Best Road Trips – New Zealand, Scotland, India

In the more recent years of our adulthood, we have done quite a few road trips. But if we were to choose the most epic ones so far, there are three that come to mind. What’s amazing to realize is that the three were in three different parts of the world and completely different from one another! Here they are …

1. Road Tripping across New Zealand, South Island

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Fiordland National Park, New Zealand

New Zealand felt like Scotland on steroids mainly because of the sunny weather. It’s the most picturesque place on earth we’ve been to, ever! It’s true when people say you really have to concentrate to stay focused on the road because the landscapes are so breathtaking.

We covered multiple destinations, stayed in all types of accommodation ranging from hostels, airbnbs to a camping site in the middle of nowhere, cooked our own meals, gorged at restaurants and ate at food carts.

See our NZ road trip itinerary – click here and you can watch our vlog here.

2. Road trip from Leeds to the Scottish Highlands (Fort William, Isle of Skye)

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Somewhere in the Scottish Highlands

The highlands felt like a dream, the clouds and mist around adding to the surrealism. The English countryside along the way, sheep farms, lochs and snow covered peaks so close to the beautiful road was a first for us.

The best part was staying in a camping pod at this campsite called Bunroy park at Fort William. Sleeping snug and warm in sleeping bags, trudging to the common bathroom in the cold and making breakfast at the camp turned out to be an amazing adventure. Whisky Distillery tour at Dalwhinnie, stop over at the Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier for the most amazing mug of hot chocolate and stop over at the lookout at Laggan Dam were other highlights.

Read our post on the road trip, click here and see time-lapses captured from our action cam here.

3. Road trip from Mumbai to Agra via Udaipur & Ranthambore National Park, India

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Jeep Safari at Ranthambore National Park

There was so much diversity to our experiences on this one. We started from Mumbai and first stop was Udaipur, a lovely lake city in the state of Rajasthan. Next was open jeep safaris chasing Bengal tigers at Ranthambore and final stop was Agra, a historic town and the world renowned Taj Mahal.

Read more about this trip at these posts – Part 1 and Part 2.

Road Trip Itinerary – New Zealand South Island

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On the way to Mt. Cook, New Zealand

In the last post, we shared the amazing views and places we covered on our New Zealand road trip in a video.

This post is to share more information on the path we took and the places we covered along the way. Hopefully, it will help you get a better idea of what to cover.

The map below shows black markers and blue circles (A-G) to mark our base locations and orange markers to denote places we took day trips to from the base location or stopped at on our way between bases.

The whole trip was 10 days from Christchurch to Christchurch so we stayed in:

  • Christchurch for 2 days – 1 day of arrival, 1 day before departure
  • Spent 2  days at Franz Josef glacier and around
  • 1.5 days in Te Anau and around
  • 3 days in Queenstown and around
  • Covered Mount Cook on the way from Queenstown to Tekapo with a short detour
  • 1 day in Tekapo

The only thing we regret was not spending more time at Mt. Cook. There is a Hooker Valley hike that we could have also done instead of only the Tasman Glacier climb.

In terms of the weather, we choose March as it’s autumn so neither too hot, nor too cold. We did get a couple of cloudy/rainy days though. On the whole, 70% of the time the weather was excellent. Blue skies and cool breezes.

So go on then, plan your trips! 😀

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. How did we get around in New Zealand? A. Self-drive
  • Q. Where did we rent a car from and which car was it? A. From Go Rentals, a Toyota Corolla Compact
  • Q. How much did it cost? A. Approx. 600 NZ$ for 10 days with excess insurance
  • Q. Is it safe to drive around A. Yes very safe
  • Q. How easy or difficult is the drive A. The drive is moderately difficult in patches. There are a few routes that are hilly and you need to have a good grip on the handle for these
  • Q. Where did we stay? A. We stayed in YHA hostels and AirBnBs
    • Get SGD $45 off (approx. USD $35) on your very first Airbnb stay using this link, click here.

PS: a few call outs

All lakes are beautiful, from Lake Pukaki to Wakatipu to Hayes to Wanaka to Hawea to Moke to Tekapo! Choose anyone on a nice and bright day and it will be stunning! Moke Lake seemed to be a great site for camping and star gazing.

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Lake Hayes, New Zealand

Spend 1-2 days at Mt. Cook and do the Hooker valley track and Tasman Glacier viewpoint.

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Tasman Glacier viewpoint, New Zealand

Milford Sound is so worth it but check the weather before going. The place is prone to rainfall so there are very few days its sunny. It’s just unbelievable on a clear day.

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Milford Sound, New Zealand

Franz Josef/ Fox Glacier heli hike is perhaps the best thing you could do there. Again the weather can play a spoil sport as it did in our case so keep your schedule flexible.

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On top of Fox Glacier

Queenstown and around is great for adrenaline junkies with all sorts of adventure sports options.

On the road, you won’t find stores, eateries and fuel pumps for long distances so stock up on food and water and keep fuel tanks full.

Finally, New Zealand is too beautiful to miss so please go! 😀

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Somewhere near Queenstown, New Zealand

 

Epic Road Trip in New Zealand, South Island

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On the road in New Zealand

Less than two weeks ago we were in New Zealand!

The place is incredible and it turned to be an amazing holiday. We combined it with our love for road trips and it was just epic. Being on the road in NZ is an experience in itself and we just had to capture some of it.

Sharing with you a video from the same. It’s a bit long-ish (6 1/2 mins) but we couldn’t help it. The place is just breathtaking. See for yourself:

Our road trip was all in South Island from Christchurch to Christchurch with halts along the way. We will be sharing the details on it in a subsequent post soon.

Till then enjoy this video and get inspired! 😀

Timelapses from the Scottish Highlands

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Blue skies in Scotland

We just received the timelapse videos from our road trip in Scotland earlier this year!!! You see, our cousin had purchased a new action camera and the trip became his testing ground.

The videos are awesome and we just had to share them here. It really helps you witness how picturesque the highlands are!

We’ve combined some of them into one video. It starts with the day we were driving in to Fort William, moves onto the second day when we went exploring on an overcast day, proceeds to our last day there when we were driving out on a brighter day and the last bit is when we stopped at Dalwhinnie Distillery on the way to Edinburgh.

Check em out! 😀

Road Tripping to the Scottish Highlands

Laggan Dam, Scottish Highlands

Laggan Dam, Scottish Highlands

Are you planning a trip to the Scottish Highlands? Don’t think twice because you won’t be disappointed.

Some people take day trips from Edinburgh for the highlands but if you can drive down and spend a few days or even a couple of days there, its going to be so worth it!

We drove down to the highlands from Leeds and the journey itself is wonderful. You pass by the English countryside with rolling fields and a sheep farm every few kilometers and blue open skies (when its not raining, it absolutely stunning). The sheep are so cute and chubby, you can’t help feel getting down and cuddling them. In the distance they are like white polka dots on a green canvas.

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English Countryside

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Sheep Farm, England

As you enter the highlands the landscape changes to peaks, mountains and Lochs. Lochs. lochs, lochs everywhere in the highlands. Along the way we also stopped at Loch Lomond and a another waterfall site called Falls of Falloch. And there are many many viewpoints with breathtaking scenery to feast your eyes upon.

Somewhere in the highlands

Somewhere in the highlands

We stayed close to Fort William at this campsite called Bunroy Park. As March is still winters we opted for the camping pod instead of carrying and pitching our own tent and this proved to be very practical in the cold and wet weather that’s notorious in the region.

Bunroy Park

Bunroy Park

The campsite is quite good with the usual facilities, a flowing stream a stone throw’s away and hills in the backdrop. This actually turned out to be a great way to enjoy the highlands.

We drove around quite a bit and visited/passed by so many Lochs, I don’t even remember the names now. We visited the Glenfinan Viaduct (the bridge in Harry Potter where the Hogwarts Express crosses, see here). You can even time your visit to see a train pass by!

At a Loch in the highlands

At a Loch in the highlands

Laggan Dam is a place worth mentioning. Winters I guess had cast its own hues and shades and transformed the place so beautifully. See below.

Laggan Dam, Scotland

Laggan Dam, Scotland

We also visited the Eilean Donan Castle and it was quite interesting in my opinion. Its located at the intersection of three Lochs and was a strategic location for the clan Mackenzie.

We then went onwards to Isle of Skye and back via taking a ride on the barge along with the car on board.

Eilean Donan Castle

Eilean Donan Castle

And oh, we also did a Whisky distillery tour at Dalwhinnie! Dalwhinnie is such a cute hamlet and we were told its the coldest village in the highlands – as cold as Iceland. We were in fact almost at level with the snow capped mountains there and it had even snowed the previous night.

Dalwhinnie

Dalwhinnie

As we were driving back to Edinburgh, we stopped at this awesome chocolatier which was highly recommended. This is located at Grandtully and goes by the name of Iain Burnett – The Highland Chocolatier. Its in a traditional bungalow and houses a cafe and a shop. We tried their Hot Chocolate and it was the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had! The sandwiches were good too!

Iain Burnett

Iain Burnett

Overall, we spent just about 2.5 days in the highlands but it was so amazing! I hope my experience gives you a few good tips on how you want to spend your time there.

More on the UK trip coming soon!

Blue skies

Blue skies and the countryside

Road Trippin with my favorite allies

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Road Trip begins!

“Road trippin’ with my two favorite allies
Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies
It’s time to leave this town
It’s time to steal away …”

If you ask me about some of my epic road trips, this one will certainly qualify. You see every year I go back to India to visit friends and family and on every such occasion, I felt as if something was missing on these annual trips home. This year, I decided to add some spice to the days we spend in India and so emerged the idea of a 1,300km road trip from Mumbai to Agra!

More people gave a thumbs-up to the plan and we were a group of 4 people journeying together. The first day, we started from Mumbai early morning and arrived at Vadodara around 1 pm where we stopped for lunch. As has been my tradition for the last three years, I make it a point to catch-up with some friends/ex-work colleagues in this city (which is very dear to me). We stopped at this nice place right on the highway and caught up on things over some delicious dhaba (roadside restaurant) food.

Recharged, we were now headed for our destination for the day – Udaipur! On and on we drove and finally reached around 8 pm cruising a good 750km in a single day. Phew! Our longest run in the entire journey. Thankfully, the roads are quite good and so we made good time. I would suggest through to start from Mumbai as early as possible, say around 4:30am to avoid truck traffic which starts around 6am.

Terrace overlooking Lake Pichola

From the terrace at night

Our stay here was in the old town of the city with a beautiful lake view from the terrace. As it was December, it was nice and chilly on the terrace. And with the city lights casting a nice glow, it all created a charming ambiance for our dinner. With some nice music wafting from one of our mobile phones we pounced on the steaming hot manchurian and flipped opened the drinks. The party had begun! 😉

An enjoyable evening and good night’s rest later, we were ready to go sight seeing the next morning. But not before a relaxed breakfast on the terrace again 🙂

View of the Lake Pichola from the terrace

View of the Lake Pichola from the terrace

Turned out, Udaipur is a lovely place. Especially, the City Palace which is really grand, breathtaking and well maintained. We spent a good amount of time here and later roamed around the lanes purchasing souvenirs and trinkets.

City Palace, Udaipur

City Palace, Udaipur

Spent from the touring around and already behind our schedule, we packed up and bade goodbye to the place wishing we could have stayed longer.

Of course the journey was embellished with dhaba food, inevitable and refreshing chai breaks, upbeat bollywood music with some Coldplay, OneDirection and Hotline Bling thrown in and random conversations. 🙂

Chai break!

Chai break! ❤

So far the road trip had turned out to be excellent but it wasn’t over yet. More on it, in the next post!