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Three of NZ’s best summer road trips

2020’s almost over! After the year we’ve just had, we all need a good long break somewhere beautiful and quiet.

To help you escape the city and enjoy beautiful New Zealand this summer, we’ve whipped up a guide to three of the best road trips in the country.

 

Mackenzie Country lakes & mountains

Queenstown and Otago Lakes gets all the accolades and most of the visitors, but we reckon Mackenzie Country is even better. The area is all wide open plains, towering mountains, and crystal clear lakes – beautiful driving scenery.

Lake Tekapo is worth a visit during lupin season when its shores are covered in the multicoloured flowers. Lake Pukaki is also a must-see and it’s just a short drive away. It’s the largest body of water in the area and it’s an impossibly blue colour thanks to glacial silt that runs into it from the nearby mountains.

Next, visit Aoraki Mt Cook – the country’s tallest mountain and, we’d argue, its most impressive sight. The road leading to it is straight for miles, surrounded by the gigantic peaks. If you’ve got your camping gear, book a night at White Horse campground at the base of the mountain and do the Hooker Valley Track. It’s about 3.5 hours return and takes you to a stunning glacier at the very foot of Mt Cook.

Auckland to Coromandel

Coromandel is home to some of New Zealand’s best beaches, the ultimate road trip destination. Escape the city and drive south on State Highway One where you’ll eventually see the State Highway Two turnoff to Coromandel.

Give that a miss and continue on State Highway One to see one of NZ’s most charming small towns – Pokeno. Check out the historic homes throughout town and grab a gigantic 15 scoop ice cream from the Pokeno Store.

Turn back to state highway two and take the winding road toward the coromandel township. It’s a tricky drive but the reward is worth it once you reach Whitianga – this little town has a beautiful beach (Mercury Bay) and heaps of great accommodation right on the beachfront. While you’re here, make sure you visit Hot Water Beach, New Chums and Cathedral Cove.

Nelson to Wanaka

The North Island’s roads just can’t compare to this scenic stretch between Nelson & Wanaka. If you’ve got time, take the day before you start and head up to Kaiteriteri – a beautiful golden beach on the cusp of the Abel Tasman National Park. From here, you can take a ferry into the park and chill on the beach or hike through the native bush.

Once you’re done, take the state highway down to the west coast and stop at Hokitika if you need a break. The Hokitika Gorge is a must-see while you’re here, with scenic hikes along the river and through lush hills.

Keep going south on state highway six toward Wanaka on day two. The driving along the west coast is especially scenic, especially when you pass the Aoraki Mountain range and the Franz Josef Glacier (which is also well worth stopping to explore). After a few more hours through mountains and alongside lakes, you’ll arrive at Wanaka, which may just be New Zealand’s most scenic town. Once you’ve arrived, we’d argue you’ve earned a beer on the lake with a view of the mountains!

Are you heading off on a road trip this summer? Reckon we’ve missed one of NZ’s best road trips? Let us know! Otherwise, drive safe, enjoy your break, have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

 

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