As winter takes a back seat and we move further into spring it’s a great time to go on a road trip – especially in the South Island. The sight of lambs and calves lining roadside paddocks, flowers and trees blooming with the snow-capped peaks of the alps in the distance are unique to this part of New Zealand, if not the world.
To make the most of your time here, it’s well worth getting to know what you’re getting into. So, with that in mind, we’ve thought of a few things you should bear in mind as you experience our backyard for yourself.
Get to know your car
Having potentially just rented one of our luxury vehicles, our staff will have given you an induction on the ins and outs of your new set of wheels. However, it can be a bit to take in all at once. If you’re already on the road or are still thinking about which car is right for your trip, think of this as a reminder to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth with all the mod-cons on offer.
Bluetooth, audio and hands-free
Some of our newer vehicles come equipped with full Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to pair your phone to answer any calls and listen to your favourite music without having to take a hand off the wheel. Many of our vehicles that don’t offer Bluetooth do allow for USB connectivity, giving you the same power musically while charging your phone at the same time – a win win on long road trips.
An added bonus when your bags are packed into the boot, a rear-vision or reversing camera lets you see what’s directly behind your car without having to get out and check. Especially handy getting in and out of car parks, trying to squash your luggage down to see out the back window will become a thing of the past.
4WD and AWD
For anyone looking to head off-road we highly recommend hiring a car made to handle it. With the variance in weather we expect at this time of year you could face a dry and dusty track one day and a slippery stretch of mud the next. If you’re keen to head up any of the mountains for some spring skiing or snowboarding as well, carrying a pair of snow chains are essential. To make it easy you can hire them from us when you pick up your vehicle and we’re more than happy to show you how to fit them.
Get to know our roads
More so for those who haven’t driven in New Zealand before but valuable a reminder nonetheless, our roads are certainly unique. Hardwearing chipseal is the most common surface you’ll drive over in the South Island and its used just about everywhere because it’s flexible and hardwearing in our diverse climate. It’s important to be extra cautious while driving with the extremes we expect here in spring, especially when it comes to rain and black ice. More common in the mornings and on shaded areas of highway it can strike without warning, so be sure to keep an eye out for signposts and frost when you’re on the road.
Get the directions to somewhere awesome
Regardless of whether you’re picking up a car in Christchurch or Queenstown, you have access to amazing sights right across the South Island. One of the advantages we have here is that just about any highway will take you to or through some incredible scenery worth showing off to all your friends. Here are a few of our favourites that we know you’ll enjoy.
Queenstown to Glenorchy Road: 45 minutes (without stops for photos) of pristine lake and bush with the alps off in the distance. A must for any Lord of the Rings fans, locations around Glenorchy were used in all three films.
The Alpine Pacific Triangle: A six and half hour loop with a stop in Hanmer Springs on the way home. Taking State Highway One north to Kaikoura offers spectacular views right the way up the coast. Whale and seal watching from the Kaikoura Peninsula are popular day trips, as is relaxing in the historic spa town of Hanmer Springs on the way back.
The Inland Scenic Route: Taking Highway 72 from Christchurch to Geraldine and back through Ashburton, this 475km journey takes you over the Waimakariri and Rakaia Rivers to the base of Mount Hutt, the largest ski area in the South Island. Spend a night in Methven or Geraldine before heading to Ashburton and meandering through some of New Zealand’s prime farming landscapes on the way back to Christchurch – a true Canterbury experience.