New Zealand has some of the most scenic road trips in the world and now is a perfect time to get out and explore them. Overseas tourist numbers are almost non-existent and we have the roads to ourselves, so why not pull out the maps and plan a road trip today!
Do you remember the days when you set out on a road trip and all you took for navigation and information was a foldable paper map and the AA Accommodation Guide? Remember all the arguments and near divorces you had with your partner over directions? Remember arriving at your selected motel or campsite to find they were fully booked?
We’ve come a long way since then, and now all the information we could ever require for a road trip is available in our pockets – on our smartphones. Below are some useful road trip apps to help save you time, money and a heap of frustration.
GOOGLE MAPS: You probably already have Google Maps on your phone and are familiar with making use of voice-guided maps, using real-time GPS. The app gives you accurate driving times and distances and live traffic reports. You can download maps to use when you’re offline and bookmark places of interest and save them on the map.
MAPS.ME: Maps.me is another very popular mobile map app you can download before you travel and use when you are offline.
GASPY: Gaspy is all about fuel and saving you a dollar or two. It tells you where the closest petrol station is and the cheapest fuel in your location. The prices are crowd-sourced so you can help other travellers by entering petrol prices while you travel.
AA TRAVELLER: This app, with its detailed online guide books, has a wealth of information and allows you to book accommodation, rental vehicles, activities, and purchase ferry and train tickets.
CAMPERMATE: Campermate is probably the number one app for those planning a campground or motel based road trip. It has such a wealth of information, including locations and details of campsites and motels (with reviews), the location of public toilets, showers, free wifi, supermarkets, rubbish bins, etc. It offers last minute discounts on activities and accommodation in your area. It is a great asset to all road trippers, not just for campers!
RAMPERS CAMPING NZ, CAMPABLE (for campervans & motor homes), and NZ DOC CAMPSITE FINDER are very useful apps for finding accommodation especially for some unique and alternative places to stay.
METSERVICE: This app gives you all the weather information you need around the country. It shows you a 10 day extended forecast plus any weather warnings for the area you are travelling to, so you can plan what to pack and which day to go tramping!
SWELLMAP SURF: Gives you the latest surf and marine weather predictions so you can plan for the best beach experience you are after, whether it be experiencing a stunning sunset or seeking out the best surfing spots.
SANDFLY MAP: You will find this app particularly useful if you’re heading for the West Coast of the South Island or tramping in the bush. Travellers and locals report sandfly hot spots all around New Zealand so you can get covered up before you go to any sandfly ridden location.
STAR CHART: There are some amazing “Dark Sky Reserves” in New Zealand and star gazing anywhere in New Zealand, away from the light pollution of the big cities is a fascinating experience. All you need to do is activate the app, point your phone at the night sky and virtual stars and planets will appear through the app. A miraculous app in my opinion!
ESSENTIAL NEW ZEALAND TRAVEL: This is an app by Tourism New Zealand and is a valuable planning and travelling tool. It includes over 1,150 activities and travel experiences with updated prices highlighting iconic activities in each region and is illustrated with stunning pictures. One of the key features is it functions totally when you are offline.
These are just some of the apps that are out there to help you have an enjoyable and hassle-free road trip. There are many more, so if you have an area of interest, e.g. cycling, tramping, freedom camping etc, just type it in ‘Google’ and check out the results. Have an amazing road trip!
By Maureen Spencer from “So Many Places! So Little Time!’