6 Tips To Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

6 Tips To Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Are you thinking of driving to lush and beautiful New Zealand? Are you planning to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand? A travelling adventure is not fulfilled unless there is easy transport available to visit the surroundings.

New Zealand has epic landscapes and wildlife to explore. Also, the real beauty lies in its inaccessibility and remoteness.

Taking full advantage of your dream trip to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand, it is worth travelling by road to enjoy the scenic beauty; go for tramping.

If you can manage your vehicle, that’s good enough; otherwise, it is always better to have a rental cab to visit your favourite natural surprises.

Whether you hire a van, drive your own car, or plan on camping and visiting each place by road, there are a few things to know and take care of.

1. Pick the Right Vehicle – Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Pick the right vehicle -drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand
Pick the right vehicle

You must always pick the right vehicle to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand. There are many flashy and colourful vans around New Zealand.  Look for your budget and the budget options these van operators provide.

You can choose a big or small vehicle according to the number of travelers. Most vans have beds that pull out from the benches and a mini kitchen in the trunk with all the cooking stuff and bedding that you would need. Curtains come down at night so you can rest peacefully.

But for some remote areas, ski fields, and modest roads to the mountains with snow, rain, or creeks, like the famous Mount Aspiring National Park in Wanaka, an SUV is the best way to travel to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

So choose according to the roads when you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand, and the trail also matters. Think about the kind of trip you want and get a car or van that fits it.

2. Know the Camping System – Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Know the camping system -Drive Through NZ
Know the camping system

It is better to understand how the campervan and freedom camping system works in New Zealand. You can rent two types of campervans here: fully self-contained and non-self-contained.

The difference is pretty much a washroom. If you have a campervan that doesn’t have a toilet, you can’t freedom camp. This is one of the most essential tips when you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

Freedom camping is allowed around most of New Zealand, so you can camp on public land for free as long as you have the right facilities. If you are caught freedom camping without the right van or in a restricted area, it’s a $200 instant fine by the police.

So it is better not to abuse nature by lighting illegal fires or emptying the sewage tank in the van in the wrong place. It is better to camp in holiday parks, though they are not so cheap.

3. Never Underestimate Roads – Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Never underestimate roads
Never underestimate roads

While travelling to remote parts of New Zealand, you will find that roads are crooked, winding, and gnarly and without guard rails. All the roads are one lane in either direction, usually a dotted white line down the middle and a mountain or a cliff on the sides.

The max speed limit to drive is 100 kph (63 mph), but it still is a bit disconcerting to be going so fast with traffic going in the opposite direction just next to you, on the left side of the road nonetheless.

Nothing is straight, so you always have to pay attention. Also, the New Zealand landscape frequently likes to add obstacles to the adventure, like landslides, hitchhikers, and sheep, so be on your guard when you’re behind the wheel.

New Zealand roads are well labelled so you can see your driving area. For example, when the road bends, massive yellow reflective signs warn you in advance and on the curve to lower your speed.

4. Remember To Drive on the Left – Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Remember to drive on the left
Remember to drive on the left

When you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand, you have to be on the left. Frequently, enormous arrows point in the right direction on the roads, and in cities with intersections, there are also arrows on the medians. All the roads here are well-marked.

Never pull over just anywhere to take a picture. New Zealand is photogenic, and the urge to take a photo on the side of the road is dangerous for you and other drivers.  

Just think about a safe place where you pull over when you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

5. Carry Your Accessories From Home – Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Carry your accessories from home
Carry your accessories from home

Make sure you bring along a USB charger adapter and your needy things along with you. They are overpriced here; more likely, you have one floating around at home.

Also, bring a cable to plug your iPod or music to the stereo to jam out on long road trips when driving to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

If you have a van that doesn’t plug in, you might want to bring one of those adapters that plug into the lighter. This way, you can charge a computer or an outlet plug device, too.

If you get a powered van, they’ll have outlets and the works, so you don’t have to worry so much about that. Also, do not forget your torch and gumboots.

6. Pay Attention to the Weather – Drive To Lush and Beautiful New Zealand

Pay attention to the weather
Pay attention to the weather

It’s important to check road conditions and heed all warnings. The weather in New Zealand can be intense, and landslides are a common occurrence, especially around the South Island, especially in winter and after heavy rain.

Once you see the roads here, especially the mountain passes, you’ll understand when you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

To get between the east and west coasts of the South Island, there are three passes through the Southern Alps: Lewis Pass, Arthur’s Pass, and Haast’s Pass.

Do not drive these passes in bad weather, and listen to the locals. Avoid the more “challenging” roads at night here in New Zealand, especially in the rain and not hurricane-type weather.

Remember how untamed and wild New Zealand can be, and don’t take unnecessary risks.

Suggest your best driving tip. Or share your experience on New Zealand roads.


Consider these six vital tips for a memorable and safe road trip through New Zealand’s stunning landscapes. Choose the right vehicle based on your budget and travel needs, whether a campervan or SUV.

Understanding New Zealand’s camping system and differentiating between fully self-contained and non-self-contained campervans is crucial to avoiding fines while enjoying freedom camping.

Respect the winding, narrow, and often unguarded roads, and always drive on the left side.

Bring essential accessories from home to save on overpriced local purchases, and stay informed about weather conditions and road warnings to ensure a smooth journey through New Zealand’s untamed beauty.


What are the most common mistakes when planning a trip to New Zealand?

Considering New Zealand, a tiny country where one may easily move around, is one of the most common mistakes people make.

New Zealand is almost half the size of California, and there are no 5-lane freeways to move people throughout the country. Roads are narrow, and one should not expect to get from one place to another within the time frame typically taken in the USA.

What are some of the biggest surprises for a first-time visitor to New Zealand while travelling?

The varied terrain and beauty of the country are surprises, but in the United States, many travellers often forget about a time when travel did not consist of the stress associated with modern urban centres (navigating rush hour traffic, the hassle of long TSA lines, etc.).

The first-time traveller to New Zealand equates the country to “going back in time.” Domestic flights, for example, consist of checking bags and walking straight to the gate. There is no TSA in New Zealand.

Driving is also done on the left side – mostly on two-way roads.

This sounds daunting until you realize you have not seen another vehicle on the road for the last 10 minutes. This is the right way to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

Like the British and Chinese, New Zealanders take their tea seriously and with ceremony. They do not put ice in their tea!

What are the people in New Zealand like?

Most of the 4.5m people who call themselves New Zealanders are of British descent. The indigenous people, the Maori, comprise 14% of the population.

A rich fusion of Maori customs and traditions exists today and can be seen and experienced throughout the country.

New Zealanders proudly call themselves “Kiwis,” a term that bonds the multicultural society that is emerging today.

Kiwis tend to be friendly, generous, straightforward, and see things very practically. Many are active in helping in terms of community and country.

Remaining humble is a common practice, and arrogance is not tolerated. It’s amazing that for such a small country, NZ has a history of production and results on the world stage:

It is dominant in rugby, political stability, America’s Cup sailing, world-class wine, acting, and rights related to social issues.

What are a few facts about New Zealand that I may want to know?

A Kiwi is a flightless bird native to New Zealand. Natives call themselves “Kiwis” because of this. There is also a fruit called the Kiwifruit, which came from China in the early 1900s.

There are no snakes in NZ, unlike Australia, which is filled with all sorts of stuff.
New Zealand consists of two large and hundreds of smaller islands. Most of the country is near the sea, so wherever you go, you are always within about 80 miles of the water.

Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mt. Everest, was a New Zealander!

New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote (In 1893) and
women have occupied many top offices, including Prime Minister.

One-third of the country is a protected national park.
New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million, and 75% of it lives on the North Island.

What are the passport and visa requirements for visiting New Zealand?

You need a valid passport to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand. A valid US passport should be valid for at least three months after you depart from New Zealand. People with US Passports do not require visas to visit New Zealand for fewer than 3 months.

When is the best time of the year to visit New Zealand?

This country is an ideal vacation destination year-round. Peak tourism season starts from October through April, and it is suggested to book well in advance to ensure availability.

New Zealand’s seasons are the opposite of those in the Northern Hemisphere, with the warmest months being December through February and the coldest June through August.

Is it safe to drink the water in New Zealand?

Yes. You get fresh tap water. It is safe to drink in all New Zealand cities and towns. Bottled water is available throughout the country as well. This is the ideal way to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

Can I use my credit cards/ATM cards in New Zealand?

All major credit cards will work in New Zealand. So, when you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand, you can use debit cards and credit cards encoded with a PIN to withdraw cash from ATMs at banks and shopping centres.

You can also use these cards to pay for petrol (gasoline). Traveller’s checks are accepted at hotels, banks, and some stores.

What is B&B (Bed and Breakfast)? What can I expect?

New Zealand offers a wide selection of Bed and breakfast and self-contained accommodations, ranging from luxurious to basic.

In general, you can expect a clean, comfortable sleeping arrangement in a B&B, which would have 3 to 6 rooms.

Usually, a cooked English breakfast and pre-dinner canapés (appetizers and a glass of wine or two) are included.

It may cost you from USD 300- $600/ night for accommodation costs.

What is it like to drive in New Zealand?

To an American, New Zealanders drive on the “wrong” (left) side of the road.

This takes some acclimatization, so if you’re driving, be sure to take time to situate yourself with the flow of traffic before exiting the airport.

Exploring and driving to lush and beautiful New Zealand is often compared to stepping back to a time without massive 7-lane highways. 

New Zealand’s terrain is diverse, with hilly roads, winding, and narrow single lanes in each direction.

You may need a lot of time to get from point A to point B. 
You can also opt for comfortable transportation if you do not like the idea of driving.

There are options to whisk you and your group between locations. It all depends on budget and desire for convenience. This is the way to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand.

Are there ‘must-visit’ locations in New Zealand?

You should go fishing, skiing, or golfing. For adventure and food and wine enthusiasts, there are ‘must visit’ locations on both the North and South Islands—something for everybody.

New Zealand is jam-packed with things to do, and Best of New Zealand can help you navigate the lush and beautiful country so everything works seamlessly.

What are cool things (outside of golf) to drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand?

New Zealand is packed with cool things to do.

This is for fishing, skiing, adventure, food and wine enthusiasts, art lovers, nature and wildlife enthusiasts, or those just wanting some R&R.

There are multiple locations on both North and South Island – something for everybody and Best of New Zealand can help when you drive to lush and beautiful New Zealand so everything works seamlessly.

Is there tipping customary in New Zealand?

Although New Zealand is not a country that tips North American tourists, it has helped change this.

Most restaurants now have a line for gratuities on the credit card charge slip, and in many places, it is appreciated, and most now expect tips.

If you are happy with the level of service and attention provided, feel free to tip, but do not feel obliged to tip. It is only for outstanding service. This is the best way to drive through lush and beautiful New Zealand.

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About the author

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur

Kamal Kaur has been an integral voice in the New Zealand gaming landscape for years.

As a senior writer for PokiesMobile NZ, Kamal brings rich experiences from her diverse background.

Born in India and later migrating to New Zealand, she effortlessly blends her cultural insights with a deep love for gaming.

Kamal is renowned for her in-depth game analysis, player strategies, and knack for spotting industry trends.