Saturday, 9 February 2013

Driving in New Zealand

I wasn’t sure what driving in New Zealand would be like.

The roads are generally very good. They are well maintained with good surfaces. The aggregate used in the roads is much more coarse than in Europe and I am sure tyres would wear out faster here in NZ. Road rash in NZ would be much worse than in other countries.

Generally, the main roads are two-way, with no central division. Outside of the towns, the speed limit is generally 100 kph / 62 mph. Most people drive at that speed, or slightly above. From what I have seen, drivers are generally courteous. Driving in NZ is on the correct side of the road, meaning the left. Coming from the UK, this of course presents no problems at all.

The big difference though is the scenery. On the South Island, the west side generally consists of mountains and the east side is flatter, but still hilly. The roads in the mountains are terrific to drive as they twist and turn, following the landscape. We are in a car and driving is great fun, but riding a motorbike would be fantastic.

According to folklore, the sky as we prepared to leave Te Anau promised poor weather, but it never came....


We drove along the side of Lake Wakatipu on a great road under a glorious blue sky. The car we have rented is a 12 year old Nissan Silvia Varietta with a folding retractable hardtop. It is an unusual car and it is growing on me....


How about this for a great looking road....


North of Queenstown, we took Highway 6 to Wanaka, also known as the Crown Range Road. Full of steep sections, the road rises and falls in dramatic fashion and is a joy to drive. One section has a series of hairpin bends...




Overall, driving here is a great pleasure.

13 comments:

Roger Fleming said...

Those roads are all familar, and I can assure you they are awsome on a bike...one of your pics ooks like the road from Wanaka to Haast, through Mt Aspiring NAtional Park, if it is it is one of the best bikeing roads anywhere in the world...or so i am told..

Charlie6 said...

Great pictures of the roads...caution though, I hear the Kiwis are quite serious about their speed limits.

SonjaM said...

Look at those roads! A convertible is probably the next best thing if a motorcycle is not readily available but I would probably get an itchy throttle hand.

Geoff James said...

Bet you're frothing at the mouth every time a bike comes past! It's 5 years since I've been down there on 2 wheels and you're stirring the juices again :-)

Enjoy......

Arkansas Patti said...

Those roads are awesome but I can tell just from the pictures that a spill on them would really smart.
That lake is beautiful. You really are selling me on NZ.

VStar Lady said...

Awesome vistas. Unbelievable skies, any way you travel under them. I may have to put NewZealand on the bucket list.

Trobairitz said...

ooooh those do look like fun roads. And such beautiful scenery.

Are you leaning around corners as you drive just to imagine doing them on a bike? Drive one handed and twist an imaginary throttle?

mq01 said...

incredible landscape! i bet the people are equally fabulous! looking forward to reading more about this journey...

Rex J. Covington said...

Fantastic photos of the roads and incredible landscape! I would bet the roads are awesome on a motorcycle. Love the post, keep on sharing!

Circle Blue said...

Gee, what everybody else has said!

Interesting observation about the aggregate being courser. I suspect before I began riding I would have thought it odd you would notice such a thing. Not only do I understand it now, I suspect I would notice how it compares to roads here. Ah, perspective.

Thanks for the share,
~Keith

KT Did said...

On my bucket list. Every photo I have seen of it is beautiful!

Gary France said...

Roger – Yes, we did travel on the road through Aspiring National Park. I would love to be riding on these roads!

Charlie6 – I am sure you are right about the speed limits. The roads in the South Island, where we have been so far, are almost deserted, and so most people do travel at around the speed limit. We have only seen one Police car in the last ten days!

Sonja – The convertible is good in this weather, but I am with you on the twitchy throttle hand!

Geoff – Yes, every time I see a bike! I would have thought it obligatory that all new IAM Observers re-acquaint themselves with all of the different types of roads, on both islands.

Patti – NZ is a stunning country. I can only speak so far about the South Island, but we soon move to the North.

VStar Lady – The west side of the South Island is very picturesque. Beautiful snow capped mountains, glaciers, lakes and rivers abound. It deserves to be on your bucket list.

Trobairitz – Leaning no, but imagining them on a bike, yes!

mq01 – You are right, the people are as fabulous as the landscape.

Rex – Any biker would love the roads on the South Island. They are a joy to drive, so doing them on a bike would be tremendous.

Circle Blue - *smiling* I think your comment confirms you are now a biker! Riding a motorcycle makes all of us more observant and hopefully better drivers when we get behind the wheel.

KT Did – If you ever get the chance to move it from your bucket list into the reality pot, grab that chance and take it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, the crown range road. My daily commute for one glorious summer.

I have t get back there soon, and this time I have a motorcycle licence :-).