Long Distance Driving sucks … unless

Ok, maybe long distance driving doesn’t suck completely, but prior to this trip, the vast majority of my long distance driving experience includes driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles and back. I’ve driven to Tahoe a few times and once from NYC to Ithaca and Boston, but that’s about it. I haven’t really been a big fan per-say.

I’ve thought road trips were fun if I wasn’t the driver, and even then, I wasn’t too happy about being the passenger either. So when happy gal suggested we rent a car in New Zealand and drive around for 10 days, I was not looking forward to it. Luckily I went with the flow and had the time of my life driving!


We land in Queenstown, New Zealand after a bumpy but beautiful landing (the airport is nested between a huge mountain range). Our flight had been delayed for 3 hours due to bad weather in Queenstown and we were hoping the rain would stop… lucky for us, as soon as we landed the sun came out and shining!

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happy gal rented a car online from a company called Jucy, a conglomerate of sorts, selling everything from rental cars, accommodation, cruises and other tourist attractions. The branding of Jucy is very catchy with bright neon colors and a sexy caricature of a 50’s woman. After hanging out in the airport for a few minutes getting a SIM card (for GPS on the iPhone) and catching up on email (free WiFi at Queenstown airport!), we head to the rental car company. The lady there was very nice and gave us tons of great tips. As usual, happy gal and I had no plans what so ever, and had not really done our research except that we wanted to visit Fox Glacier.

I had not googled anything about New Zealand as I wanted to be taken by surprise. You know what they say, having expectations sometimes reduces the WOW effect. I am glad! As soon as I started driving I was mesmerized. We were surrounded by mountains larger than the Empire State building covered with snow, lakes to the right and the left of the highway, green landscape at ground level, clouds shaped like marshmallows, and sheep galore!

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We’ve probably driven over 1,000+ kilometers since we started our trip in New Zealand 6 days ago and I cannot wait to get on the road again. Unfortunately, we have 3 days left with one more drive to go from Te Anue to Queenstown but I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the road here.

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My favorite drive so far has been from Lake Hawea to Fox Glacier. It’s a 250 km drive in which more than 200 km you’re in a National Park. You go through valleys, lakes, rivers, bridges, ocean views, glacier views, and more! Along the way you also get distracted by herds of sheep (and each herd has more than 200+ sheep or so it looks) and also by beautiful eagles flying close to ground.

Today, as we were driving back from Milford Sound to Te Anue, we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow on the road.

If you like long distance driving, then driving in New Zealand must be more than paradise!

What’s your favorite road trip? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. I’m pleased you have had a great time in NZ, sad you are not making it to Christchurch at all. Sadly not much here after the earthquakes! Make sure you go through to Arrowtown before you leave, about 25 minute drive from Queenstown, v beautiful at this time of year. A local brewery called Arrow Brewing, worth a wee visit and an amazing walk up to the top of the hill beside the town, ask a local.

    1. Hi Charlotte,

      Thanks for the comment! Yes, we love your country! I was sad not to pass by Christchurch as well but alas, with 10 days we had to limit our trip to one area of NZ. We actually went to Arrowtown the first day we landed for a picnic lunch next to the river. IT was beautiful!

      Thanks again and let me know when you get to the US!

  2. Hi ,

    Thanks for the lovely post and really very helpful too.
    Me and my husband are planning to go to New Zealand on 15th Nov 2013…
    We are confused that whether we should go for driving or coach tours…
    Both of us are interested in driving but as we are going for North and south Island both, complete journey would be around 2000 km in 10 days….

    What would you suggest for this?

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