5 Great Reasons To Plan A New Zealand Road Trip

5 Great Reasons To Plan A New Zealand Road Trip

By Jen O'Brien

5 Great Reasons To Plan A New Zealand Road Trip

Discover the appeal of a self-drive vacation in one of the world’s most picturesque places

A New Zealand road trip something everyone should experience at least once. From jaw-dropping sand dunes of Cape Reinga, where two oceans collide in the north, to the glaciers, fjords and mountain lakes of the south island, New Zealand is home to some of the most picturesque landscapes on the planet.

The country’s scenery is not meant to be quickly devoured, it’s something to be savored. On a road trip through the country you’ll have the freedom and flexibility to pull over to take in scenic vistas and enjoy impromptu winery lunches. Traveling this way also happens to be quite a bit more affordable than airfare or private car service.

Since New Zealand is only roughly 1,000 miles long from tip to tip, driving times between destinations are quite reasonable. The ferry between the North and the South Island also features one of the world’s loveliest views through the Cook Strait.

We’ll introduce you to a few more of the awe-inspiring sights you can take in driving through New Zealand.

new zealand road trip - franz joseph

Jaw-dropping glacier views
Roughly five hours from Queenstown, the drive to Franz Josef Glacier is truly mind-boggling. Winding mountain roads, snow-capped peaks, glacier-fed lakes and waterfalls seem to appear around every corner on this route. While you can do the drive in a day, you might want to pencil in some extra time to stop along the way at charming towns like Arrowtown and Wanaka.

Hobbiton on your own schedule
Driving from Auckland through the Bombay Hills and the Hauraki Plains you’ll reach New Zealand’s farm country. Travel to the town of Matamata, initially renown for its thoroughbred horses, and now home to hobbit holes created for the Lord of the Rings franchise. Opting to do this two-hour drive on your own, rather than on an organized bus tour, will allow you to explore The Shire on your own time.

new zealand road trip - glow worm caves

Glow worm cave explorations
Roughly three hours south of Auckland you’ll find one of New Zealand’s most fascinating attractions, the glow worm caves of Waitomo. Discover limestone shafts, marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites and enjoy a boat ride through a grotto lit by thousands of otherworldly New Zealand glow worms.

Scenic Fjordland vistas
Pulling up to Milford Sound, famed for its mountain peaks, rainforests and wildlife, you’ll quickly realize why it’s one of New Zealand’s top attractions. Driving from Queenstown you’ll enjoy a lakeside drive through lush farm country and the stunning Fjordlands. Once you reach the harbor, board a cruise vessel to get a closer look at the area’s breathtaking scenery.

new zealand road trip - waiheke vineyard

Impromptu vineyard lunches
Many of the quiet roads on Waiheke Island aren’t serviced by public transportation so it’s the perfect place for a relaxed road trip. Known for its laid-back atmosphere as well as its incredible food and wine, you’ll find plenty of places to pull over for a relaxed winery meal complete with gorgeous views.

Explore more privately-guided New Zealand tours.

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