New Zealand is one of those countries that has been under a complete lockdown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and that’s why it has seen almost no rise in new cases. While traveling to New Zealand might not be possible right now, it is definitely one of the top destinations you should have your eye on for your post-COVID-19 travel plans. If you find a way to travel there during the pandemic, however, then make sure to adhere to the COVID prevention rules at all times to keep your family and others safe.
When you do get there, you want to explore New Zealand from top to bottom and experience everything that it has to offer. Now, there are many ways you can do this, from taking the railway system, going around by bus, all the way to exploring the waters on a ferry. That’s all great, but the best way to explore New Zealand is on your own terms, and that means by car.
Here are the tips and tricks for New Zealand car travel you need to know.
DECIDE ON THE TYPE OF VEHICLE YOU NEED
New Zealand is an expansive country, and no matter if you’re an urban explorer or a nature lover, there’s no denying that grand adventures wait for you across the map. Traversing the NZ map is, of course, easy enough because of the intricate road system and the quality of the roads themselves, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t encounter some harsh terrain.
Some of the best road trips will take you across cities and natural landscapes, so you need to decide on the type of car you’re going to rent out while there. Typically, families would benefit the most from a nice SUV that can traverse various terrains, but you can also make do with a hatchback or a sedan. You can also rent a van if you’re going on extended trips and need the extra space.
KNOW WHERE YOU CAN AND CANNOT FREEDOM CAMP
There are so many camping spots scattered across the map, it would probably take you years to visit and stay at each one. However, there are rules to be followed when it comes to camping, and you need to keep in mind that you might not be able to park your car anywhere.
If you’re thinking of freedom camping around New Zealand, you need to be careful, because NZ has strict rules where you can and cannot pull over for the night. Some destinations are under government protection, others are private properties, and some simply aren’t meant for campers. Be sure to research the campsite network around NZ to stay on the right side of the law and make your travel enjoyable.
PLAN YOUR RENTAL CAR PICKUPS AND DROP-OFFS
You can’t localize your trip to New Zealand to just the North or South Island, you need to explore both to get the most out of your NZ experience. So, you need to rent a car, but you also need to be mindful of where it’s best to rent one and where you should drop it off. Some car rental companies are spread across the country and will allow you to do this seamlessly.
If you land in the capital, for example, you can start by finding an affordable car rental in Wellington, but the more important thing is that you’ll be able to take your car anywhere in the North and South Islands. Renting a car in Wellington is a good way to open the entire NZ map for exploration, and you’re most likely to find the best rental services and deals in the capital.
FIND THE BEST EXPERIENCE IN THE CITIES
The cities of New Zealand all have a special aura, culture, and a unique urban vibe to them, and you really should visit all major hotspots. Be sure to wait for the risk of the COVID-19 virus to die down a bit, though. You can start from Wellington and explore the North Island cities and towns, making sure to spend a few days in Auckland, a day in Hamilton, and at least one comfy afternoon in the charming town of Tauranga.
Drive safely around town to avoid getting in an accident, and stick to the left side of the road! In the South Island, Christchurch should be your main destination, because this is the cultural hub of the country. The city is beautiful and full of life and excitement, and it has something for everyone. That said, make sure to take the road south to explore the towns of Dunedin and Invercargill.
EXPLORE THE EXPANSIVE COUNTRYSIDE
Of course, an NZ escapade would not be complete without a tour of the countryside, and boy, do you have a lot to discover. While you should be able to reach every spot by car, keep an open mind to switching to other great ways to get around New Zealand, like hopping on a ferry or leaving your car in a nearby town to take a romantic train ride through a breathtaking landscape. It’s all about being flexible and open to new experiences, so make sure to map out your countryside adventures so that you don’t miss a single natural gem along the way.
New Zealand is one of the most charming destinations you can visit, and now’s the time to start thinking about your grand NZ escapade. Use these tips to tour New Zealand on your own terms and create lifelong memories with your loved ones.