Things I’ve learned on long road trips
I recently finished my fifth road trip between Auckland and Queenstown this year. Here is the ‘‘what’s hot’’ and ‘‘what’s not’’ of driving down the country. HOT: A little box called Tourism Radio. A nice guy lent me one at a conference. I was really impressed with the info about local attractions set among easy listening music. North of Kaikoura there is a gully where hundreds of seal pups come ashore and frolic. It’s a short walk to see them and it’s some of the best entertainment you will find. The road is littered with great cafes. Check out the book The Great NZ Cafe, written by a couple of Queenstowners. NOT: Leaving Auckland at 5pm on a Friday. I hate those ramp signals. Everyone is sailing by on the motorway but I’m stuck in a mile-long queue getting closer at about four cars a minute. Flatulence. Whether it’s the ‘‘silent assassin’’ or the ‘‘loud and proud’, situational awareness really takes a back seat in those awkward moments. And finally, I need to learn to trust the GPS. Having asked it to take me the fastest route from Hamilton to Wellington, and having enjoyed the byways it took me down, I chickened out and back-tracked halfway round Lake Taupo to get to familiar ground. Duncan Field owns Limousine Services Queenstown, is a past chief executive of the Queenstown Lakes District Council and an occasional consultant.