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Passable Roads in July ?

Singapore, Singapore
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95 posts
9 reviews
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Passable Roads in July ?

Hi friends,

I hope I am not sounding like a broken-record, but I know the Worry-Wort in me is starting again and I am fretting somewhat internally. We will be travelling from 12-25 July and there's only one driver. We have already pre-booked all the accomodations. Can anyone comment on the following road trips in July ? Are they too long, slippery, windy for one slow & careful driver ? And what to do if ( oh dear !!) the roads are closed ?

Day 1 :Chch- Kaikoura , 181 km

Day 3 : Kaikoura-Arthur's Pass , 304 km

Day 4 : Arthur's Pass - FJ Clacier, 256 km

Day 6 : FJ Glacier- Wanaka , 262 km

Day 10 : Qtn-Dunedin, 282 km

Day 13 : Dunedin -Chch, 361 km

Thank you all !

Wanaka, New Zealand
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3,087 posts
21 reviews
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1. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

I really think you need to stop worrying. You have planned your trip well, and don't seem the type to take risks. Give yourself plenty of time to get from A-B, travel in daylight hours, and enjoy it! It is winter, but the state of the roads does depend - to a certain extent - on the weather that arrives at the time. If a road is closed, you either need to go an alternate route, change your plans and go elsewhere, or stay where you are until the roads reopen. It is most likely that roads will be closed - if at all - at night (when you will be enjoying a nice dinner somewhere.

Specifically:

Chch-Kaikoura: State Highway 1. This road must be kept open as it is the lifeline of the country. Very unlikely to be snow affected. watch for icy patches where signposted (but if middle of the day, should be ok.

Kaikoura to Arthurs Pass: alpine pass, see comments on another recently posted thread on this section.

FJ-Wanaka: Very unlikely to be snow affected. Icy patches in shady bits, narrow and twisty in parts, but long, easy straights in other sections. See comments above.

QTN-Dunedin: Some twisty bits, can be ce affected but only in a handful of parts. These are well sign-posted. See comments above.

Dunedin-Chch: same comments as for Chch to Kaikoura. Very unlikely to be closed, except in extreme weather. Not closed for long.

STOP WORRYING! :)

Singapore, Singapore
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95 posts
9 reviews
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2. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

I love you, Telly !!

Thanks !

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,390 posts
84 reviews
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3. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

When you began planning your trip we knew it was winter travel.

You have relatively short driving distances each day and that was deliberate, it allows you plenty of time to reach your end point.

See the little box top right hand corner? FAQ? click on 'winter driving tips'

and relax - we all manage to survive through winter here. We don't get the metres of deep snow other countries get. Yes we have storms blow through, but they don't tend to last long.

One thing I can guarantee - the scenery will be stunning. Enjoy !!

Singapore, Singapore
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95 posts
9 reviews
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4. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

Hi Wlnz,

Thank so much. My itinerary was modified with your ( and other) help and I am really grateful to all of you.

New York City, New...
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4 posts
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5. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

Seriously? It sounds like we are venturing into a country that never saw snow before? We are planning to drive from Auckland to Queenstown in early August (planning on renting an SUV) and were planning on taking 3 days- First night unsure where, second in Wellington (early morning ferry), Christchurch the third. We are experienced in driving on snowy country roads at night (in an SUV, no chains). Are we biting off more than we can chew?

New Zealand
Destination Expert
for South Island
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28,390 posts
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6. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

Monica, when you arrive in Auckland, where have you just flown in from? If further away than Sydney (if you spent a few days there) then please don't drive on arrival in NZ. Spend the first day in Auckland, or spend the first day on a flight to Christchurch.

Your experience of driving in the US on snowy roads will not prepare you for driving in NZ. We do not have the multi-lane freeways you are used to, nor do we have divided highways. Our roads are more like the back roads of Vermont. They pass through every little town and village so while the speed limit is 100kmp - and this is strictly enforced - you often need to slow for towns (50k - 30k), for hair-pin bends, for stock on the road, for slow moving campervans with no passing lanes etc.

I spent 20 years living in New York and I spent 6 more years in Switzerland - I drove through deep snow, day and night, through the winter months without hesitation. I am far more cautious here in NZ. The roads are not the same, the vehicles here do not have snow tyres.

Planning to drive Auckland to Queenstown in 3 days is irresponsible. To plan to do so mid-winter while jet lagged?? Please don't.

Driver fatigue is the most common cause of NZ road accidents. There have been some horrific tourist accidents.

1 arrive Auckland, fly to Christchurch

2 drive to Aoraki/Mt Cook

3 drive to Queenstown

please plan wisely and travel safe :)

7. Re: Passable Roads in July ?

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