- On the left
- “roundabouts” go in a clockwise direction.
- Divided freeways are limited to the Auckland area.
- Highways are two lanes with periodic passing lanes.
- One way bridges are the norm, so be aware of oncoming traffic.
- Traffic signals are only in LARGE cities (Auckland mainly)
- Picnic areas and public toilets are pointed out by blue road signs.
- Picnic areas outnumber toilets 50 to one.
- Roads are VERY winding and often precipitous.
- WARNING: If you suffer from car sickness you may want to reconsider a road trip in New Zealand.
- Gas (petrol) stations are few and far between on the open road, so keep your tank at least half full.
- A town name on the road map, doesn’t indicate a town. There may be nothing more than an intersection.
- Gas costs $2.15 NZD per litre. This equates to $8 NZD per gallon or $7 USD (as of today March 26, 2014).
Rental Car vs RV:
- Reserve your car in advance. Supplies are limited, especially in smaller areas. You may be told there are none available at the last minute.
- If you rent a car, be aware that insurance is mandatory and cannot be waived.
- There is a Excess Insurance amount of $3,000 NZD which is your deductible. It will cost you an extra $35 NZD per day to waive this deductible. If you book through the NZ Auto Club with Thrify, this amount is reduced by $11 NZD per day. Since we don’t normally drive on the left, we opted to pay the extra amount per day.
- If you are a member of your countries Auto Club, you probably have reciprocity with New Zealand. If so, see my comments below on “Auto Club”.
- If you opt for an RV be aware of the following:
- Narrow winding roads are more difficult to maneuver in a wider vehicle.
- Gas consumption is generally greater than a passenger vehicle.
- One option for renting an RV, with a smaller frame is to use Jucy Rentals. http://www.jucy.co.nz/vehicles/ These are converted passenger vans.
- If you are an auto club member in a country with reciprocity, you need to register with the New Zealand Automobile Association. They will issue you a free New Zealand AA card. You can use this card for fuel and rental car discounts. Thrifty is the NZ AA rental car partner. You can book a Thrifty rental on line with your NZ AA club card, once you have it.
Food Along the Way:
- There is no proliferation of fast food chains. Don’t expect to find a McDonald’s outside of a major metropolitan area.
- You will find individual cafe’s along the way. We found these ALWAYS to be clean, friendly and predictable.
- Food seems expensive, but prices include tax and tips.
- Food choices will include:
- Toasted sandwiches
- Meat pies
- Sweet bakery items
- Fish and chips
- Hamburgers (sometimes). Be aware they include a fried egg. They also sometimes include beetroot and bacon.
- We never saw a Starbucks.
- All of the cafes serve the same coffee menu:
- Flat white – Double shot of espresso with steamed milk. Similar to a latte but with more coffee.
- Long Black – A double shot of espresso poured over hot water. This is similar to an Americano.
- Short Black- basic espresso
- Not required. We were told by a NZ couple that the staff are paid adequately. You only tip for EXCEPTIONAL service.
- We opted for hotels and vacation rentals that included kitchen facilities.
- We found that everywhere we stayed, they gave you a pint of milk upon check in. No non-dairy creamer in this country.