Right Driver

Discovering New Zealand by car: plan your adventure today

Exploring New Zealand by car is a great choice, or at least it is until we are able to teleport around! With your own vehicle, you can visit places like the peaceful Bay of Islands or the awe-inspiring Milford Sound, which are less accessible if you don’t have your own set of wheels.

Of course, planning your route is a key part of the experience. But where should you begin? Is there anything you need to know before you arrive on the island? Let’s go through the important details that you need to keep in mind to make your trip unforgettable. Plan your dream trip and rent a campervan in NZ today.

Lake Pukaki

Choosing your vehicle

Picking the right vehicle for your trip across New Zealand is the first thing you should focus on. This will allow you to make sure you have the best experience while travelling through some of the most stunning scenery in the world.

In general, if you’re looking to save money and also need a place to stay, a campervan is a great option, as it will let you travel freely and offer you a comfy spot to sleep after a day full of activities.

However, if you’d rather stay in hotels or other accommodations, renting a car might be better for you; this decision should match how you like to travel. It’s all about ensuring your vehicle fits your plans for exploring New Zealand’s beautiful cities and natural sites.

Best travel seasons

Choosing the right time to explore New Zealand can make your trip even more memorable. In general, the best weather for road trips is during the summer months, which in the case of the Southern Hemisphere means from December to February.

During these months, you can expect plenty of sunshine, which enhances the beauty of New Zealand’s diverse landscapes, and you won’t have to worry about driving under poor weather conditions.

Beyond that, for those who prefer to travel when it’s less crowded and still enjoy pleasant weather, the months of November and March are ideal, and even April if you are staying in the north. These shoulder seasons offer the advantage of fewer tourists and the opportunity to see New Zealand’s scenery in full bloom or adorned with the colours of autumn; bear in mind, though, that deciduous trees give way to evergreen subtropical native trees the further north you go.

Before you pick up your campervan, remember to check the New Zealand road rules on our sister website.

What to visit in the North Island

New Zealand’s North Island is a place where you can see the earth’s natural power in action, enjoy beautiful beaches, and learn about Maori culture. Here’s what we recommend:

  • Start your trip in Rotorua to witness its incredible geothermal activity. Watch bubbling mud pools and enjoy the thermal springs’ bright colours, displaying the Earth’s inner heat.
  • Then, head to Matamata, home to the Hobbiton movie set, and feel as if you’ve stepped into the magical world of Middle-earth.
  • Explore the Bay of Islands, perfect for those looking for a bit of sun next to the water or if you want to try a new watersport.
  • Finish your visit in Auckland; a great city known for its lively markets, delicious food, black sand west coast beaches, and the Sky Tower, a landmark that offers amazing views of the city.

South Island adventures

Exploring the South Island, you can spend a lot of time finding hidden gems and some of the best places in the world. Here are just a few things you can see:

  • Let yourself be amazed by the Southern Alps, which are famous for their high glaciers and quiet fjords.
  • Make sure to include a visit to Milford Sound Lodge. It’s in a breathtaking place with calm waters and high peaks all around.
  • Then, there’s Franz Josef Glacier, where you can go on guided walks to see the incredible ice formations up close, showcasing the power of nature.
  • Don’t miss Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. These lakes have bright blue waters and are surrounded by big mountains, making them perfect spots to relax and enjoy the view.

So, are you prepared to hit the road for a great trip across New Zealand? It doesn’t matter if you want to explore the sunny beaches of the North Island or discover the stunning waterfalls in the South: with your own vehicle, each day will be filled with something new to see.

Choose the right car, pack thoughtfully, and be open to the beauty and adventure that await you at every turn. We’re sure you’re going to love the Land of the Long White Cloud!

Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.

Posted in Advice
Recent Posts