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And New Zealand is a perfect place for building this intimacy with the road. New Zealand is a country that demands a road trip!
Why do we make such a vehement statement about New Zealand? Our 6 weeks in New Zealand gave us enough reasons to believe that a self-drive road trip is the best way to travel New Zealand.
Everything is well marked, making a road trip in New Zealand “easy”
The idea of driving in a new country can make any traveller anxious. Which is exactly what the people behind the road planning in New Zealand have understood. The signage – from the highways to small inner roads are made keeping us – the traveller in mind.
Driving in New Zealand for Indians is especially convenient. They drive on the same left side of the road (thank you, Queen!). An Indian driving license is valid in New Zealand for the same category of vehicle. And it is far – far less stressful. In fact, the lack of chaos can get a little overwhelming – for the first few minutes.
From then on, it’s a smooth sailing all around the country.
Too much to see along the way on a road trip in New Zealand
You realise the literal truth in “it is about the journey” while driving in New Zealand. Be it the wild west of Fiordland, the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, the undulating sheep littered meadows of the more “urban” North Island or the pretty little vineyards all along the Marlborough countryside – there is always something to be explored and discovered just a few minutes off the road.
The signs start informing you of an upcoming attraction a long time before you need to make a decision to stop or not. It gives you enough time to discuss with your companions whether to make the stop or contemplate on whether it holds your interest. The signs also inform you how far these spots are from the car park, how long a walk can take, what’s the level of fitness required to get to the spot and whether the route is wheelchair enabled.
Like we said, everything that you need to make a road trip in New Zealand a smashing success is taken care of.
Well marked “viewpoints” and car bays for you to stand and stare on your road trip in New Zealand
In a country with such ubiquitous beauty as New Zealand, the urge to “just stop for a while” springs up every now and then (read: constantly). It’s quite common for someone or the other in your car to say, “stop stop stop” take a better look, click a photo, fill the mind up with the views, let the heart swell – feel happy, elated, ecstatic – to each one their own!
And every time that happens, you’ll find a shoulder or a proper car bay where you can park and do all of these.
“Oh we should’ve stopped there” will not be a part of your experience driving around in New Zealand. There is no scope for regrets on a road trip in New Zealand.
Locals are used to novices – travelers like us – driving around in New Zealand
New Zealand is so sparsely populated and tourism is such huge economy-driver that tourists make a big percentage of the number of people in New Zealand.
Which obviously means that Kiwis are used to seeing foreigners driving around New Zealand. They are supportive of the mistakes and confusions we can make. They are kind enough to guide you, give you way and just make you feel welcome – as long as we are respectful to them and their country.
The people of New Zealand have a high regard to what nature has bestowed them with. They know their country is something special.
A road trip in New Zealand is the best way to experience this special country closely.
Top tips for planning a road trip to New Zealand
- A 4×4 or an SUV is not needed for driving around New Zealand except maybe, in the winter.
- In New Zealand, you drive on the left side of the road – it is a right-hand drive. Indian driving license is valid for driving in New Zealand.
- You can consider a campervan for a road trip around New Zealand. The camping infrastructure in New Zealand, as well as the rental options available, are suitable for even a camper van novice.