Buying a Car to Travel New Zealand Part 1: Why?


A random stop overlooking a windswept hilltop vista. Photo by Steve Collier, 2014.

One of the biggest decisions we made before travelling to New Zealand was whether to buy a car, rent a camper or try and travel using public/ backpacker transport. The main factor affecting this decision was that before travelling in August 2014, neither of us had passed our test! Yes, we left it pretty late compared to a lot of our peers to get on the road but we hadn’t really needed to before and the cost of running a car in the UK at that point presented a tricky financial prospect. Public transport in the UK is pretty decent if a tad expensive at times (we’re looking at you Chiltern Railways!) but it still worked out more cost effective than running a car. With the possibility of not being able to drive while travelling lingering in our minds, we decided to create a plan A and a plan B much like cartoon villains. Cue maniacal laugh…

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Pros and Cons: Off Season Travel Part 1

Photo by Nicola Attridge.

Photo by Nicola Attridge.

“You should have waited until summer!”

Here’s a phrase that many travellers have heard too often and usually occurs after a comment about the weather or an attraction being closed until the peak season for maintenance and after the first dozen times hearing it you’ll probably become desensitised, smile and accept that yes, you probably should have arrived during peak season when the weather is perfect, every attraction is open and more facilities are available to you. Sometimes you simply can’t help when you need to arrive at a destination. There may be that month you need to fill before a major event in a different country and the only ways to fill it is to stay later at your current location which may not be possible, travel on tangent to a completely different location or to simply turn up early at the location you’re going to be. Or, you could be that cunning adventurer who looks past the cons of off-season travel and experience the destination in a completely different way. In New Zealand, this is definitely what we did. So, what are the pros and cons of off-peak travel?

In the first part we’ll look at some of the benefits of travelling off-peak…

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Auckland: Stay: Ponsonby

A winter view from Ponsonby towards Auckland CBD. Photo by Steve Collier

Auckland is residence to the largest percentage of all Kiwis and is also the main port of entry for travellers so it’s no surprise there are a huge number of hotels, hostels and everything inbetween on offer. The main reason for the huge population is the sheer size of Auckland. Outside of the CBD, the city stretches in all directions, swallowing up multiple suburbs, each of them offering a different perspective on life within this melting pot of cultures and lifestyles.

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