The Gen XY Lifestyle

Enjoy Summer In New Zealand!

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New Zealand is offering up a perfect reason for travellers looking to hit the road away from the cold this Christmas and winter season.

The North Island of New Zealand is recognised for its scenic beaches and volcanic routes whereas the South Island is renowned for its alpine scenery, icy glaciers and exquisite wildlife experiences.

As many travellers are looking at self-drive holidays to get closer to some of the world’s most beautiful and spectacular natural environments and scenery, here are some recommendations by Tourism New Zealand; the Thermal Explorer Highway that runs through Ruapehu, Lake Taupo, Rotorua and Hamilton and Waikato, the Pacific Coast Highway and the 800km Twin Discovery Tour Route.

The Thermal Explorer Highway reveals crystal clear lakes, bubbling mud pools, geysers, geothermal mineral pools as well as the spiritual home of the Maori of Te Arawa. Combined with the Pacific Coast Highway, as a return route to Auckland, the route provides travellers with seasonal views of seaside villages and a dramatic coastline of the ‘Flowering Pohutakawa’, also known as New Zealand’s Christmas tree.

Over on the South Island, travellers can look forward to the ‘Lord of the Rings’ scenery experience through the Southern Scenic Heritage Highway. This route cuts through beautiful alpine country including Te Anau – the South Island’s largest lake known for its glow-worm caves – to Fiordland National Park –  largest of the 14 national parks in New Zealand – and finishing in Dunedin – a center for heritage, arts and culture.

Fiordland Crested Penguin

Another key South Island driving route is the four-day Alpine Pacific Triangle. The drive starts off in Christchurch and heads towards Kaikoura on the coast to see the majestic marine life – whales! From Kaikoura, the route leads to the alpine spa village of Hammer Springs, perfect for easing aches and pains in the thermal waters. From Hammer Springs, end the drive with a good day or more in the Waipara wine region – known for its Pinot Noir and Riesling specialities before heading back to Christchurch.

Kaikoura mountainscape

For travellers looking to base themselves in a city such as Auckland or Christchurch and drive out, a short one to two day driving routes are available. These drives can be planned to cater to specific requirements such as natural scenery, attractions, wildlife or by time. Tourism New Zealand has an online tool and resource that provides information and can be used to plan DIY driving routes.

Waitomo Caves, ornate limestone formations

Here are some quick tips if you are thinking about driving and exploring New Zealand:

– Bring along a current driver’s licence and/or an international Driving Permit (IDP)

– Take note that maximum speeds on open roads are 100km/h and 50km/h in urban areas

– Cars drive on the left side of the road, similar to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand

– Payments for usage of toll roads can be made in advance or up to three days after use; these roads can cut and save precious time along the journey

– Plan and take frequent rest stops along the way, especially for those not used to driving long distances in a day

– Enjoy the drive, be open to unplanned side trips, try not to keep to schedules or timings

– Use the average 70km/h speed as a gauge when calculating distance and time; or use this time and distance calculator available from Tourism New Zealand.




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