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Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Boston...
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Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Hello all,

We will be on the South Island from May 25-June 2nd, during which time we'll be making a meandering trip from Queenstown to Christchurch. I plan to take a few of the mountain passes along the way (Haast, Lindis, hopefully Crown Range, possibly Arthur's), and we'll spend a decent amount of time on the road.

I know weather that time is highly variable - could be a decent amount of snow, could be none. Due to the steep gradients here and there, as well as my own preference, I plan to get a car with a reasonably-sized engine. I'm wondering, however, if it's recommended to get an AWD or 4WD vehicle? I'm seeing quotes of around 34-40 NZD/day for a Camry/Lancer/etc, and 75 NZD/day for a Subaru Outback. Is it worth the price jump to get the AWD? It's within my budget if necessary, but I'd just as soon use the money elsewhere if it's a total waste.

Thanks!

Edited: 15 May 2014, 04:13
Wellington, NZ
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for Wellington
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1. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Nope, not needed. A comfortable car with enough boot space to fit your luggage is more important.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Very little chance of snow on the road - and if there is a sizeable dump they will close the road. I can't see any need for 4WD as you are sticking to the beaten track. 4WD might be useful if you were planning to ski or explore remote gravel roads where the higher clearance would be helpful.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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3. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

You won't need a 4WD.

- however you have me curious. What route are you taking to Chch? to include the Passes - Haast, Lindis and Arthur's makes for quite a bit of convolution.

Oz
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4. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Hi,

In certain circumstances such as early snow on alpine passes an AWD may be an advantage but a 4x4 isn't needed unless you plan on beach fishing.

Cheers,

Brisbane, Australia
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5. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Never needed one, even with the snow. 4wd wont improve anything unless you need the space.

Any ice usually burns off by mid morning.

More important to probably have a front wheel drive for traction and steering.

Also, most quotes for car hire doesn't include insurance, and if you have a debit visa/mastercard, they will hit you with a big deposit if you don't get the insurance.

Oak Park, Illinois
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6. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

Thanks everyone. Very helpful.

Oak Park, Illinois
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7. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

We will spend a night in Queenstown

a night in Glenarchy

a night in Wanaka

a night in Fox Glacier

a night in Punakaiki

christchurch

Doable?

New Zealand
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for South Island
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8. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

yep - this includes Haast and Arthur's, skips the Lindis.

Safe travels :)

9. Re: Worth extra $$ to get 4WD for south island in late may?

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