Driving in New Zealand - Test Yourself!What's different about driving in New Zealand? There are a few things that you need to know before heading off into the sunset on your New Zealand vacation.
Overall, driving around New Zealand is a breeze compared to many other countries. Generally our roads are well maintained, well signposted and lacking in frustrating tailbacks. However, there are a few things that you may not be used to when driving in New Zealand. For example, we drive on the left side of the road and using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal. If you exceed the speed limits you can default your rental car insurance.
So, it’s a good idea to take the time to familiarise yourself with the road rules before you arrive in New Zealand. Here is a quick on-line test you can do at home: http://www.drivingtests.co.nz/roadcode/tourist/
It is easy to underestimate travelling times in New Zealand. Distances may seem short on paper, but New Zealand roads may be narrower than you’re used to and go through hilly terrain.
If you are tired you are much more likely to have a crash. Here are some tips to help you stay alert.
Get plenty of rest before a long drive
Take a break from driving every 2 hours
If possible, share the driving with someone else
Avoid large meals and drink plenty of fluid
If you begin to feel sleepy, stop at a safe place and try to have a short sleep for up to 40 minutes.
Also, be very aware that there are hundreds of hidden speed cameras all over New Zealand so watch your speed!
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We made it home yesterday afternoon and we must say that going through customs in New Zealand was a piece of cake versus here in the States. :)
Picking up the car in Wellington and driving on the ferry was a cool experience for both of us. The drive in the dark to Kaiteriteri was a little scary being it was dark and wasn't familiar with the roads but we made it safely to Kaiteriteri and even though the motel was closed Lance and Christine had instructions on the office door and we were welcomed to our little bungalow with the heater on and the bed all nice and warm with the electric blanket and a things to do list on Kaiteriteri. They were both nice and welcoming when we met them the next morning.
Chris got the hang of driving on the left side pretty quickly and driving through the country was beautiful. Loved seeing all the sheep with their baby lambs and cows and their calves..definitely the start of Spring time! The itinerary was spot on and when it said we take 2 hours or 5 hours to reach our destination it was always correct with the suggested stops along the way.
Each motel we stayed in was really nice and we were thankful for the heater and electrical blankets at each stay. Everyone we met was really nice and helpful.
We liked staying in Te Anau and spending time there and Milford Sound where we were given a special box of chocolates for our anniversary! Queenstown was a lot of fun, lots to do in town and the KJet boat was a blast as well as the Skyline Gondola. We had fun at Christchurch although it was raining the first day we got there but, Lee with Amcross Motor Lodge was really nice and let us check in early the first night we stayed there and lent us an umbrella so we could walk and check out the town and the Canterbury museum. It was nice to return back there our last night on the South Island and was greeted by Lee again. She is a very sweet and helpful lady.
North Island - Staying in the city those two nights in Auckland made us realize we aren't in the country anymore lol Because it was hard to park we just paid for parking at the Waldorf Stadium apartments and walked to check out the sights. I ended up at an information site for things to do and the gentleman was really helpful and we planed the following day with a short ferry ride to Davonport and then after we a had a three hour tour with a local guide named Paul and ended up it was just the two of us so took us around the town and checked out a volcano and toured couple parks and other tourist attractions, he was a lot of fun and personable.
Hobbiton at Matamata was fun and Rotarua is another favorite stop for us. We were sad to leave.
Chris enjoyed the fishing with Will and caught 4 fish with the last one being the biggest trout that Will said he ever saw caught out of that river. The trout weighed 8 pounds and took about 45 minuets for Chris to bring it in. Chris took to fly fishing like a natural an Will even set me up on a spot overlooking he and Chris with a chair and coffee, tea and hot chocolate and some goodies while I sat and watched and listen to all the birds singing.
All in all it was a great adventure for us being our first time out of the States. Everyone one we met was very friendly and just about guessed we were from Hawaii. The guide from Te Pua Cultural Center in Rotarua said we could pass for Maori. :)
You and Linda are awesome and we couldn't have planned this vacation without you!
Mahalo again for making this adventure one that we will never forget!
Debbie & Chris, USA - Sep 2018
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