OPEN AIR ADVENTURE
31 Aug 2020
The Expedition Earth duo, Topher and Bridget, have been exploring New Zealand in Heaphy for the past two months.
Before COVID forced changes to their global expedition, they were exploring Siberia's Arctic Circle in Gunther their Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
They now share with us their Tips and Tricks of how to explore NZ by road!
Remain flexible and don't book ahead
The beauty of having your own wheels is to keep complete control of where you go and when. Don't limit yourself by booking in advance; you'll always be able to find somewhere to stay last minute. Remaining flexible will allow you to follow the sunshine or explore the trail you've just discovered off-route!
Create an argument safe-word
Spending so much time together in such close proximity can come with some high tension moments; whether it's a partner, family or friend. Create a safe-word to diffuse a situation when tensions start running high. In our first week of Expedition Earth, Bridget drove into a pothole on the Dalton Highway in Alaska which prompted our first and last argument. When it has come to almost running out of fuel in southern Ethiopia, driving 3 hours in the wrong direction or accidentally driving into the Congo - our safe-word 'Pothole' has worked a treat!
Stop and get out
The natural beauty of New Zealand is so breathtaking that it's easy to forget to actually stop and get out of the car. It's important you do this just to experience the sounds and smells of your backyard. This is when you'll actually get to 'feel' where you are and have a reset before continuing the drive. You might also notice a cheeky Kea sitting on the roadside or a patch of wild lupin flowers you would have otherwise missed. If you're in a Wrangler, try taking the freedom panels off!
Don't just take Instagram photos
Instagram photos are great for a polished memory, but when you look back at your roady in a few years the emotion and memories come from the raw photos. If you get a flat tire, take a quick pic. These are the moments you will remember and laugh about later on.
Keep it clean!
Your car is now your home. Keep some wet wipes or a rag in the glove box and wipe down the car's interior every morning for a fresh start. Although the exterior will always get dirty, do take advantage of the odd car wash. It makes a big difference to your day.
When you're both looking towards the road ahead, it's a brilliant time to spark up some interesting conversations and avoid awkward eye contact. Does your partner want to have kids? What do they think of their mother in law? It's a good time to understand one another more than ever before.
Getting stuck is FUN
If you're reading this then you're most likely in a Jeep. Push your car... it's what it was designed for! It's taken us two years of driving the world's most extreme roads to fully understand what the Wrangler is capable of. Just remember... The worst that can happen is you get stuck. You'll eventually learn that getting stuck becomes a fun challenge of working your way out of a situation. It also gives you good stories and memories that you'll keep with you forever.
Where to go in New Zealand? Keep an eye out for our next Jeep Life!
Bridget and Topher are putting together a full New Zealand guide on where to go and when.
Expedition Earth: Make sure to follow Bridget and Topher's New Zealand journey on Instagram.