Touring New Zealand in your rental car
Why stay in one city during your visit to New Zealand? Try renting a car to explore the outreaches of this beautiful country. New Zealand is divided into two main islands, with numerous minor islands. The North Island is smaller in size, but houses around 75% of the population. The South Island, while larger is home to only around 25% of the population. Nearly 70% of the population is from European descent, with the remainder a mixture of indigenous Maori and smaller minorities. The land mass of New Zealand is long and narrow, with extensive coastlines, and the two islands are separated by the Cook Strait, 24km (15 miles) at its narrowest point.
The country is packed with natural beauty, from rivers and mountains, to volcanos, fjords and glaciers. The Southern Alps run down the whole length of the South Island. Many strains of flora and fauna are unique to New Zealand due to its 80 million year isolation from other lands. An example is the national symbol of New Zealand, the flightless Kiwi bird. Also numerous reptiles, frogs, bats and insects. The unique flora varies throughout the islands, from magnificent Kauri forest in the northern tip of North Island, to the temperate rainforests on the west coast and Alpine forests in the Southern Alps.
The South Island is the place to start your tour of New Zealand's natural beauty. Pre-book your car rental to start at Christchurch airport. Head north along the coast to Hammer Springs to experience their hot pools then on to Kaikoura for whale watching at the right time of year. Cut across the northern coast of South Island to the Abel Tasman National Park with bushland right up to the sea. After enjoying the blue water, head down the west coast to find the Franz Josef Glacier then onwards down to Invercargill, the southern most tip of New Zealand. Finally, heading back up the east coast, don't miss the penguins at Dunedin then the Orokonui Ecosanctuary at Lake Tekapo before returning to Christchurch for your flight out.