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RoundAbout Travel - New Zealand

Best Lonely Planet NZ Road Trips

There is no better way to see New Zealand than by travelling across the county on a road trip.

This year Lonely Planet released their second edition of the New Zealand Road Trips guide books. Lonely Planet has said “It’s hard to imagine a better country for a road trip. New Zealand’s two main islands serve up a feast of mountain landscapes, sublim forests, sweeping beaches and remote fjords, easily reached by scenic highways and quiet country roads.” Below are some of our favourite Lonely Planet NZ road trips.

The Majesty of Milford Sound

Start – Queenstown
End – Mildford Sound
Explore the southern Fiordlands of New Zealand, and experience the grandeur of nature in the face of a landscape full of rock and ice. Beginning in Queenstown you can get your adrenaline fix and sample some of the excellent restaurants and bars before venturing to the Kelvin Peninsula. Take in the panoramic views alongside Lake Wakatipu, take a tour to visit the glow worm filled carves. Next, it’s onto Lake Mistletoe, Mackay Creek, Mirror Lakes, and Lake Gunn, each spot is a great chance to stretch your legs and admire the wilderness.
The final stretch of this trip is into the Milord Sound and the Fiordland National Park, travelling along the Homer Tunnel, a road laboriously cut through the mountains during the Great Depression.

Winding north from Wellington

Start – Wellington
End – Rotorua
Before starting this driving journey be sure to take some time exploring New Zealand’s capital Wellington, filled with world-class museums, galleries, and bars. Begin this trip by travelling along the Hutt River valley, detouring into the Martinborough wine region to sample some of the world-class pinot noirs. Continue along the Pacific coast admiring the sandy beaches while also experiencing some Maori culture. Keep on travelling from Havelock North to Hastings, surrounded by orchards and world-class wineries it is the perfect spot to explore. Finish off your trip by heading inland to Rotorua and experience the amazing geothermal hot springs.

Wander the winterless North

Start – Auckland
End – Auckland
Kiwis call the regions of Auckland (Northland and the Bay of Islands) the Winterless North thanks to its year-round subtropical climate. Soak up the sun of this trip, visiting surf beaches in Mangawhai and sail, dive, fish and kayak to your heart’s content at the old whaling port of Russel. Travel further north and see where the Tasman Sea meets the Pacific Ocean, before exploring the surf breaks and sad dunes at Ahipara. Return via the Waipoua Forest where the last giants of the once extensive Kauri forest will take your breath away.

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