Jump to content

Going to New Zealand?


Recommended Posts

I was there for 8 weeks in February/March 2020 and have a recommendation to anyone going in the future.

Take your own potato peeler as those available in NZ are terrible (in my opinion).

Also worth noting is that in 4 or 5 places in NZ driving experience comes in handy. I.e. Places not for the faint-hearted. Multiple bends, changing gradients, lots of gear changes all in quick succession. For instance: driving over Arthur's Pass from Greymouth side.

Keith g3ttc

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And above all obey the law, I noticed cars were stopped for the simplest things. I was driving a van as escort to a group of cyclists and was pulled over by an unmarked cars and 'almost' threatened that if they if THEY didn't beave better then the whole group would be banned.


Many wooden crosses will be seen on sharp bends, it appeared that the locals don't recognize bends. And in towns car drivers are not friendly to pedestrians.


And if a tourist you will be treated as such so check your charges and change !


Lots to see Geology wise, volcanoes and earthquake results.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We toured last summer. Was amazing. Lots of mountain passes, unmarked railway crossings and roadworks due to earthquakes. We had intended to hire a Motorhome but travel agent said it would be cold as it is their winter. So we opted for car hire and hotels. It really was the trip of a lifetime.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have visited both main islands of NZ many times in the last two decades, and have the following observations to make.


If the OP was discomforted by Arthurs Pass, how did he manage on Porters Pass which is higher and further to the east on the same highway? Our first crossing of Arthurs Pass was at Easter 2004, when the pass was reopened after being closed by snow. Much of the roadside to the east was still covered in snow and I was unable to see where I could safely stop for photos, until well beyond Arthurs Pass village.


Perhaps the twistiest and steepest state highway is SH6, where it descends into Nelson from Blenheim. The Lindis Pass which is a popular route to Queenstown from Christchurch is tame by comparison. There was a fatal accident on this pass a few years ago in which a local was killed. This caused much ill feeling, as it was caused by a tourist veering onto the wrong side of the road. The tourist had just arrived from Europe and was trying to drive direct from Christchurch to Queenstown . Perhaps this explains some of the wooden crosses. You are advised not to do this, but to stay local to your port of arrival for the first night.


I think that there is now only one shared road rail bridge left. This bridge is just North of Kumara Junction where the Arthurs Pass road meets the west coast of SI. At the junction the railway crosses the middle of the roundabout. When the vital timber truss shared Ahura River Bridge towards Hokitika was being replaced when on a green light, we were held up by construction work, with a train approaching from our rear. (The slow train stopped short, as it was delivering a concrete beam for the new bridge.)

The bridge is vital because the only diversion is via Haast Pass, a long, long way South. If going south fill up in Hokitika, as the most expensive fuel is in Fox and Franz Joseph.


Railway crossings are marked with at least a diagonal cross, plus bells and lights on highways. You can even find a blue penguin crossing in Oamaru.


That's just South Island where the sandflies can be particularly vicious in the west. Some people my wife included, recommend taking Vitamin B1 as a deterrent. Do not underestimate sandflies.


In North Island perhaps one of the steeper highways is the SH2 crossing of the Rimutaka ranges, to the north east of Wellington. Further north, if you venture round East Cape, logging trucks are numerous. Alternatively following SH2 inland from Gisborne, you eventually follow the many kilometres of the Waioeka Gorge. Further north again SH2 pssaes through the Karanghake Gorge, which was formerly a gold mining area. There is so much more!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

We spent a month touring South Island in March/April 2019 in an Escape rental camper van. Very basic but great fun!

We had no problems on any of the roads or with the NZ driving.

It is a great place to visit for the sights and the people and the wildlife - and the feeling of going back to a Britain of 40 years ago - a month was not long enough.

The only thing we found a bit tedious was the choice of food when eating out - really quite bland and boring - Fish and chips the staple diet?

Wonderful palce to tour in a campervan!



Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was there about 10 years ago and spent a month touring in a camper van, ford transit MWB if I remember. Wild camping, DOC sites and full sites.


It must have changed a lot in that time. I did both Islands and found the driving really easy, the people really friendly, never felt that tourist feeling, the food was fine, the wildlife and scenery was outstanding.


I would go back in a shot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Spent a month touring each island some years ago. Nice quiet, open roads - not much traffic.


Didn't come across any difficult stretches. Arthurs Pass was a bit steep, but no worse than other passes we've been up in Pyrenees or Alps.


One of the highlights for me ( as I liked a good hike ) was the Tongariro Crossing on the North Island.


Approx 20km hike up and over Mt. Tongariro - takes about 8 hours - and does not involve any difficult climbing.


Would love to go again.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...