What South Island road trips are made of: Camping on the Milford Road with the Aston
Ever since moving to the South Island a few years ago, I had been itching to do a road trip but my old Nissan Terrano was never up to it.
Don't get me wrong, he gets me where I need to go in all road conditions, but sometimes you just want to experience these epic roads from behind the wheel of something that zips and flies.
The roads around New Zealand, especially in the mountainous South Island are thrilling and scenic; it's a land made for long car journeys. But you want to do it right. Do it in an Aston Martin convertible.
And what could be a more scenic place to take a road trip in an Aston than to Milford Sound? Ignition Self Drive is a relatively new luxury car hire that opened in Queenstown that lets you to live out your James Bond fantasies.
When a friend came to visit, I knew I had to take her to Fiordland, and I also wanted to surprise her with a fun ride. The experience of travelling what are New Zealand's most scenic roads in a luxury sports car is not something I'll ever forget.
I love road trips and being behind the wheel, but once I slid into the low, soft leather seats of the Aston Martin and turned it on, which by the way makes the best sound ever, I knew I was in for a wild ride.
While part of me devilishly wanted to slam my foot down, my cautious side won as usual. So yes, if you were stuck in traffic on the Devil's Staircase out of Queenstown one sunny afternoon in December, that might have been my fault as I pretty much went 70 kmh for the first hour of the trip.
Maybe it's just the fact that it's so close to the ground, maybe it's just the sexy purring noises but it often felt like I was going faster than I was..
Either way, you don't forget you are riding a stallion and not a pony. Once I loosened up, that was when the real fun began and by the end of the trip I frequently had to rein myself in and keep from gunning it.
If you haven't been to Milford Sound, trust me when I say it's pretty much the most epic, fun and beautiful road in New Zealand. You will spend the few hours between Te Anau and Milford with your mouth continually open.
The Milford Road is stunning, and I've driven it dozens of times in all sorts of weather, but absolutely nothing beats experiencing it in a convertible that goes from zero to 100 in less than five seconds.
There are plenty of photo stops, hikes, walks and viewpoints along the way, so if you have the time I definitely suggest going for a few days.
Since accommodation is limited, camping is a great way to stay out there, and there is no better conversation starter in a DOC campsite than pitching your tent next to an Aston Martin.
I'm not a car aficionado, and I don't pretend to be. I'm not obsessed with the specs or the engine, and while I could ramble off key facts about it, I have no idea what they actually mean.
But let me tell you, you don't need to be one to enjoy driving an Aston Martin or any other luxury car.
We live in a world where the stereotype for loving fast cars is firmly a male endeavour, but I'm here to tell you, it shouldn't be.
I'm in it for the adventure. I'm in it for the story. I'd always been content driving old cars, but now I've tasted a bit of luxury and speed, I'm hooked. There is nothing more special than driving to a magical place in a magical car that truly makes you feel like you're flying.