Great Expectations - Go South with 4WD Grit

Exploring the South Island of New Zealand is an exciting experience – especially for first-time visitors to this pristine part of the world. Ensuring you make the most – and see the most – of the south is essential, which is why we’ve devised a few must-read tips to take onboard when driving your 4WD hire vehicle around the Canterbury region. It’s time to buckle up, turn up the tunes and let your 4WD car safely lead the way!

Adaptability for the unexpected 

New Zealand roads are extremely variable – sometimes exceptionally quiet, at other times hectic and congested. Down south especially, driving on quieter country roads can lead to accidently encroaching onto both sides of the road, or blindly cutting corners, or unexpectedly getting caught out by another vehicle on a one lane bridge. In some instances, livestock can randomly cross onto road pathways or the road surface may abruptly change from tarseal to gravel forcing you to stop or slow speed quickly.

In situations like these a 4WD rental car will afford you better handling and traction. One of the biggest advantages of driving a 4WD when touching down on a gravel or uneven surface is its ability to stick. Unlike 2WD vehicles, traction is easier to engage when the torque and power is spread across all four wheels as opposed to two. Having an active 4X4 system at the ready allows you to put more power into the middle of a corner if need be – to avoid livestock or come out of it quicker.

Drive tall, drive safe

Some of the most scenic roads in the South Island are the steepest. For example, at 1622 metres above sea level The Remarkables Ski Field in Otago is one of the highest in the country. Other stunning hilly journeys include, Lindis Pass, Danseys Pass and Arthurs Pass, and let’s not forget to mention Treble Cone – which is unsealed with an average gradient of 12%.

Alongside mountainous terrain, South Island roads can be prone to flash flooding in places too, with many of the worst hit areas in the country centred between Christchurch and the West Coast. 

Having safety assurance and peace-of-mind when the driving gets tough – or high – is essential for a successful driving adventure. If the roads do get rough – water levels rise or snow begins to pile up when you’re heading up the mountain – having the extra ground clearance in your 4WD rental will be well appreciated. 

Unlike other vehicles, when put to the test in unpredictable driving conditions, a 4WD’s traction actually improves. So, be it snow, ice, rocks, or rushing water headed your way, your 4WD rental car stays in control no matter what the course. 

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