New Zealand: a driver's paradise

21:10, Feb 12 2012
Aoraki Mt Cook
GODZONE: Aoraki Mt Cook at the head of Lake Pukaki, seen from State Highway 80.

Where to go for a good drive? It's a question we're often asked at NZ Autocar magazine, and here in New Zealand we are spoiled for choice.

As our Top 10 NZ Roads countdown showed, great drives can be characterised by the scenery, the destination, or the road type itself.

In New Zealand we are blessed in that you can usually find a road that has all three of these aspects rolled into one.

A real bonus for the enthusiastic New Zealand motorist is the abundance and accessibility of great drives.

Our country has a diverse topography in a relatively compact land mass, so these beaut roads and destinations are never too far away.

In other parts of the world, you can face hours of monotonous motorway travel just to reach a road of interest, only to find the excitement is over all too quickly, or that it's choked-up with traffic.


You wonder what the fuss is all about.  

In New Zealand, even when living in the most densely populated and narrowest part of the country, it doesn't take long before you are on a great backroad, sometimes to nowhere in particular, enjoying the flowing tarmac.

Further south, you have even more choice as the land mass sprawls out.

It's worth dusting off the old road atlas and plotting out a route that looks particularly twisty.

Chances are it'll be a road less trafficked, especially if you're tackling it on a weekday, though Fridays can be a bit hectic with those taking a long weekend.

Don't be afraid of no-exit roads either - they can lead to places of interest you would otherwise miss.

And should you stumble on a great piece of road, you get the pleasure of traversing it again on your way back out.

There's a chance of gravel, but again, nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Our metal roads are undoubtedly the best in the world, and should be embraced rather than avoided.

Trust me, you'll meet some interesting folk along these types of roads.

Tomorrow we'll talk about what to look out for when you're on the road. In the meantime, comment below and tell us your favourite thing about driving in New Zealand.