Road Trip – New Zealand South Island

So much to catch you up on! Welcome all to 2015. We used the holiday break for a road trip through the lower half of NZ’s South Island. During the next couple of weeks I will catch you up with some awesome places to visit plus review Air New Zealand and the Koru Lounges we used, as well as the rental car company Drive Something Nice, amongst other businesses.

This is merely a brief overview of our trip in the interim, to give you an insight into some of the spectacular areas we saw during our road trip.

Our arrival into Christchurch at midnight, had us staying at the airport hotel Sudima. We picked up the hire car in the morning and drove through to a Invercargill. For us a short 7-8 hour drive, compared to some of the drives we undertake in Australia. There are towns all along the coast road, including the majors, Ashburton, Timaru, Oamaru, Dunedin plus many smaller townships along the way. Each has their own attractions and places to stop.

Choose towns or beaches for your stops along the way. New Zealand is different to Australia when it comes to a road trip. Firstly the distances are shorter, which did horrify many of the locals that we would undertake what they considered to be long trips in one day. Secondly, we found a lack of facilities roadside, ie toilets etc. There are rest areas but these are not set up like the Australian ones, which are regularly spaced and complete with facilities. I would therefore recommend stopping in townships for food and toilet breaks.

At the end of the day though, the scenery is most likely one of the main reasons you are here. The scenery throughout NZ is without doubt, nothing short of spectacular. Canterbury Plains out of Christchurch, heading south, have long straights punctuated with tall hedges to break the winds.

After a few short stops, we chose to stop at the iconic Moeraki Boulders for lunch. A review of the cafe and the boulders has been completed already. This is definitely a place to visit.

There are many places to explore, sometimes just off the beaten track. Watch out for the road signs, check your maps before you go and be sure to take breaks along the way.

After some time in Invercargill, we drove through to Alexandra, Central Otago, via Gore. Here, the rolling green pastures, change to steep rocky mountains, with pastures drying out along the way.

Rivers are clear, sparkling, and even in December, snow still lingered on some of the higher mountains. The photo above was taken from the lookout above Alexandra. Even from this height, you can see the clarity of the water in the Clutha river.

There are many places you can go from here, explore Central Otago, head through to the West or East Coasts, or, travel through to Wanaka or Queenstown.

On this occasion we were travelling to Queenstown. The photo above was taken of Lake Wakatipu as we drove through to Glenorchy, near the opposite end of the lake to Queenstown. Here the scenery is breathtaking.

These mountains are not called the Remarkable’s without reason. They are truly remarkable.

After leaving Queenstown, we drove through to Christchurch via the lakes district and the Lindis Pass. This took us past the Mount Cook, Aoraki area. Here, on another spectacular day, I was able to take the below shot of Lake Pukaki with Mount Cook in the background.

You never know in these areas, the expectation of seeing hobbits and orcs traversing the mountain ranges is high 😄.

Take care when travelling the NZ roads, remember to drive on the left, and stay inside your lane. Roads can be narrow and twisting at times. Obey speed signs on the highway, through townships and particularly on corners. If it says 65, then do not go over this speed for that corner. They have have those speeds there for a reason. Drive safe, take care so everyone can return home safely.

Watch out over the next few weeks for reviews and photos of the many areas we visited. There’s plenty to come!!

Moeraki Boulders Cafe, North Otago, New Zealand

Drive down the East Coast of the South Island, in New Zealand, and you will pass the Moeraki Boulders. Rather than pass them by after you’ve cruised through Hampden, follow the signs to stop off and absorb the natural beauty of these uniquely formed round boulders.

There’s a cafe,gift shop, plus a walkway down to view these world famous boulders. Meander down the wooden walkway for a short distance, and you will find yourself at the beach, which is scattered with boulders.. Some are huge, others mere dots by comparison. You may feel like you’ve landed in the middle of a Jurassic Park video, surrounded by dinosaur eggs.

This is an ideal place to break the road trip, with excellent facilities available. Staff were friendly, prices inside the cafe seemed reasonable and the food was delicious. If you’re looking for a drink, snack or a meal, then you’ve come to the right place. Outside is a generous balcony, for those who seeking a sea breeze. Inside, is a large seating area, with normal facilities and large windows overlooking the beach. We chose the inside as we weren’t prepared to brave the sea breeze on this chilly December day. I mean the below photo gives an indication of the temperature ….


Order and pay at the counter, with table service then delivering the meals and drinks. I suggest the seafood. It does not come much fresher than this. The seafood platter was not only deliciously fresh, it was packed with a variety of seafood, perched atop fries and a salad. Well presented, and very reasonably priced at $39 NZD.


Take the time to relax and chill over some divine food, while you take a break from your road trip. You definitely won’t regret it.