There’s no question that New Zealand is an extremely popular destination for tourists, and why not? The islands are beautiful, offering some of the most amazing scenery in the world in addition to friendly people and several happening cities to boot. There are few ways that are better to explore this amazing nation than renting a campervan. When it comes to finding a good campervan hire New Zealand visitors will find they have plenty of options, but you definitely need to keep an eye on the weather and the seasons so you can drive safely.
Familiarize Yourself with NZ’s Road Rules Beforehand
When driving it is so easy to fall back to instinct and if you’re not familiar with the various ins and outs of how the traffic laws work in the country and that can lead to a serious mistake. The best way to help fight this off is to make sure you not only familiarize yourself with the road rules in New Zealand and common concerns, but to review them daily.
This goes beyond remembering to drive on the left side of the road, and how that affects which side is your “blind side” when making a turn, although it’s definitely helpful to make sure you’re on the correct side of the road when driving. If you’re going to drive safely in New Zealand you need to understand how roundabouts work, that most bridges are one way (if you see a sign with two arrows, the bigger arrow tells you which direction has right of way).
New Zealand roads tend to be extremely windy and full of curves in many places, so don’t rush. Understanding how the roads are likely setup in addition to the specific rules will help you navigate your winter travels well.
Watch the Weather Reports
Winter weather and temperature reports can vary greatly throughout the winter, sometimes even in the same day. Rain, hail, slush, snow, and ice are all possibilities and if you’re unlucky it is fully possible to see rain in the morning, and then the temperature drops and turns it into ice before the snow starts walling. You want to make sure you’re on top of the weather. Depending on where you were planning on driving, you may decide with a weather report that it’s a good day to spend extra time where you are or maybe take the other highway until the patterns shift.
You want to be informed because that can strongly influence how comfortable you are with driving a campervan in the winter, especially if you’re in an area with rough roads. If you’re also still somewhat uncomfortable or not used to the traffic laws in New Zealand then you don’t want to have to deal with that and then also be struggling with the weather.
Winter driving in New Zealand can be especially hazardous, so make sure you’re prepared and focus traveling on clear days when possible.
If in Doubt, Slow & Cautious
This is always a good safety tip for traveling in New Zealand. Remember that although you might not be dealing with as many herds of sheep across back country roads during the winter as you would in the summer, there are still unique potential obstacles in various parts of the country and you want to make sure you’re prepared. This includes thin coastal roads, steep inclines and declines, and one way bridges that receive decent amounts of traffic.
If in doubt, go a bit below the speed limit – and remember that is in km/hr and not mph. Huge difference, especially when it comes to higher numbers or extremely curvy and winding roads.
Follow these safety tips and you’ll be able to enjoy driving through New Zealand safely even in the winter.