To get a closer look at some of our breathtaking and more isolated landscapes often means going off road. For many tourists, a trip to New Zealand isn’t complete without some time spent in a four wheel drive.
You won’t suffer for options when it comes to operators. Ranging from day tours to parks with specially-designed tracks, there are a variety of companies offering a variety of options which allow you to experience the thrills of an off road adventure.
Lord of the Rings
In the South Island some four-wheel drive tour operators have taken advantage of the interest generated by Lord of The Rings movies and cater for fans by incorporating film locations into their tours.
Christchurch-based Hassle-Free Tours runs an excursion to the remote Mt Potts high country station and Mt Sunday, which was transformed into Edoras, capital city of the Rohan people. Working out of Queenstown, Nomad Safaris has two LOTR-themed tours: an off-road adventure through Wakatipu Basin and one more focused on sightseeing in Glenorcy. Instructors are also on hand to offer training in off-road driving.
Staying with the South Island, Cadrona Adventure Park offers something a little different – a ride in a Monster Truck and the opportunity to be a passenger in a four wheel drive with a stuntman who has passion for driving on two wheels.
It’s a mouthful but Wild Tracks Crazy Kiwi Buggy Adventures provides its visitors with an opportunity to get seriously dirty. Situated in Tapawera, Tasman, the family owned and operated park, has a six kilometre guided off road buggy track that runs through their organic farm.
Located 20 minutes north of Rotorua City, Off Road NZ, like Cadrona Adventure Park, offers a monster truck ride and a 4WD Bush Safari. Set on 100 acres of land, the 45-60 minute safari uses tracks pioneers hacked out of the bush in the early 1900s to log native timber and includes a six metre controlled slide down an 80-degree slope.
A course for all
Further north in West Auckland at Woodhill’s 4WD Adventure Park seasoned and novice 4WD drivers can test their off-road skills on one of their three tracks. Set in a sand based pine forest and close to Auckland City, you can choose to drive your own vehicle or one supplied around the 2250 hectare park, which is open all year round. A three and a half hour, $95 4WD training course can also be taken.
Other companies offering tours include:
- 4×4 Adventures
- Molesworth Tour Company
- NZ Adventures
- Capital Adventure Tours Ltd
- Maniototo 4WD Safaris
Whichever tour or company you choose, whether you’re driving or being driven, it’s advisable to take along a change of clothes. Going off-road can be enjoyable but also messy business.