As you all might have gathered by now, I think New Zealand is quite awesome (well, I would, otherwise I wouldn’t live here), and me – and hundreds of other bloggers all around the world – want to get the word out the NZ is keen for you to come over and hang out, spend some money, help us rebuild after the Christchurch earthquake.
The Perfect New Zealand Roadtrip
Since we’re long and skinny and our public transport is a bit shite, one of the best ways to see NZ is to start at one end and drive your way to the other. In fact, it’s such a grand idea we even have a highway (imaginatively named State Highway 1) that runs the length of the country.
For inspiration, I recommend watching the movie Goodbye Pork Pie (“Nothing can stop the men, the mini, the madness”) and reading the book The 1 Thing (where Bob Moore travels down SH1 and does “1 thing” in every small town along the way … all 300 of them).
The keys to a fun road trip are:
- A comfortable car. I’ve Auckland to Hawke’s Bay (6 hours) with five people in a tiny 2 door. Not so fun.
- A great bunch of mates: if everyone’s on the same buzz, and you’re all laughing and having a great time, your trip will be a success.
Whenever I go on a road-trip, it’s usually to attend some event. Mostly, now that I think about it, epic 21sts in some area of the country, or, back when I lived in Hawke’s Bay, trips to Auckland to see a concert. However, the joy of a good road trip is not just the destination, it’s the travel, the adventures you have on the road. The silly conversation, the random stoppages to take photos with silly signs or play air-guitar in front of a quaint white chapel in the middle of nowhere (I was pretending to be Slash). So make sure you give yourself plenty of time to take it slow and enjoy the country.
Some of my best memories are from road-trips: the epicness that was my entire 21st weekend, visiting historic cemeteries, air guitar in front of white churches, ducks, learning to drive on country roads, playing “the bump”, singing along with my husband for six hours, holding my BFFs hand while he stared out the window and threw up every few miles … for two hours (well, it wasn’t exactly fun), hilarious games of “I spy,” and “ABCs of metal bands”, late-night car-surfing, and a few not-so-legal maneuvers I probably shouldn’t talk about on this blog.
The road trip is an essential part of every kiwi summer, so if you’re down our part of the world, you should give it a go.
Road Trip Snackage
One should start one’s road trip correctly, but fueling up at gas station and scarfing down a mince and cheese pie. There should be a chili-bin in the backseat filled with cold beers (not for the driver), L&P (for the driver), Mars bars, and some fresh, juicy apples or something.
Dinner should be fish and chips on a beach or by a lake. Whenever I did road trips from Hawke’s Bay to Auckland, dinner was always fish & chips on lake Taupo, followed a couple of rounds of impossible golf (it’s a golf game where you try to hit balls onto a platform out in the water. You win a LOT of money if you get it in the hole). Taupo is the largest lake in New Zealand, and is a crater lake from one seriously huge-ass volcano.
Road Trip Safety
We drive on the left-hand side – an important detail to get right as soon as you begin.
Our highways are quite wide, usually only one lane each way, with passing lanes added in random and often humorous places. There’s a lot of space on the verge for you to pull over and tinker with your engine if anything happens. Watch out for possoms, as they run across the road, and the lights stun them and you just slam right into them, and then you spend the next ten kilometers trying to wash possom innards off your windscreen.
Country roads are often gravel. Depending on the kind of driving you like to do, this can be a good or a bad thing.
If you’re not renting for a company, get your car checked out before and after your trip. Fill her up at the first gas station you see, as this keeps her happy. Always let someone know roughly where you’re going, even if you don’t have an exact plan, and carry a cellphone, but don’t talk while you’re driving, because it’s now illegal here.
When driving down south, or in the ski-fields up north in the winter, use chains and follow the directions of the other drivers. Listen to the radio for road closures.
Don’t get into other cars with strangers unless they’re totally hot. Don’t eat seafood that smells, and don’t ask for directions at a pub, and you should be sweet.
Essential Road Trip Soundtrack
The right soundtrack is the essential component of any good road trip, especially a metalhead road trip. You can’t just shove your iPod in on shuffle and leave it at that. I like a good mixture of upbeat metal songs, mixed with ironic childhood favorites (ours is “The Hungry Diplidocus”), and a few classic kiwi hits.
Born to Be Wild – Steppenwolf
Running Free – Iron Maiden
Wherever I May Roam – Metallica
New Zealand – Amanda Palmer
Six Month in a Leaky Boat – Crowded House
Verona – Steriogram
Highway to Hell – AC/DC
K – the Tutts
Vodka – Korpiklaani
How Bizarre – OMC
Don’t Dream, It’s Over – Crowded House
Counting the Beat – the Swingers
Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
Slice of Heaven – Dave Dobbyn
April Sun in Cuba – Dragon
Jesus I was Evil – Darcy Clay
Sanctum – Behemoth
Lydia – Fur Patrol (Oh man, I used to LOVE these guys)
Dominion Road – the Muttonbirds
Avantasia – Wicked Symphony
I See Red – Split Enz
Home Again – Shihad
Voilent – Steller
Back Door – Tadpole
Final Countdown – Europe
Glorifilia – Zed
History Never Repeats – Split Enz
Pacifier – Shihad
Sweet Disorder – Strawpeople
George – Headless Chickens (one of my favorite angry girl songs EVER)
Gypsy Queen – Uriah Heep
Can’t Get Enough – Supergroove
If you have NO IDEA who any of these bands are, then you can pick up great NZ mix-CDs like Nature’s Best from most gas stations. This is your soundtrack for a New Zealand road trip.
Have an Awesome Time!
You’re going to see, and do, some crazy shit. You’re going to eat some terrible food, drink some terrible beer and some amazing wine, meet some friendly but slightly unsettling people, and have probably the best holiday of your entire life. What are you waiting for?
Does anyone have any other tips for the perfect metal road-trip?