1. Possum roadkill
New Zealanders are well known to be happy, easy-going people but if there’s one thing they seem to loath as a nation, it is the dreaded possum.
The introduction of possums for the fur trade must have been one of the worst decisions New Zealand could have ever made. Today possums are responsible for as many as 26 million native bird deaths every year! As a sort of vengance on the possums some Kiwis will tell you that if you see one run across the road, don’t swerve to miss it! Of course New Zealand Motorhomes would never endorse this :)
If you're looking for a campervan roadtrip game 'counting possum roadkill' can be a fun albeit morbid one to play with the kids.
2. Letter boxes
A lot of New Zealanders live rurally or in remote and isolated areas. What better way to help the guests you've invited to tea find your place than by putting up a flamboyantly original and unmissable letterbox!
You will see plenty of good ones driving New Zealand roads.
3. Honesty boxes
In New Zealand, it’s not uncommon to see unmanned roadside stalls selling fresh produce; anything from avocados, to flowers or ducks’ eggs. Here, you are simply ‘trusted’ to make a correct payment via a peculiarly cool kiwi icon - The Honesty Box. Sadly, these days they are harder to find and some sellers have gone to lengths to hide cameras to catch would be thieves.
When you see one of these roadside stalls don’t hesitate to pull the campervan over and put the right amount (or more) into the honesty box. Not only will you be keeping a cool Kiwi tradition alive, but you would have bought yourself some quality produce for a fraction of the price of supermarkets. If you don’t have the correct change there is now an application (www.myhonestybox.co.nz) that allows you to make payment via your smartphone.
4. Stop Go Men
Roadworks are a common occurrence on NZ roads and sometimes you’ll need to be patient at the stop sign. However, If you’re at the front of the line it's well worthwhile striking up a coversation and perhaps learing some local knowledge with the Stop Go man or woman. They're always keen for a chat!
It might seem like a tedious kind of job, but these guys love it and why wouldn’t’ they! Having an outside job with breathtaking views couldn’t be all that bad.
It's kiwi tradition and considered goodluck to give them a wave as you drive past. They will most likely raise their eyebrows(a type of kiwi salute) and give you a wave back. A lot of them enjoy making people smile, and some have even been known to pull out the odd dance move! Entertainment while you wait!
5. Tight corners
New Zealand roads are often narrow, windy and cover either hilly terrain or follow the coast and there are plenty of sharp corners. Outside of the main cities, there are very few motorways and roads are single lanes in each direction without barriers in between. You may also encounter quite a few gravel roads.
It’s very easy to underestimate drive times when looking at a map and what might look like a short campervan trip can take a long time. We recommend allowing plenty of time. Be prepared to go slooooww in your campervan. Just enjoy the views and pull over at safe places when you can to let traffic pass. Remember to take plenty of breaks so that you stay alert.
If you want to hone your driving skills on New Zealand roads even before you arrive here, you can try a fun test using the AA’s new Visiting Drivers Training Programme.