Apps and Websites You Need for a New Zealand Road Trip

Apps and Websites You Need for a New Zealand Road Trip

From buying and selling cars to calculating travel distances, these mobile apps and websites will help with your road trip around New Zealand.

Image credit: Florian Rohart 

Since the days of squinting at paper maps big enough to be full-length bath towels are in the past, I rely on my trusty iPhone to find solutions for my everyday travel dilemmas — where am I going and how can I get there? Where will I sleep for the night? Smartphones have revolutionised the way we travel and get around foreign land, and made it way more manageable for map-idiots like me to locate my position and how to get to the next destination (which I only plan on the night before or the morning itself).

Driving around New Zealand for almost 6 months meant that I had to find my way around, as well as locate places to stay when I needed to stop for the night. I drove a Subaru Legacy station wagon, which meant that I was looking for places that accommodated non-self-contained vehicles. Here are some apps and websites I found most useful during my six-month working holiday stint in New Zealand, and I believe they are just as useful for people driving self-contained vehicles.

Apps and websites for driving and getting around

1. Google Maps App

Definitely my go-to app for getting directions anywhere. However, the time quoted on Google Maps can be hit-or-miss. You might be better off getting a better ballpark estimation of time from the AA Travel Distance Calculator.

2. AA Travel Distance Calculator

While planning my driving routes in New Zealand, the AA Travel Distance Calculator was particularly helpful by giving a good gauge of time needed, including possible heavy traffic conditions (this does not really happen in New Zealand outside the cities unless there was a roadblock due to landslides etc.), bad weather, toilet breaks, petrol station stops, and average speed driving. Needless to say, the time given is always more than what you need, so it’s a better estimation to go by than Google Maps in my opinion. I tend to use both the Google Maps app and the AA Travel Distance Calculator hand in hand so that I can see the route and estimate the time it will take. I can also decide which little town to stop by for coffee or a fuel stop.

Also read: Singaporean’s Guide to Having a Working Holiday in New Zealand

3. NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) Traffic and Travel Website

The NZTA Traffic and Travel website provides updates on road conditions especially road works and hazards. I was driving a day after Cyclone Pam hit and there were road blocks in many areas. I took several breaks at cafes and kept checking the NZTA Traffic and Travel website to be informed when the particular road block was cleared after Greymouth so that I could head back to Nelson.

Apps and websites for activities, accommodation, and buying a car

1. Trade Me

The eBay of New Zealand, Trade Me is an online classifieds where I bought and sold my car! You can also find jobs, rent an apartment, as well as buy and sell miscellaneous things on the website.

2. Campermate App / Jucy App

Both apps show you a list/map of campgrounds, holiday parks, and hostels in an interactive map/list. You will be able to see accommodations’ info such as the cost, photos, their website and phone number, as well as reviews (many in German though due to the large influx of German holidaymakers in New Zealand). The filter on the Jucy app to separate self-contained vehicles and non-self-contained vehicles is particularly useful.

Also read: 23 Things Every First-Time Traveller in New Zealand Should Know

3. BBH New Zealand Backpackers Network / YHA New Zealand

If you’re travelling in New Zealand for some time and want to stay in backpacker hostels, joining either BBH or YHA enables you to get discounted bed rates and even free wifi at some hostels (many hostels in New Zealand DO NOT have free wifi. It’s not a given like it is in many parts of the world).

4. BookMe New Zealand / GrabOne NZ

If you’re familiar with Groupon in other parts of the world, you know how BookMe and GrabOne work. With plenty of attractions at discounted rates, you’ll be able to try stand-up paddle board, swim with dolphins, or take a Milford Sound cruise at slashed prices.

5. Notability App / Evernote App

I don’t usually plan any itineraries, and when I did I ended up changing them anyway. But if you do need a space to plan out where to go and what to do, I would use my Notability app (syncs across my iOS devices and Mac) to jot down notes, as well as paste images and screenshots. I also save and open PDFs such as bookings from BookMe and/or GrabOne in Notability so that everything is in one place. Evernote is also a powerful app that can do all of the above and more, but I chose to drop it because my notes cannot be opened offline.

Also read: 20 Incredible Experiences You Must Have in New Zealand

6. Wikitravel Free Travel Guide

I tend to avoid Lonely Planet, I’m not sure why. Probably the same reason I avoid Starbucks.

I like how WikiTravel is open source and sometimes I get local insights to a particular place in terms of something to check out to get a closer native experience. WikiTravel provides background info on a place, how to get in, how to get around, what to see and do, eat and drink, sleep and get out.

With these handy apps and websites, your road trip around New Zealand will be a smooth-sailing one. Enjoy your journey!

About Author

Xanne Lim
Xanne Lim

Easily restless, Xanne has crazy ideas brewing in her mind constantly. They usually involve travel, food, and living in different places at each phase of her life. She thinks she creates multiple lives that way. In another life, she was pursuing lifeless symbols and collecting meaningless possessions. These days, you will find her chasing waterfalls and kayaking on white water. And smiling a lot while at it. Sometimes, she can be seen jumping off something somewhere when she’s had enough of normal. She shares more of her adventures, experiences and thoughts on Where is Xanne?.


Related Posts