Safe Tips for Girls Road Trip in New Zealand

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Fara Shabira Arrasya, The Author

Although taking road trips in New Zealand is incredible, many things have to be prepared and considered before starting the journey. Adjusting the rules and planning the tour are just a few of them. In this article, contributor Fara Shabira Arrasya shares some useful tips, especially for girls, when taking road trips in New Zealand. Let’s check it out!

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The best way to enjoy the picturesque views in New Zealand is through a road trip. Travelling with all your female travel mates should not stop you from having a road trip. Here are some tips if you are a female driver and planning to have a New Zealand road trip.

Before the Road Trip

Prepare the driving license; to drive in New Zealand, you can use international driving license or your local driving license with its translation by the sworn translator for up to 12 months based on the dates on the immigration stamp on your passport.

Know the rules; New Zealand drives on the left side just like in Indonesia. Therefore you don’t really need to adjust yourself, but many other rules are so different from Indonesia’s road rule. First, you have to aware of the speed limits on the road, and you must stay on or below the legal speed limits. The maximum speed on any open road is 100 km/h and in an urban area is 50 km/h. Other than that, driver and all the passengers must wear seatbelts, either in front or rear seats.
The safest way to overtake the slow vehicles only in passing bay, where the usual one lane turns into two lanes, and you can exceed the slow vehicles, or when the road marking is the long dashed white lines on a long straight road. Otherwise, just be patient and keep the distance to the slow vehicle in front of you.
Always prioritise the vehicles on your right. In New Zealand, there are so many roundabouts, before entering the roundabouts, always check your right side if there are any vehicles.

Book your vehicle; as a female driver, I am more confident to choose the regular car, rather than a campervan, considering the bigger size that campervan has. Other than that, most of the rented vehicles in New Zealand have automatic transmission rather than manual transmission. In New Zealand, there are so many car rental providers, such as Jucy, Apex, Go Rentals, Ezi, Ace, and many more. Each provider has its own convenience. For example, one provider could give freely for more than drivers in the rented car or the flexibility in returning cars in after office hour. All you can choose based on your preference and budget. Pro Tip: Always book the vehicle with fully covered insurance, less hassle, and anticipate the worst things that could happen. Other than that, choose the provider who provides roadside assistance, therefore when something terrible happens, you could call for help.

Plan the itinerary and familiarise the route; in some rural part of New Zealand is challenging to receive internet connection and cell phone reception. Prepare your offline map as well, other than your cell phone’s map or your rented GPS.

New Zealand’s South Island route
New Zealand’s South Island route

During the Road Trip

Stock your ammunition; New Zealand’s road trip would be so much more fun when you got the right music playlist, snacks, and definitely long chatting and gossiping along with your female friends. Bring your sunglasses and your sunscreen, although driving inside the car does not mean your skin won’t get burned.

Rest regularly; take your time on your road trip, New Zealand has many scenic views that you have to enjoy. Take many pictures on photo spot on the side of the road, have lunch on the riverbanks, and stop at a local coffee shop or museum in the small town.

The road to Mount Cook, New Zealand
The road to Mount Cook, New Zealand

Parking; choose a public parking area, where usually located on the road. Look on the sign how long the time allows for your car to be parked and do not forget to pay to the nearest parking meter. Street parking on the road at after office hour and on the weekend usually is free.

Gas station; most of the gas station in New Zealand are self-serviced. Gas station located in small-town relatively cheaper compared to the touristic town. Pro Tip: buy the gas on the supermarket’s gas station after shopping in the supermarket where you usually will get the gas voucher discount, and the price is lower as well compared to other gas station brand.

Fara Shabira Arrasya, the author, while travelling in New Zealand
Fara Shabira Arrasya, the author, while travelling in New Zealand

Be brave and gain the experience

When I was driving in Indonesia, I was never brave enough to drive outside Greater Jakarta. The furthest that I could get is driving from Jakarta to Bandung. Here in New Zealand, for my South Island road trip, I have driven almost 1,540 kms. With that distance in Indonesia, I could have driven from Jakarta to Surabaya and returned to Jakarta again. As a female driver, I do not find any significant difficulty in facing New Zealand roads. The only problem for me is the maximum speed limit on a long straight road, which is only 100 km/hour, it felt the car moved slowly on an empty road. Favourite playlist and snacks are definitely a trip booster to kill the boredom in the road. Lastly, I accomplished my dream to have a road trip abroad!

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Photos provided by the author