It’s official: we’re less than a month away from the first day of summer. This can only mean one thing – it’s the season for heading off on the long, open road to discover the hidden gems that make up this beautiful country we call home. From sunny Northland to mountainous Wanaka, we’ve pulled together our five favourite excuses to make like Tom and Cruise.
Northland to Auckland – 775 kilometres
Kick-start your adventure in beautiful seaside town Paihia, and follow the pohutukawa-fringed coast north as you pass through Kerikeri and drive along the shores of popular Northland beaches. When you reach Cape Reinga, witness the merging of the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea, or try your hand at sand boarding down Te Paki’s golden dunes. Continue back down the west coast along Ninety Mile Beach, stopping off in Waipoua Forest to gape in awe at Tane Mahuta, a whopping 51.2 metres high, before continuing your way south towards Auckland.
Taranaki Loop – 474 kilometres
The Taranaki Loop, or Surf Highway 45 as it’s better know, is every surfers dream, with this dedicated surf driving route every revealing epic swells, countless surf breaks and some of the best beaches the country has on offer. Starting in New Plymouth, head south towards Port Taranaki and trace the Taranaki coastline around towards Hawera, the southernmost point of the loop, before reconnecting with SH3.
Hawke’s Bay to Whakatane – 763 kilometres
Wine lovers will obsess over the number of picturesque vineyards dotted throughout New Zealand’s famed wine trail from Napier, around East Cape towards Whakatane. Being the first to see the sun makes for a fine drop of Chardonnay and wine connoisseurs will love Gisborne, while history buffs will be in their element learning about Napier’s Art Deco heritage.
Nelson to Wanaka – 744 kilometres
Discover the best the South Island has to offer in this straight stretch of road linking sunny Nelson with Wanaka in the heart of Otago. Visit the statuesque Punakaiki Rocks as you journey south through Greymouth and wild foods capital, Hokitika. Capture a truly Instagram-worthy moment as you stop off at two of New Zealand’s most famous natural landmarks – Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier before winding through Mount Aspiring National Park towards Wanaka.
Queenstown to Christchurch via Mount Cook – 376 kilometres
Central Otago is home to some of the most incredible sights in New Zealand, and what better way to discover them than to take a leisurely drive from central Queenstown towards Christchurch. Detour off course and be wowed by New Zealand’s highest mountain, Mount Cook, peek inside the Church of the Good Shepherd at charming Lake Tekapo, before exploring local towns Geraldine and Ashburton as you continue east.
And the best way to get from A to B on these epic trips you ask? With its reimagined exterior, new suite of driver assistance systems, powerful engines and increase techno features, the Audi A3 will ensure your drive is as smooth as it is stylish.
Boasting distinctive new look headlights with jagged bottom edges and a wider grille front, the new A3 appears even sportier than ever.
With three A3 models available, each more advanced than the last – the A3, A3 sport and S3 models – this compact hatchback packs complex technology usually only reserved for full sized luxury vehicles to a premium small car segment.
Small but mighty, the A3 range will have going from 0-100 real quick, especially the S3 model which will have you hitting the open road speed limit in an eye-watering 4.5 seconds.
Long-weekend traffic slowing you down? All models feature advanced new driver assistance systems meaning you can smoothly navigate crowded motorways with Audi’s Pre-Sense City mode to detect critical driving situations, while Rear Cross Traffic Assist supports drivers while reversing into tricky parking spots.
You can’t have a good ol’ road trip without the tunes to match, so thankfully each car has clever smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to pump out your music of choice.
Throw away your Wises map harking back to 1995, each Audi A3 model features MMI navigation and an optional Audi virtual cockpit helps drivers to focus on their driving experience, not on whether they’ve missed the right off-ramp.
Check out the new Audi A3 range here.