The Road Ahead : October 2010
TRAVEL OFFER: RACQ Travel can help with great deals on driving around New Zealand with 20 percent off Alpha Campervans if you book before October 31 2010 and travel between October 1-December 15 2010. For bookings or further information call RACQ Travel on 1300 888 449 or email travel@racq. com.au. THEROADAHEAD.COM.AU THE ROAD AHEAD OCT/NOV 2010 28 TRAVEL DEPARTURE INTERNATIONAL PHOTOS, ABOVE, FROM LEFT: TOURING CENTRAL OTAGO BY MOTORHOME. PHOTO: DAVID WALL. LAKE WAKATIPU AND THOMSON MOUNTAINS AS SEEN FROM BLANKET BAY RESORT, GLENORCHIE (NEAR QUEENSTOWN), SOUTH ISLAND. A 'WALKING STREET' OF RESTAURANTS, QUEENSTOWN. IS IT A house with a handbrake or a carburetor with a kitchen sink? In fact, it's a motorhome and I'm driving one. I'm in New Zealand, newly arrived from Sydney and apparently acting like a "Trans- Tasmaniac". We're behind an Alfa that could leave our house-on-wheels for dead but he's ambling along like a rolling roadblock. My delicate toccata on the horn stirs only the ire of my partner. She reminds me that I am on holiday ... so lighten up, please. It's my first lesson in New Zealand driving: proceed like a Kiwi (motor like a moa). Plus, a motorhome doesn't overtake sports cars, or almost anything. Motorhomes are a great way to see the Land of the Pink Lamington. We just turn the key and hit the road with an itinerary that soon ends up in the bin. Next lesson: travelling times here are greater than the map suggests. Truly memorable is the wondrous gauntlet of alps and turquoise lakes that we run into on the drive south to Queenstown, then down to the Otago Peninsula. The 33 km-long peninsula boasts albatrosses, huge cypresses and sheep as woolly as pipe-cleaners. At dusk we watch rare yellow eyed penguins shuffle from the surf and up the beach like little vagrants in tuxedos. Next day we explore Dunedin, the beautiful city home to roam in A motorhome is a cost-effective and convenient way to tour; never more so in New Zealand with its plethora of quiet roads and holiday parks. STORY + PHOTOS JOHN BORTHWICK founded by a dour nephew of the poet Robbie Burns. The bard's statue dominates the city square, where he sits like a corrective dose of bawdiness to various cathedrals and churches. Sights like these make New Zealand an outstanding driving destination. And at the end of the day you just pull into a caravan park, plug into the power and use their hot showers. Our cruise concludes with a visit to Baldwin Street --- the world's steepest, according to the Guinness Book of Records. This crazy incline of 38 degrees attracts thrill-seekers who frequently stall half way up. The car rolls back, the brakes don't hold ... the residents have lost count of their wrecked fences. I skip the hill-climb and the chance to park our carburetor in someone's kitchen sink. This Trans- Tasmaniac must be mellowing. Motorhome Driving Tips • Book your vehicle well in advance, especially for peak seasons. • Bring your Australian driving licence. • One-way hire is common but check if there is an extra "drop-off fee". • Don't be over-ambitious in the distances you plan to cover. • In peak season campgrounds can be crowded and noisy. Research the smaller, quieter parks.