New Zealand’s Best Scenic Drives
New Zealand’s wide open spaces and unspoilt natural beauty have long made it a favourite among local and international drivers, who can take to tried-and-tested routes to discover the picturesque landscape of the south-west Pacific nation at their own pace.
From uphill climbs to majestic lakes and fabulous flora, driving in New Zealand is the perfect way to explore the attractive country – whatever your starting point. Whether you’re a New Zealand native or taking a hire car from one of the cities on a foreign holiday, you’ll see the country in a new light when heading off the beaten track to discover its most awe-inspiring vistas from the comfort of your vehicle.
Some of New Zealand’s routes, such as the famous Milford Road, have been named among the most scenic in the world, and this journey can be considered a must if you’re driving in the Southern Alps. The area of Milford Sound has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but you won’t be doing any damage by viewing it from the popular tourist trail of State Highway 94. At its peak, Milford Road reaches 940 metres above sea level, commanding breathtaking views of rainforests, waterfalls and sheer mountains that reach thousands of feet into the air.
For a route that offers plenty of opportunities for stop-offs, head to the Blue and Green Lakes of Rotorua. As well as taking in the splendour of the lakes themselves, you can see sights such as the Buried Village before stopping off for a picnic with the family. If you haven’t brought your own food, you’ll also find no shortage of caf?Ã¯Â¿Â½s on the route, such as the Landing Cafe at Lake Tarawera.
As spectacular as the natural scenery may be, driving in New Zealand is also an ideal chance to visit upmarket areas such as Mission Bay, cruising past majestic stately homes for a taste of luxury – best accomplished if you own or hire a classic car, which will help you fit right in. You can also indulge in some traditional tourist shopping when taking your car to Mellow Martinborough, only a short distance from Wellington.
Because of the steep terrain and changeable weather conditions, driving across New Zealand requires caution and a vehicle that’s kept in good condition. Make sure you sort out car windscreen repair and any other services your vehicle needs before venturing out to discover the scenic wilderness.