First things first: Who are Wild Kiwi & why we chose them?
Packs of the inexpensive trading cards can be bought anywhere; including generic big box stores like Kmart. You just turn up at the airport with your email and off you go. This soon expanded to the rest of the world. Each card in the deck carries different values, and the players have to keep these sums in their head while also plotting what they'll do seven moves ahead.
Online, the rules of engagement run to 24 pages. And [Mum] you were like, 'you're wasting money'". If you trying to decide if the long drive is worth it … it is!!! Milford Sound is a place that needs to be experienced in person, a major highlight of our trip! We had visited here last time we were in Queenstown 7 years ago and we surprised to see that Jess had made it on the Fergburger wall!
Today was our last day in Queenstown, so it was time to experience what Queenstown is all about — adrenaline! Jess has been wanting to overcome her fear of heights for a while now, and has slowly been making progress ready for her trip to Queenstown. So today we decided to do two activities to help her conquer her fear, canyoning and the canyon fox swing! We spent the morning ziplining, abseiling, jumping and sliding through a stunning canyon and had the most incredible morning ever!
The afternoon was the finale, with Jess deciding to run and fall 6m off a cliff and ziplining across a canyon and Stephen falling 60m from a canyon swing!
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Today was one of those days that are best explained through video. If there is any vlog we recommend you watching from our New Zealand trip it would be this one! It was time to say goodbye to Queenstown, and head to the final stop on our trip — the iconic Mt. This mountain stands at 3,m above sea level, and there are some amazing hikes to do around the area. We decided to do the Hooker Valley track, one of the most popular hikes in the valley. The 3 hour track took us through stunning alpine scenery and over two swingbridge before ending at the Hooker Glacier Lake.
After breakfast it was time to hit the road for our last drive together. We stopped off at some turquoise lakes with amazing mountain views as we made our way back to Christchurch. This New Zealand trip really was a trip of a lifetime.
We made so many incredible memories on this trip, along with some beautiful new friends! Something we found super unique about Wild Kiwi was their tour vehicles. It was the most luxurious tour van we have ever experienced. With leather seats, USB ports, unlimited wifi, music always playing, air con and massive windows — it was definitely a premium road trip experience. The places we stayed during our Wild Kiwi tour absolutely blew our expectations.
Each place was so different and unique, we never stayed in your typical hostel or backpackers. Each hostel was always in the perfect location, with every spot a walk away from grocery stores and nearby attractions.
When comparing the price of Wild Kiwi to other tour companies in New Zealand, Wild Kiwi is one of the cheapest options. Extra inclusions in our specific tour 21 day New Zealand Discovery. We suggest having a look at suggested activities at each location and putting that money aside so you can experience everything you want to experience during your trip.
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Which route to take? The 7 day tours Southern Voyager: Glowworm Caves, Waitomo Day 3: Taupo to Napier After having some breakfast by the lake we all jumped into the Wild Kiwi van and headed to Napier. Rotorua This was by far our favourite day on the North Island part of the tour. Rotorua to Coromandel After breakfast, we took the beautiful drive to the stunning Coromandel Peninsula stopping off at some scenic spots along the way.
Coromandel to Auckland fly to Christchurch Today we woke up before the sun to take the 1. Christchurch to Kaikoura Today was the start of our South Island part of the tour. Kaikoura to Picton Today we drove along the Kaikoura coast, seeing the effects of the earthquake damage back in Abel Tasman We started the morning with pancakes before going on a kayaking tour of Abel Tasman. Abel Tasman to Punakaiki After another scenic drive, stopping off at a lake for a morning coffee and dip to wake us up, we headed to the little coastal town of Punakaiki.
Punakaiki day trip to Hokitika Today we decided to head out of Punakaiki for the day and see what else this area had to offer. Punakaiki to Christchurch Today was one of those long, driving days. Christchurch to Franz Josef After meeting some new people who were joining us for the southern South Island part of our journey, we jumped in our Wild Kiwi van and began our drive through Arthurs Pass on our way to Franz Josef — the gateway to glacier country!
Note that if you do have full coverage via your credit card or own insurance policy, you have to decline coverage by the rental car agency to be able to use your insurance in most cases. Be clear in how you are covered and where! You will also need a full and valid drivers license. Some rental car companies will require this to be in English, so if your license is not issued in English, you may need either an International Drivers Permit or a certified translation of your original license, both of which you will need to obtain prior to leaving your home country. Personally, I rented a car using a French drivers license in the USA and the hire companies I used generally did not need to see an English translation, however, check the rental conditions beforehand to be sure.
For more on the IDP, see here. If you are looking to hire a vehicle, we recommend that you take a look at Priceline to compare car hire deals across 17 different providers, including the biggest names in the business, to get a great deal for your trip.
The US has a number of road types. These, in our experience, can be broadly categorised as follows:. As the name suggests, an Interstate is a road that runs across states. These can be compared to Motorways in the UK, or the autobahns in Germany. They are usually at least two lanes, and they have on and off ramps rather than stop signs or traffic lights. Interstates keep the same number regardless of state — Interstate 40 for example, runs through eight states, and is called Interstate 40 in all of them.
Maximum speeds on the Interstate vary by state, from 60 mph through to 80 mph. Speed limits are clearly posted and should be obeyed. A State Road is specific to a state. State Road 54 in one State is going to be a different road to a State road in a another state. State roads vary from dual-carriageway styles through to single lane highways, and as they pass through towns, cities and villages, the speed limit can vary from as low as 20 mph up to 75 mph. As always, check local state regulation and obey posted speed limits. A county road is any road that is maintained by the local county authority, rather than the state or federal system.
They do vary in size and quality, from freeway sized right through to unpaved roads, depending on the area, traffic, and local county budget.
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Again, as they vary hugely in quality and size, speed limits on County Roads also vary tremendously. Stop signs were a source of much confusion as I got to grips with driving in the US. Not so much the stopping, which is obvious, but the way that at road intersections, the STOP signs are used to dictate traffic priority. It seems easy in principle. In the UK, this would be handled with either a traffic light or a roundabout.
In the US, the way it works is that if multiple vehicles arrive at the STOP intersection, priority is given to the first vehicle that arrives. Sometimes, this is not the case, meaning you have to give way to all through traffic. Sometimes this can be tricky to tell, and you have to look carefully to see what kind of STOP intersection.
In the majority of cases, the STOP sign will be clearly marked to say it is an all way e.
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If it is a busy four or even five! If in doubt, wait a bit. One last thing to be aware of is if you arrive at the same time as another vehicle or vehicles. In this case, the vehicle on the left has to give way to the vehicle on the right. One of the more unusual, but quite logical when you get used to it, rules in the US, is that you are allowed to turn right on a red traffic light, unless there is a sign specifically telling you not to.
Sometimes there will be a right turn only lane, which you must use to turn if it is there. If the light is red, you must behave as if it is a STOP sign — approach the stop line with your turn signal on, stop, check for traffic, and if it is clear, you may turn right — giving way to any pedestrians who have the right away. This is the sort of rule that can really catch out new drivers in the US, as it generally goes against everything you will have learnt in your home country, with a red light meaning not to go.
However, it is important that you remember and adhere to it, as on a busy turn, if you forget to go, the traffic behind you might become quite irate that you are not following the rules of the road! Passing another vehicle works much the same as in other countries around the world. You are allowed to pass on a normal road if there is a broken line yellow or white down the middle of the road and it is safe to do so. On multi-lane highways, slower traffic should stay on the right, and faster traffic should pass on the left.
You should generally only use the fast lanes for passing, and otherwise always keep right.
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In my experience, especially on the wider highways 10 and 12 lanes wide , the rules become a little less clear. In some states, on highways with more than two lanes on each side, you are legally allowed to pass on either the left or the right side. This means that if you are not driving in the far right lane, you have to be aware that faster traffic could pass you on either side. My advice is to try to only pass on the left if possible, unless you are absolutely sure it is legal to pass on both sides in the state you are in.
In the UK, exit numbers on the motorways are sequential, so Exit 2 follows Exit 1, and so on. In the USA, Interstate exit numbers are often based on the number of miles you have travelled along the Interstate. If you pass exit for example, and the next exit is ten miles along, it will be exit This makes quite a lot of sense, and helps you see how far the next exit is easily, but did confuse me for a while as I was expecting sequential numbers and figured I was just missing exits!
It was quite the revelation when Jess pointed this out to me after weeks of driving in the U. Note — a reader in the comments pointed out that some states do have sequential exits. So just be aware that either is an option! Be sure to check before you leave the rental car agency to know what kind of fuel your car takes unleaded or diesel and be sure to note if it requires a certain type of unleaded, for instance some may be designed for premium unleaded petrol with an octane rating of 97 or higher.