Reading up on and adhering to speed limits is also incredibly important. Wear your seatbelt at all times, don't use mobile phones while you're driving and avoid consuming alcohol.

3. Leave extra time for journeys

There are many reasons for this tip. The first being, you'll want to pull over in safe places to capture photographs of the breathtaking landscapes. Don't be surprised to discover fresh wonders around every corner - from magnificent wildlife, to fjords, glaciers, mountains, rolling hills and unbelievable stretches of coastline.

There's so much beautiful wildlife you'll need to consider while you're in the country. Sometimes these creatures may be on the roads - take care when it comes to your speed and you'll avoid harming any animals.

Finally, many roads are narrow and you'll need to travel at a steady pace to navigate them, especially if you're not used to the conditions. In circumstances where faster vehicles are behind you, pull off into a safe place - there are passing lanes, pull over lanes and even viewpoints to help you do this.

4. Keep an eye out for gravel roads

Many car rental providers ask you not to drive your vehicle on gravel roads, beaches or unsealed roads. If this is the case with your provider, you'll need to identify where these are to ensure you avoid them. If you're given a map when you arrive in New Zealand, you can ask your rental contact to highlight known forbidden roads to give you a helping hand.

5. Consider doing the most popular route in reverse

Visitors to New Zealand who want to take in both the North and South Island during their road trip most commonly start in Auckland and finish in Christchurch. Very often, car rental companies then need to transport the vehicle back up to Auckland. Ask the company if you're in with a chance of getting a better deal on your vehicle price if you do this.

Bonus tip!

Don't forget that you'll need to catch a ferry if you're travelling between islands. If you're travelling from Wellington to Picton or vice versa via a ferry service you'll need to book in advance to guarantee a time and date. We'd advise travelling during the day to enjoy the journey and admire the views!

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