Road Trip New Zealand: An Essential Guide

Road Trip New Zealand: An Essential Guide

4 April 2017

By The Two Bohemians

Having an awesome road trip should be on everyone's bucket list and so should visiting New Zealand, so why not kill two birds with one stone? New Zealand is practically road trip heaven with its amazing landscapes and outstanding scenery, you are guaranteed to make unforgettable memories. So for those of you who are interested in hitting the open road, here are a few pointers to help you have an awesome time as you travel through Aotearoa, 'The Land of the Long White Cloud'. Happy road trippin!


The most important part of any road trip would be choosing your mode of transport, New Zealand has a large number of camper van rentals so you're stuck for choice when deciding what vehicle to choose for your adventure. If you are looking down the budget route then Jucy and Spaceships will have you covered, if you are wanting something more upmarket Maui and Kea are great. 

Are you hunting down the cheapest New Zealand campervan quote? Did you know that Backpackers World can you this for you? Get your free quote now.


Road Trip New Zealand: An Essential Guide

Roadtrip Buddies

There are two great benefits of having a company join you on a road trip. The first is more than obvious, you are guaranteed to have an amazing time laughing, joking, creating memories with each other. The second is that sharing costs will help you save a hell of a lot on the road. A $40 tank of petrol can easily become $10 if split four ways, like wise with food shopping. All your money saved from splitting costs between friends can now be put towards doing one of New Zealand's many adrenaline-seeking activities like bungy jumping, skydiving, or rafting.



Where will I camp? Where will I shower? What about a map? These are the major questions you ask yourself when hitting the road, but don't worry because apps like WikiCamps and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have got you covered. These apps are essential for any NZ road trip, they will help you save money on campsite fees and time spent aimlessly wandering looking for a 'decent' camp spot when the sun went down two hours ago. It will show you where you can sleep, shower, go to the toilet, but more importantly show reviews people have left so you can avoid those shady camp spots.

Road Trip New Zealand: An Essential Guide

Take your rubbish with you

If you're freedom camping make sure your van is self-contained. Laws are getting stricter because travellers and holidaymakers like to leave their mess wherever go. To help preserve the beautiful nature of New Zealand and to avoid getting a $200 fine make sure you tidy up after yourself and leave the place as you found it, no one likes to roll up with rubbish everywhere so just be cool.


Even though NZ isn't as large as other countries things can still be rural, some spots that you visit may be quiet and have nothing around for miles i.e. the East Cape or West Coast. It helps if you stock up on your supplies before driving off into the sun, grab as much water as you can and make sure you're well supplied with tins and long-lasting foods. The number of stories we heard from people getting stranded on hot days with little water scarred us enough to always be prepared. Also having a jerry can is a good shout, it will definitely help you out in times of dire need and long haul drives.

Road Trip New Zealand: An Essential Guide

Keep your eyes on the road

According to NZ's ministry of transport, about 77 percent of overseas drivers that are involved in crashes are short-term visitors to New Zealand, a road trip can soon turn sour if you're not paying attention at the wheel. As much as you would like to take in the scenic views and wildlife around you, make sure you keep an eye out on the road ahead, you never really know what's around the corner.

Make list's

By now you must know that NZ is a playground for adventure. It has waterfalls mountains, surf beaches, bustling cities, volcanoes, smelly geothermal spots, movie locations, plus a lot more. There is so much, it will make you giddy, do your research beforehand and map out all the important locations you wish to see on your trip. Passing a must-see spot and having to circle back can become quite frustrating and time-consuming.

Road Trip New Zealand: An Essential Guide

Its all about the journey

If you're more of the type to just go with the flow? That's cool, NZ has some pretty amazing scenic drives (all signposted very well might we add) that take you along coastal roads or mountain paths, you can easily get lost in the beautiful country. Just sit back and enjoy the ride, don't feel as if you need to rush through the trip, stop as much as you want and gaze endlessly at the beautiful landscape, the Forgotten World Highway (Highway 43) is a perfect example of this.

Make a playlist

What's a road trip without an amazing playlist to sing along to or make you dance in your seat? Definitely an essential when on the road, gather your favourite songs and put them on your phones, iPods, or whatever music device you have. Great songs can make your trip just that bit more epic, if you're struggling to find a decent playlist for your taste, Spotify has a few great ones. Even after the road trip has finished, you will still reminisce on the amazing memories you made all because of a few epic songs.

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