If you’re looking for a road trip destination this summer (or even next winter) cast your gaze no further than across the ditch to the great land of the Kiwis, New Zealand. Whether it’s North Island or South, our next door neighbours have some mighty fine landscapes to discover.
Exploring new places on your own is a bloody pleasure, and one that everyone should experience. On a solo road trip, not only do you have total control of the playlist, what you eat, how often you stop for coffee and the relief of no one blowing up at you for misreading the map, but cruising alone through nature is pretty much what freedom feels like. Go get it.
Driving Is A Breeze
Unlike trying to navigate the roads somewhere further abroad, driving in New Zealand is much like driving in Australia – you’re on the left-hand side of the road, the speed limits are similar, as are alcohol limits. Everything is very well signposted and there are not many roads to navigate, making it pretty hard to get lost.
Although there’s the danger of veering off the road as you crane your neck to get one last glimpse of that stunning mountain view, there’s a much lower chance a roo will bound into your lane while you’re coasting at a solid 120km/h down the highway.
It’s Super Close To Home
No matter where you’re exploring, the odds are, not everything will go to plan. Maybe you lose your wallet, drop your phone into a lake, reverse into another rental car. Whatever it is, it’s nice to know that if it happens while you’re in NZ, home is just a hop, skip and a jump across the ditch. Not a 24 hour transit across the globe.
Not sure if you know this, but New Zealand is full of mountains, packed to the heavens like sky scrapers. And where there’s no mountains, there are empty beaches and lush green fields and rivers and rainforests. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll turn a corner and there they’ll be, all together in one beautiful, other-worldly panorama, and you’ll think ‘what have I been doing all this time not being in New Zealand?’
Despite how similar Aussies and Kiwis may be in terms of national culture, the landscape in NZ is unlike anything we have in Aus. It’s not uncommon to drive for five hours in Aus and see not much other than drought-stricken farmland. In New Zealand, you can’t drive five minutes down the road without whispering, ‘What the heck? How is this real?’ under your breath.
Aussies Don’t Need A Visa
The beautiful sibling-rivalry relationship between Aus and NZ means that we’ll pay each other out over sport and the way we pronounce words, but deep down, we really just want to hang out with each other. Lucky for Aussie citizens, we can rock up to NZ whenever we please. No visa? No worries, come in anyway bro! Which makes NZ prime for those last-minute spontaneous adventures and dropping bulk dollars on a flight the night before.
English Is The Primary Language
When you’re travelling alone, having one less barrier to access help, seek recommendations and meet new people is pretty priceless. Having a yarn in NZ is as easy as it is at home, although it may take you a couple of days to get your head around the Kiwi accent and slang.
New Zealand is kind of a home away from home. Familiar and comfortable, yet new and exciting all at the same time. The perfect place to kick start your crusades as a solo explorer – it’ll give you a taste for adventure, independence and sweet mountain peaks.
New Zealand…ewe should go