The best thing about driving through New Zealand is that it offers you a chance to get off the beaten path and discover unspoilt treasures. In addition, New Zealand is filled with stunning scenery and breathtaking landscapes which you wouldn’t want to miss taking a flight, so take your time as you drive from one place to another to drink in the view and enjoy local delicacies. Find some interesting driving tips for New Zealand here and check out a few must see places in this scenic country.
Voted one of the world’s top tourist destination, a drive to Milford Sound passing through Te Anau is definitely worth your while. Milford Sound is uncontaminated by civilization. Given the considerable distance from Queenstown (307 kilometres), travelers to Milford Sound are however advised to depart very early in the morning to avoid having to rush, getting caught up in slight traffic and missing out on the scenic views. Alternatively, to get the most out of your visit, you can drive to Te Anau (121 kilometers from Milford Sound) and spend the night there before proceeding with the drive the next day. The route from Te Anau has been voted one of the most photographic drives in the world.
Coromandel – Hot Water Beach
Throw a spade and bucket in your trunk and head out to Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. This is the perfect place to visit if you want to take some time out from sightseeing to just relax and soak in the pools of hot water. Once you dig a hole, hot water will come from the surface from underground fissures, almost like constructing your own Jacuzzi. The beach also offers an exhilarating experience for adrenaline junkies and surfers.
Middle Earth is waiting
Want to journey through time? Drive through Middle Earth and discover the breathtaking real locations where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was shot, from the Waikato farmland that is more widely known as the Shire, the Kawarau River also known as the Anduin River location of the Argonath to the Misty Mountains. Most of these sights are located around Queenstown and Milford Sounds. It is possible to organize a self-drive tour that will lead you through most of the most memorable sites of middle earth.
The French were here
Akaroa is a quaint township only one and a half hours drive from Christchurch. It stands out as New Zealand’s first (and only French) settlement down to its architecture, street names. The road to Akaroa is lined with constantly changing landscapes as well as cultural and natural features including the Te Waihora lagoon, the village of little river and a panoramic view of the harbor from atop a hill.
Enjoy a glass of wine
Take a drive between Picton and Christchurch to enjoy the scenic Marlborough wine country, home to the finest sauvignon blanc wines in the world and very welcoming locals. Stop by a few wineries to sample some spectacular wines and purchase a bottle or two for the designated driver to enjoy later. For those particularly interested in enjoying seascapes the Queen Charlotte Drive with its lovely bays and beaches is quite a treat alternatively you could take the equally scenic drive through the Awatere Valley heading to the coast where you can revel in complete opposites standing side by side as you drive down the coast with the majestic mountains on one side and the ocean on the other.
Remember to pack your camera, allow enough time as you drive around, embrace spontaneity and interact with the friendly people of New Zealand.