New Zealand a Roadtripping paradise

  

nz roads

New Zealand is a prime tourist destination due to it's stunning nature which has become iconic in movies such as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, however many people don't realise just how great the country is just to drive around. Here are a few reasons why you should have a road trip in New Zealand.

It is a country where the main highway runs north to south, and for the majority of the time, consists of just one lane in each direction. With a population of only 4.5 million people, once you're outside of Auckland and Wellington CBDs, traffic build up is very uncommon and you find yourself with a lot of empty space on the roads. The only times you might find yourself in traffic jams is when there has been an accident, when nature has blocked a road, or when you find yourself waiting for a herd of sheep to cross from one field to the other.
Although there is not much traffic, it usually takes considerably longer to reach your destinations than your GPS will predict. This is due to several reasons; the first being that you often find you have to stop the car to take a photo. One of the best things about travelling in New Zealand is the driving between points as you pass by unimaginably beautiful landscapes, so make sure you have some room on your SD card. The other main reason is the roads themselves - they're not very straight. Due to the mountainous nature of the country, you will find yourself snaking through gorges, cornering around mountains and clinging to the sides of cliffs. This makes an exceptionally fun drive for cars with good grip, and most corners are signposted with recommended speeds for travelling around.
Some of the more exciting roads include the road between Christchurch and Akaroa which meanders down the Akaroa peninsula along various ridge lines providing fantastic views of the ocean while testing your driving ability, State Highway 43 (better known as The Forgotten World Highway) between Taumarunui and Stratford which follows a 150 km historic route following colonial bridle paths and crosses four mountain saddles, and Arthur's Pass which crosses the Southern Alps through a national park.
Aside from conventional driving, there are a number of unsealed roads to tackle. These become quite common the further you venture from the highways. There are also a number of four wheel drive tracks in many places across the country, and 90 mile beach up the top of the North Island which provides some wild and challenging beach driving.
One more road worth mentioning in Skipper's Canyon, close to Queenstown on the South Island. Rental cars are forbidden from entering here, and it is most probable that your insurance won't cover you. This is a one lane, two directional road entering in and out of a canyon of exceptional beauty, but the road is notoriously dangerous as large sections frequently fall away and there are many sections with no safety barriers to stop you from falling to your death. If you really want to test your driving skills and your stomach while you're at it, this is the place to go.
New Zealand is becoming very popular for road trips and infrastructure in most parts ensures there are (just) enough fuel stops and plenty of accomodation for camping and in hotels and hostels.

 

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