This year I went to New Zealand. I didn’t think I would reach this part of the world for a long time due to the notoriously expensive flights and not having months on end to take off work, and I also didn’t think I would be brave enough to drive in another country. I managed it though, and it was the best.
If you’re thinking about doing the same thing one day, here are some trips for driving in this incredibly beautiful country:
New Zealand roads are different
On the map it may look close, yet in reality it takes hours to get there. One example is the drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound, where the actual distance is only a short 65km, but the driving distance is 290km which takes just under four hours – a lake, several mountains and a non-existent road all club together to ensure you go the long way round. There is the option of flying, but you’ll be several hundred New Zealand dollars down with this easy way out, and you’ll miss all the crazy scenery along the way.
Make sure you have enough petrol
With a population of only 4 million people in a country the size of the UK, you can go very long distances in New Zealand without coming across any sign of life – apart from sheep, of course. This means that there is the possible danger of not passing by a petrol station for some time. Don’t make my mistake of driving with a low tank in the hope you’ll come across a petrol station, as you might not!
Stop at a safe, designated place if you want to take a photo
It can be frustrating driving through some of the most beautiful scenery you’ve ever seen without being able to capture it with a photo every five seconds. However, you should only pull over at a designated spot or even just capture the moment as a memory, because it’s not safe to just pull over by the side of a highway and run out into the road to take selfies – for obvious reasons.
My favourite view on my trip was of Mount Cook and its surrounding mountains reflected in the waters of Lake Pukaki at Peter’s Lookout. Get it on a clear day and I challenge you to find a more picturesque scene in the country than this one.
Now it’s time to move over and let the scenery do the talking. Here are some more photos from my road trip around New Zealand:
Empty Path on the Tongariro Crossing
Lake Rotorua at Sunset
In the North Island
The Tongariro Crossing
View near Queenstown
The land of the Kiwi is a dream to drive in – quiet roads with no traffic, relatively short distances between worthy stops and jaw-dropping scenery surrounding you at every turn. It is even better if you’re used to driving on the left-hand side like I am back in the UK, but if you’re not, you’ll get used to it quickly – so I’m told!
Words and photos: Alice Bzowska