How to Plan a New Zealand Road Trip

How to plan for a New Zealand trip via @tbookjunkie

Awe-inspiring landscapes, endless wilderness, and dramatic scenes are the order of the day when it comes to adventuring in New Zealand. The natural landscape has captured the imaginations of countless creatives, from Witi Ihimaera’s writings of his home country to Peter Jackson’s stroke of genius in capturing The Lord of the Rings films there. New Zealand’s natural beauty is perhaps unparalleled by any other country and you’re lucky enough to be embarking on a road trip there. In order to ensure that your trip is the experience of a lifetime it always pays to do a little forward planning. These are our tips on making sure that you experience the best that New Zealand has to offer.

New Zealand has such a dramatic landscape

New Zealand has such a dramatic landscape it’s impossible not to fall in love with it (Image provided by Unsplash)

Organize Your Route around New Zealand

The first and most exciting part of planning any road trip is deciding on your route. This will obviously depend almost entirely on the time that you have available to you. New Zealand is a huge country and if you’ve only got a week or so then you’re going to have to accept that you won’t see all of it. In this case, write down a list of the ten places you’d like to visit the most and whittle them down to a sensible geographical area. It can be tempting to cram in as much driving as possible, but you’ll end up sick of being on the road and annoyed at how little time you have to spend in each spot. Some people find great inspiration from friends and family who’ve been traveling in New Zealand and have personal recommendations, whilst others might be more inspired by books and films. Don’t be swayed from your path by anybody, no matter how well-meaning, if you’re sure that you want to see Hobbiton then don’t switch it out for a tour of Auckland instead, even if you enjoy Auckland, you’ll always wonder if you would have enjoyed running around pretending to be a hobbit a little more. 

For those in the UK looking to recreate a Hobbiton experience, please check out West Stow Pods near Bury St Edmunds.

Plan For Downtime

You’re going to need to plan for a little downtime on your trip. Sometimes cars break down, sometimes the driver needs a break and sometimes it’s just too darn hot to go anywhere. In these moments it’s good to have plenty of choices to keep you amused. Of course, a great book is an essential that we’d never be without, but it can be fun to have some other options too. The gamers in the car might want to spend a few minutes clicking through some online games, in which case it’s a good idea to know what’s available to play in this country. Gaming sites can vary from place to place, so your usual favourites might be replaced by some games that you can only find whilst travelling. There’s plenty of information on which gaming sites can be used in New Zealand at CasinoReviews. You’ll also find information on bonuses for those looking to enjoy games from the arcade and casino genres. 

If you’re more of a sociable gamer then it’s a good idea to bring a pack of cards, or even brush up on your library of classic road trip games. I-spy, Twenty Questions, and Yellow Car are all silly but fun places to start your collection of road trip games. They require no equipment, they can teach you a little about your fellow road-trippers and when things get really boring, they can boost morale. If you did bring cards with you then you could play a whole bunch of different games too, which again, will help speed things along if you get stuck, broken down, or you’re just doing a super long stint of driving. Rummy, Knock Out Whist and Karma are all excellent games to learn beforehand as the rules are simple enough to teach whilst you’re on the move, but the games are seriously competitive, perfect for keeping everyone amused.

Library bookshelves are always worth exploring

Getting some holiday reading together is essential (photo provided from Unsplash)

Collate Your Library

One of the things that any voracious reader loves about planning a trip is choosing a selection of books that will inspire their journey, educate them about the history of their destination, or are simply written by somebody who calls that place home. You might already have your choice of books picked out, but if you don’t then at travelling book junkie, we love picking out travel libraries and this handful could be a good starting point.

As we mentioned before, Witi Ihimaera is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated writers so it would be a crime not to enjoy a book or two of his whilst on your trip. Pounamu Pounamu is a modern classic, a series of short stories giving an insight into what life is like as a Maori person living in New Zealand. Those looking to plan a few hikes in amongst the driving should try Wild Journeys by Bruce Ansley. This book is filled with information about travellers who’ve explored New Zealand both in the present day and even myths from times gone by. It’s the perfect adventure book that will leave you filled with wanderlust and the urge to retrace the steps of those who came before you.

Have you visited New Zealand? Where would you recommend as the No.1 spot for someone that has never been before? What books about the country, whether fictional or factual, would you suggest others read before they visit?

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