Road trip around NZ with kids – and the best car ever!

We travelled for 4 months around NZ in our car, with our kids - and we're telling you all about it! Click for more!

A pin to make life easier!

We’ve traveled for 4 months in our car around NZ with our kids. In this post, I’ll talk about the best family car ever and how road tripping for a long period – with kids – really was.

These 4 months were awesome, I must say. We found amazing places, bonded a lot, learned loads of things, had awesome new experiences, and a lot more.

It wasn’t all love and laughter and amazing places, although it was a good part of it. It also took lots of patience, talks, boundaries, planning, and improvising.

You can see our road trip tips here and a peek of what driving around the South Island is like.


driving nz

Driving around NZ was almost always like this, you know, a beach, the sun, and the family


A great part of it was inside our ex-car: the great Kia Carnival.

It was a big enough to fit all of us + our stuff comfortably, giving a bit of space between the kids (it fit 8 people, after all, so we had the 2 middle seats free). It was our safe haven during our trip: the only place where only our stuff entered, where we only had familiar smells, where we could leave our stuff without worrying about losing them. But it was also where we spent numerous unproductive hours: we couldn’t really work, study, play, or even move freely, which meant lots of bickering, lack of patience and empathy, hurt necks and legs, hunger and, well, boredom.

There were times when spoken games would work, but on very long trips (3+ hours) nothing would. We couldn’t keep playing the same game for too long nor change games too many times because we would all get really tired.


Queen Charlotte Drive, NZ

Love this photo from Tathi Jinno.


The car did come with many USB charging stations, which could be enough to keep them happy and playing games throughout the trips, but Melissa usually felt sick if using any device in a moving vehicle, the boys got too entertained in their games and Coral often needed help (or wanted to watch Netflix, which did cause a few problems) so we had to restrict the use of electronic devices in the car. The good thing was that no phone was ever found without battery and we could listen to our songs on the iPod. The bad thing: we couldn’t change the song on the iPod and we had to find the wanted song manually, going down (or up) one by one on the sound system.

With the help of this car, we were able to learn to let things go slowly. Since it’s so spacious, we could start the trip carrying what we thought we would need and leave things, little by little, as we felt safe enough to do so. We started the trip fully loaded, with the whole boot full to the brim and 2 huge bags on the roof of the car. By the end of the trip, we had our backpacks, handbags and a small box with our little condiments and hygiene stuff. Certainly, having the time to detach to stuff that may or may not be useful was a great learning experience for all of us.


road trip

Leaving Dunedin – the rainiest week we had


One brilliant feature of this car was the cup holder it had for 6 of the 8 seats. Everyone was able to reach their own water bottles and keep them where we could easily reach when we were unloading the car. Not having to pass the water bottle every 5 minutes really did hold my sanity for longer.

It was a new car, so we didn’t expect any problems – and we didn’t have any. Angelo said it was the most stable and comfortable car he’d ever driven. Everyone could ride on the rear seats, including the adults, because there was enough space and it was super handy when Coral was having a bad day. It’s also a safe car, a very important feature.

If there was one thing I wish I could take anywhere with us, it would be the car. Even though it was too big for me to drive, I loved it. Loved the seat heating, the automatic doors, the keyless system, the space, all the little details (like the awesome mirror that enabled us to see all the seats), the commodities and the NZ Kia service. We really do miss it.


the views of nz

Melissa made those hanging thingies when she was 5 and we still used them – it meant home.


What’s your favorite car? Let us know here in the comments!


3 replies
  1. Tatiana Saito
    Tatiana Saito says:

    Você gostava dele apesar de ser muito grande pra você dirigir, ou porque era muito grande e vc não conseguia dirigir? kkkkkkkkkkkkkkk

    Sua cara de pau!!


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