Self driving is the best way to explore New Zealand and it is also the most gifted experience.
The roads are extremely scenic and offer beautiful landscapes all through. Traffic is very low and on many occasions we did not spot a single vehicle for 100 KMS straight. All roads are well signposted even in rural areas. Since it is a left hand drive and home license holds good for a period up to 12 months, we opted self drive and hired Toyota RAV 4 from Apex Car Rentals.
The timing estimates shown on Google map are pretty accurate. So at itinerary planning stage, relying on Google maps would help to a greater extent. However, it is advisable to keep margin of 10-15%. Traffic rules should be strictly adhered to and speed limits are strictly enforced by the police.
Since drive is very scenic and sunset is by 930 pm during summers, driving across New Zealand during day time is advisable. However if distance is long, and you need to drive during night, safety standards are pretty high.
We covered distance of almost 5200 KMS covering north and south island and strongly recommend self drive option!
After hiring our car, we headed for our first trek of the trip to the Cathedral Cove.The coastal walk to the Cathedral Cove has some of the most spectacular views.
The hike to the Cathedral cove starts from Hahei village, Coromandel and takes around 2.5 hours (return) to complete.
The arch at the Cathedral cove is one of the most popular touristy destination.
After a short trek and Turkish lunch, we spent our time at hot water beach digging our own hot pool. What a refreshing feeling it was to be lying in our own pool just meters away from the Pacific ocean.