And that is why we recommend traveling by car. This will give you the freedom to explore places not accessible by train or bus. We also strongly advise you to move at a calm pace. No need to rush - you've already made it! Now you're ready to see how New Zealand's landscape changes with every turn in the road.
Zorbing: Kiwis really love extreme sports! Photo: Youtube.com
Air travel from Moscow to Auckland and back in economy class will cost about 200 thousand rubles per person. In total, you will have to spend a couple of days on the way, making several transfers, because there are no direct flights to the Kiwi country.
Automotive Zealand - what do Kiwis drive
According to published statistics, sales of passenger cars over the past 10 months amounted to 96, which is 784% more than last year. Mitsubishi is the leading brand. Dealers of this Japanese brand managed to sell 3,6 cars. In second place, narrowly behind, is Toyota (14). Closes the Top 977 Suzuki, with a score of 14 cars. The following places are located:
✅ Hyundai – 6
✅ Honda - 3293
It must be said that New Zealanders, or "Kiwis" as they call themselves, are an automobile nation. In a country with a population of barely 5 people, 000 million passenger cars are registered. If you subtract from the total number of children, it turns out that every adult has a car.
As far as models are concerned, the picture (over the same period) looks as follows.
✅Mitsubishi Outlander - 8169
✅ Toyota RAV4-5026
✅Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross - 3157
✅ Suzuki Swift - 3129
✅ Kia Sportage - 2738
✅ MG ZS - 2624
✅ Toyota Corolla - 2269
✅ Tesla Model Y - 2259
✅ Hyundai Kona - 2231
This data shows that New Zealanders prefer crossovers: 8 out of 10 models belong to this class. The fact is that the growth of well-being has led to a change in attitude towards the car. New Zealanders rushed out of the cities, moving to live in freedom, in the pampas! As a result, the demand for small city cars is declining, and, according to experts, will continue to decline.
Of course, it is possible to explore New Zealand by train or bus. But only by renting a car, you can visit all regions of this green paradise! After all, New Zealand is an island nation, of which there are over 700. But there are two main ones: North and South. New Zealanders move between them by ferry, but there is a curious nuance in the case of rental cars.
Mitsubishi Outlander is the most popular model among New Zealanders. Photo: Youtube.com
Let's say you're traveling from the North to the South Island using AVIS, Hertz or Firefly. You can leave your rented car at the ferry terminal and transfer to another island where the rental office will provide a similar car. In terms of legal nuances, New Zealand is no different from other countries, with the exception of left-hand traffic. You can drive a car with both international and national "rights", provided that the entries are duplicated in English. And one more thing: a visa is required to visit the country!
Before booking a hotel, find out how things are with parking there. Indeed, often, paid parking in New Zealand can literally ruin. It is also worth checking whether the selected hotel has Wi-Fi free: in many places this is a paid service. This is a very important nuance if you like to be in touch with the world, even when you are on vacation on the other side of the world.
Well, it's time to leave the hospitable Auckland. The discovery of New Zealand must begin with the Murivai beach. The road will take about 40 minutes, but what you see is worth it! The rugged wild beauty of this place is stunning, and the coastline is especially impressive during sunset.
Murivai beach. Photo: Youtube.com
If you love road trips as much as we do, then don't be too lazy to drop by the Coromandel Peninsula before heading to Rotorua. It is famous for its picturesque beaches and forests. You will have to spend an additional 3 hours on the road, but it's worth it!
Locals joke that you can feel Rotorua before you see it. And this is true. The place is known for its sulfur pools and bubbling geothermal springs. The smell of sulfur is everywhere. Be sure to visit Tikitere - "Hell's Gate". This is one of the most spectacular reserves in the world, because the heat source here is very close to the Earth's surface. Hissing steam pools and unique bubbling mud volcanoes will make you marvel at Mother Nature's creations. The Maori (natives) used these sulphurous and acidic waters to treat illnesses and wounds.
Be sure to visit the Wai-O-Tapu Nature Reserve, also known as the Thermal Wonderland. This name perfectly reflects the essence of this place. After all, here you can see incredibly colorful manifestations of thermal activity - entire pools with orange, green and yellow water are adjacent to smoking geysers.
One of the colored lakes in the Wai-O-Tapu Reserve. Photo: Youtube.com
The next point of our road trip will be Lake Taupo (which is described in the novel The Children of Captain Grant), formed as a result of a volcanic eruption. This is the ideal location for the 17 km hike to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The outskirts of Taupo give way to a highway through the desert, which, in turn, quickly gives way to flower fields and vineyards with cliffs on the horizon. This part of New Zealand's North Island trip is sure to captivate the most skeptical tourists!
So, we got to the capital of New Zealand, Wellington. It's time to leave the hospitable North Island and move to the South. This is where the real fun begins for the lover of car travel, because the magic of mother nature is everywhere here. You will remember the trip along the Great Alpine Highway for a lifetime! And if during the trip you have a feeling of deja vu, it is because episodes of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings and Wolverine were filmed here.
Hobbit village. Photo: Youtube.com
In the heart of New Zealand is Arthur's Pass, the highest pass through the Southern Alps, a village and a national park. It will definitely be one of the most picturesque places you will see.
The next point of interest is Wanaka. This small town is the perfect place to explore the Southern Alps. Queenstown is just a few kilometers away. But this path will be long. After all, you will have to constantly stop to take pictures of the beautiful views. There are 2 ways to get to Queenstown. Through Queensbury and Cromwell, or through the Crown Range. Take the second route, it's an insanely beautiful road with a little bit of everything: sparkling lakes, ice-covered peaks and stunning valleys. In the middle of the way you will come to Cardrona, a small town where you can stop and have a coffee. From Queenstown go to Glenorchy and from there to a place called Paradise. Several films were filmed here, including The Lord of the Rings and The Wolverine.
"Motorcycle Mecca" is not only a motorcycle museum, but also a cafe! Photo: Youtube.com
The final point of the route will be the "city of water and light" Invercargill. This is the southern tip of Southland and part-time its capital. Here you can take a break from the road. Invercargill is definitely a gourmet destination. So you'll probably want to try southern beer, blue cod, or premium beef. And be sure to order the cheese rolls! True car enthusiasts should visit Meccaspresso Cafe. Oh, not because of the delicious coffee or signature sauce! This place is also a museum of vintage motorcycles. The highlight of the capital of Southland, without a doubt, are exhibitions of technology. It is also the birthplace of Bert Munro, the hero of the movie The Fastest Indian.
Is it worth it to go
If we discard the need to obtain a visa and the duration of the flight, then there can be only one answer: definitely! Indeed, in a road trip around New Zealand, you can see Alaska, Ireland, Switzerland and Norway at the same time. The biggest problem will be to force yourself to leave the paradise island, returning to everyday worries.