Stuck in the mud

New Zealand’s great outdoors are a vast wilderness of natural beauty, rugged terrain and quiet solitude.

Both the north and south islands have some excellent and easily accessible offroading territory, including forestry tracks, beaches and volcanic landscapes. In most places you’ll need to bring your own vehicle although there are some places where you can hire 4WDs.

In the North Island you’ll find some amazing terrain among the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau. The 42 Traverse is open to 4WD vehicles between 1 December and 30 April. The area is a kiwi sanctuary and also a multiple use site so drive carefully and slowly!

Contact the Whakapapa Visitor Centre for the latest information before you leave. Phone (07) 892 3729, or email

The Tukino Road – SH1 to Tukino Ski Field – offers stunning views of Mt Ruapehu. You should travel with other drivers, as the going can be very tough, especially in winter. An access key is required for the Tukino Ski Field. Contact Turangi Reception (07) 386 8607, email

If you’re in the South Island and have some time up your sleeve you can drive yourself into the middle of nowhere on a High Country Journey. It’s a week-long self-drive odyssey into the heart of the high country through a network of station tracks from Canterbury to Central Otago. It’s fully catered but everything else you do for yourself – with the help of an excellent manual! Find out more at

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