How to Relax on Long Drives in New Zealand
As New Zealand‘s largest travel guide, it’s only appropriate for us to share our tips on how to handle the infamous long drives in New Zealand and ways to relax on a road trip. Holidaying in New Zealand is all about the journey, rather than staying at just one destination, which is a new way to travel for many of us. Make it as fun and relaxing as possible with our advice on how to relax on a long drive.
Want to know how long the drives are in New Zealand? Check out The New Zealand Travelling & Driving Times You NEED to Know.
1. Plan Your Route
Avoid stresses that might occur if you, for instance, take a wrong turn or end up taking the “edge-of-a-mountain-dirt-road” route to get to a destination. The latter tends to happen when following the navigation on Google Maps in New Zealand, just so you know. Plan your route, as well as any walks or sights you’d like to stop at along the way. That way, you’ll be prepared to pull over rather than regretting having driven right by.
Find out how to make an itinerary for New Zealand with How to Create the Perfect New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary.
2. Give Yourself Plenty of Time to Get There
Over-scheduling adds extra stress! It’s no fun to have to drive straight to a destination with a strict timeline and worrying whether you’re going to make it on time to catch your tour, for instance. Many of New Zealand’s roads are winding, especially on the South Island, making a usually short drive on a motorway so much longer. Plan yourself extra time to get to your destination.
For more safety tips for the road, check out 15 Driving Safety Tips for New Zealand.
3. Pack Some Road Trip Snacks
While lunch or dinner is a good reason to take a break while on the road (more on that later), snacks are a good way to boost your energy levels and your mood! Choose snacks that are easy for the driver to eat, like an apple, dried fruit, cookies or flapjacks, and well within reach if you don’t have passengers to hand them over.
Don’t know where to get some snacks? Check out our complete guide to Food Shopping in New Zealand.
4. Keep Kids Entertained
If you’re travelling with children, make sure they’re entertained too! No one wants the stress of a grumpy kid in the back seat. Play car games with them, like the classic “I Spy” or “Who Am I?”. Having a tablet or phone to play games or watch shows is always a handy backup.
For more family-friendly tips, head to The Travel Guide to New Zealand for Families.
5. Keep Your Vehicle Clean
A messy car is a messy mind. Even if you’re renting a car or campervan, these things can get messy pretty quickly. Travel with a rubbish bag to tidy up all of those road trip snacks. If you’re in a campervan, unpack your suitcase into the storage areas provided so everything is easy to find.
6. Take a Break
There are many reasons to take a break while on the road in New Zealand: waterfalls, scenic lookouts, short walks… But remember to stop for a bathroom break or shopping break if you need to stock up on any supplies. Walking around and getting the blood pumping will make your legs, butt and bladder feel so much better.
7. Let Dodgy Drivers and Traffic Pass
There are some annoying drivers on the road. Some will cut in front of you or, more commonly in New Zealand, tailgate you. Don’t stress about “keeping them happy”; just drive as you were and let them pass when it’s safe to do so. This also goes for if traffic is building up behind you; let them pass at the next passing lane or when it’s safe to pull into a rest stop.
Check out more handy road rules to know in The 15 Essential Driving Rules in New Zealand.
8. Synchronise Your Clothing
No, we don’t mean everyone needs to wear matching tracksuits. But in order to keep everyone at a comfortable temperature, make sure you’re all wearing the same layers of clothing before you get into the car. You don’t want someone shivering in their T-shirt or others sweating in their jacket.
9. Stay Hydrated
With bathroom stops on your agenda, there’s no excuse not to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help you stay more alert on the road, therefore relax you. Tap water is safe to drink in New Zealand so save the planet by taking a reusable bottle or two.
For more sustainable tips, check out the 31 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in New Zealand.
10. Play Games with Travel Buddies or Make a Playlist
While it’s obviously important to concentrate on the road, once you get out of the cities and have fewer hazards to look out for, relax by playing some car games with your travel buddies! For instance, print out a list of questions from the internet to get to know them better (or come up with some questions on your own; we know you can do it). If you’re travelling solo, prepare a road trip playlist or audiobook to enjoy listening to while you soak up the scenery.
More Ways to Handle the Long Drives in New Zealand
That’s it for our list of ways to handle the long drives in New Zealand, as well as ways to relax on the road. But that’s by no means the end of our driving advice, so take a look at these for more:
- Driving in New Zealand: Everything You NEED to Know
- Travel By Car: How to Plan a Road Trip in New Zealand
- 10 Things We Like About a Road Trip in New Zealand
Finally, don’t forget to check out the average New Zealand driving times over at The New Zealand Travelling & Driving Times You NEED to Know.