It’s Raining Cats & Dogs. . . Should you be Driving?

Lori Keller

October 27, 2013

Do's & Don'ts
Renting a campervan in New Zealand


In recent months, New Zealand has been experiencing some extremely high winds and unpredictable storm conditions. Although we’re used to exciting weather, some of the storms and wind gusts have been very unusual, and for the unprepared, very scary.

Many New Zealand visitors are surprised at the extreme weather variations they experience when touring. “Four Seasons in One Day” is becoming more the norm than the exception. Regardless of the length of your stay, you are likely to experience a little bit of  “weather” when in Aotearoa.

For those driving campervans, extra care needs to be taken. While driving a car in gusty winds can be a bit challenging, driving a large vehicle (especially if you aren’t accustomed to one) can be down-right scary.

Here are a quick few pointers to keep you safe and well on your journey.

  • Take your time. If you do not have to drive anywhere, stay put and wait it out. Most storms fluctuate in intensity, so waiting for an hour might see wind speeds drop considerably.
  • Talk to the locals. Residents of the area will have previously experienced some extreme weather conditions and will be able to give you a gauge of the severity of this weather event. They may reassure you that the wind is ” just a stiff breeze” or the rain you are witnessing is the “heaviest rain on record”. Take their advice.
  • Watch out for falling trees and rocks. Wind and rain mean falling rocks and broken tree branches. Keep and eye out for falling debris. Driving through narrow river gorges (New Zealand has alot of these) is not recommended during storm conditions, so it is best to plan an alternative route if you need to travel during or immediately after a period of heavy rain.

Most of all, use common sense. Don’t park under trees in strong winds, and don’t sleep next to a river bank during heavy rain . . . it sounds obvious, but many a visitor has come unstuck in situations just like these.

Enjoy your trip, and don’t forget, take is easy!

Strong Winds Snap Road Signs in Otago

Strong Winds Snap Road Signs in Otago



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