First things first: Planning your Summer roadie
Road trips are a great way to explore this awesome country and are an affordable way to travel too. Whether you’ve got a few days off, or a little longer to explore, there’s so much waiting to be uncovered right here in our own backyard.
Pack the chilly bin, grab the boogie boards (oh, and don’t forget the kids), because these beautiful places in New Zealand aren’t to be missed!
1. Check your car before you ride
It’s a good idea to make sure your car is in tip-top shape before you hit the road so you don’t run into any unexpected issues. A good place to start is to check your WOF and rego are up to date, but also top up your oil, wiper fluids, pump up your tyres and check your breaks – you’ll thank yourself later! If the need for a bigger service or new tyres to go the distance safely is holding you back, talk to us – We can make things possible.
2. Make a loose plan
You might not know the exact route you’re going to take, and that’s ok! Summer is a time for us to slow down, take in our surroundings and embrace the spontaneous stops along the way. But do make sure you have a map on hand or Google Maps with real-time traffic updates to get you safely to your destination. You could even go old-school and check out the I-sites in towns along the way for the local intel on not to be missed sights and highlights. Check out the i-SITE, NZ's official visitor information network.
3. Prep your playlist
There’s nothing worse than hitting the road and realising you haven’t downloaded the best tunes to get you through your drive. Prep your playlist and hit download so when you’re out of service you have uninterrupted listening. Oh, and don’t forget to pack a car charger too! But the sounds don’t have to end when the drive does. Check out the portable 'boom boxes' from our friends at MyHome.
4. Think of a budget
Yep, even in the holidays, it’s a good idea to work out a budget (and stick to it too!). Are you camping or renting a place? How often will you be packing your lunch or eating out? Homemade sandwiches on the run might help you pack in some more activities too. To start with, work out how much you can afford to spend during your trip and plan out your expenses so there are no surprises when you get back to reality. Need a financial top up for your trip? We can help with that.
Here are some of the best places just waiting for you to explore!
Northland: Cape Rēinga
Hit the very top of the country and see how East meets West! Cape Rēinga is famous for its lighthouse right at the tip of the country, so take the Twin Coast Discovery road through beautiful beaches and sand dunes while soaking up the epic views. There are plenty of spots to pull over and explore on the way or even set up camp for the night too. Don’t forget the boogie board for a bit of sand dune surfing at Te Paki.
Thermal Regions: Rotorua
From Rotorua through to Taupō, the Thermal Explorer Highway is named appropriately, because you’re about to explore the natural wonders of NZ and the world. If you’re looking for things to do with the family, explore the geysers and volcanic craters of Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland or even hit the hot pools for some relaxation time too!
Wine Country: Napier to Blenheim
Anywhere from Napier to Blenheim you’ll find great views amazing food and even better wine. These roads are a foodie’s favourite and great for a girl’s trip or a catch up with the family. Check out great regional foods, explore the vineyards and make the most of stone fruit season!
Explore the West Coast
If a trip down the West Coast of the South Island is for you, you won’t be disappointed! Check out the natural rock formation, Pancake Rocks, hike through the Hokitika Gorge to work off some of the festive season or if you’re feeling adventurous, explore the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers – yep, even in Summer, it never disappoints!
Think mirror-like lakes and stunning mountains rising up from the fjords! Milford Sound is tucked away down South but is definitely worth the road trip. Driving the ancient glacial valleys is like being in a Jurassic movie, with lookouts, hikes and stunning views along the way, this can be an epic day trip. Alternatively, you can pop into the campsites or lodges to extend your stay, no matter your style.
The Deep South: The Catlins
The lower South Island is last on our list, but not to be missed! This picturesque region extends from Nugget Point almost to Invercargill with so many nooks and crannies. You can spot native bush moulded by centuries of Antarctic winds, beautiful lakes, historic lighthouses, and the chance to spot unique NZ wildlife like the Yellow-Eyed Penguin or sea lions, so make sure to pack your camera too!