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Atlas or GPS for South Island?

Denver, Colorado
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68 posts
178 reviews
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Atlas or GPS for South Island?

Do we *need* a GPS to navigate the South Island or do you think that an Atlas should be enough?

Thanks!

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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1. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

I am not convinced that a GPS is necessary in NZ. An Atlas should be fine. I was recently coerced into buying a GPS and tried it for the first time going from Wellington to Auckland ( in North Island). Our route was to go striaght up the centre of the island, the shortest and fastest route IMO. This is a route we could almost do blindfolded (were it not for approaching tourists driving on the wrong side of the road - but I digress). Had we followed the GPS instructions we would have a longer trip both in Kms travelled and time taken.

New Zealand roads in the main are very well signposted especially on the major tourist routes. If you get off the beaten track you could get into trouble and then heaven knows where a GPS will take you.

You can get a NZ road map at any petrol station or bookstore. If hiring a car your rental company will probably give you one.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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2. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

A road map is all you need :)

Wellington, NZ
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for Wellington
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3. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

You don't need a GPS, but they are useful in terms of estimating time to your destination and locating restaurants/petrol stations/accommodation/sights. But you need to use a GPS in conjunction with a map.

Denver, Colorado
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4. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

Great thank you! I will save the $150 and spend it on something more enjoyable :)

Wellington, NZ
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for Wellington
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5. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

If it's costing that much, you definitely don't need it!

Lewes, United...
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for Road Trips
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6. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

Not sure how long the OP is in South Island, but I worked out that if I really needed a GPS in NZ for our forthcoming adventure (Iwhich I've decided we don't) it would very probably be much cheaper to buy one in the first store selling them that we encounter on arrival than to rent one with our car. We've been offered one for NZ$4 a day (supposedly a special deal) for our 35 day rental!

SWT

Wellington, New...
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for Wellington, Bay of Islands
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226 reviews
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7. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

The cheapest GPS for sale in NZ appears to be a 3.5 inch basic model for just under $200 according to this mornings newspaper. There are a couple of brands to choose from.

Auckland, New...
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8. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

Hi

This a frequently asked question! It could be argued that a GPS is not "needed" anywhere but in my view they are very useful and nice to have. I find their real value is to locate specific addresses/locations - cafes, restaurants, attractions etc which may well not be on a map. They are of course also good for planning the next day or two travel However having said that the good old fashioned way of stopping and asking is not to be forgotten - always good to talk to people and invariably you will pick up other bits of useful information.

Christchurch, New...
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for South Island
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9. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

The only real use for the GPS in the SI is for finding a particular street in one of the cities. Even if you had one you would still need the map for a better overall view. There are often storries about tourists using the "shortest" or "fastest" setting and missing particuarly nice villages by being fed onto secondary roads. Geraldine was a particular example.

San Francisco, CA
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986 posts
78 reviews
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10. Re: Atlas or GPS for South Island?

For a little more than a GPS, get a smartphone. My iPhone has a GPS built in. Incredibly useful for travel. I'm loading up apps for identifying NZ birds, stars, etc.

I'll still be stopping at the iSites and AA to pick up a few maps.