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With all the magnificent glaciers, snow-capped mountains, miles of mesmerizing coastline and beautiful beaches, exploring New Zealand by car will certainly be a wonderful experience. Relaxing hot springs, peaceful lakes, and endless grassy plains will offer you the most fascinating scenery to capture on your camera, or simply relish as you take a break from the drive. With numerous spectacular destinations, it will take you at least a week to see the majority of what you’ve planned, and we also have a few tips on how to make the most of your New Zealand exploring.
Keep in mind the driving rules.
Before you decide to rent a car, or a campervan for your trip, you must be familiar with the driving rules in New Zealand. If you’re coming from a country where you drive on the right side of the road, you’ll need some time to adjust to the New Zealand rule, which requires you to drive on the left side. If jet-lag has taken its toll on you, make sure you have enough sleep, and are well-rested before you sit behind the wheel, because driving when you’re exhausted can make it difficult for you to concentrate, and forget which side of the road to drive on. Furthermore, roads in New Zealand can be quite unpredictable due to its diverse terrain, they are windy, hilly and narrow, with sharp corners, which can be challenging for the drivers who’re visiting New Zealand for the first time.
Visiting North Island
If you don't have too much time on your hands, but you want to see as much as possible in New Zealand, then we suggest you visit the Loop of the Bay Islands. From the sheer beauty of the Northern part of the country to the hustle and bustle of Auckland, and all the way to exquisite wine tasting on Waiheke Island, you’ll soak up all the beauties and thrill of this wonderful country. Regardless of the time of the year you choose for the trip, visiting Auckland will allow you to experience a beach vacation mixed with an exciting sightseeing trip. Furthermore, if you decide to drive from Auckland to Wellington and explore some of the most iconic volcanoes of New Zealand, make sure you get a safe and reliable vehicle, and look for cheap car hire, that won’t break your bank. Taking the so-called Thermal Highway southbound will be a great opportunity for you to see the Lake Taupo volcanic crater, as well as a lot of other geothermal sights, such as the geysers of Rotorua. Before you reach the coastal capital, you’ll have the chance to drive through the lovely wine regions of Martinborough, and complete your trip in 12 days.
Visiting South Island
Should you choose to go down the South Island Road, it would be a good idea to start your journey in Greymouth. On your way to Queenstown, be sure to visit the famous Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, which you can sightsee by foot, provided that you have adequate gear with you. All the lovers of coastal scenery will definitely opt for the Great Coastal Road, which will lead from Westport to Greymouth. The rugged rock formations, alongside magnificent beaches and fascinating sunsets will leave you in awe on your road trip through the South Island. This is the perfect route for all of the explorers who don’t mind getting off the beaten path, and if you’re one of them, make sure you stop by “Pancakes Rocks” in Punakaiki, before you reach Greymouth for your hike over the Franz Josef Glacier. For all the scenery aficionados, Milford Sound Highway will be a real treat, as it’ll lead you through some of New Zealand's most dramatic landscapes. From trickling waterfalls to mirror lakes, moss-covered mountains and to pristine rainforests, the two-hour drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound will take your breath away.
New Zealand is definitely one of the most fascinating countries in the world, thanks to its vivid sceneries and iconic sights. If you ever decide to take a road trip and explore New Zealand by car, make sure you have all the safety guidelines in mind, as well as where you should decide to go off the beaten path, and where to stick to the map. No matter the side of the country you choose to visit, you’ll be completely spellbound by this fascinating country that you’ll certainly want to come back, and explore every inch of it in the years to come.