The best way to see New Zealand’s stunning countryside is by car.
But not any ordinary car.
Tom Rosentreter, director of SportsCar Rental in Auckland has a stable of sports cars that are perfect for exploring the countryside.
We picked up a Nissan 350Z and followed the coastal road from Auckland to beautiful Paroa Bay.
It took us five hours stopping along the way to admire the magnificent coastal scenery.
Paroa Bay is located amid rolling hills near the charming town of Russell in New Zealand’s pretty Bay of Islands.
Tom, who has had a love of cars since his early days, says New Zealand is suited to great drives with stunning scenery and interesting attractions along the way.
He advises however that distances may seem short on paper, but the roads that vary from motorways to unsealed gravel roads, are often narrow and windy.
“They are well suited for these beautiful high-powered cars,” he says.
Sports Car Rental offers sports cars, convertibles and hot hatches including the Nissan 350Z, Audi 3, six speed manual, Mazda Miata MX5 and a Ford Mustang.
“Our clients get a real thrill out of experiencing being behind the wheel of these well balanced and great looking performance cars,” Tom says.
The low down
The cars are meticulously maintained and according to Tom the included insurance has a much lower excess or liability than many others at $2000.
“Unlike many other prestige, sports and performance rental car companies, all of our cars have unlimited kilometres included in your hire, excluding the Mustang V8,” Tom says.
Located near Auckland airport and very close to the inner city and CBD, Tom will pick you up from anywhere within the inner city or the airport.
So how did the Nissan 350Z perform?
It was fabulous and a great adventure zipping carefully around the many bends on the coastal road.
If you are heading that way make sure you visit Sage Restaurant at Paroa Bay which has fabulous seaside views and a great menu.
It is a 15-minute drive from Russell and has a great following with locals and visitors alike and with good reason – there’s an emphasis on fresh local produce, seafood and meat served with a Mediterranean twist.
Sage restaurant is part of Paroa Bay Winery that specialises in sustainable handmade wines. Traditional viticulture and dry grown vines create distinctive wines of character in low yields, reflecting the white clay soils and warm climate of the Bay of Islands.
The winery, restaurant and three houses are part of the Lindis Group’s luxury hospitality collection.
Spend the night at the beautiful luxury Vineyard Cottage.
The sprawling two-bedroom cottage overlooks manicured vines, the vineyard and landscaped gardens.
Car hire – Book a fun sports car, convertible or hot hatch from Auckland-based sportscarrental.co.nz
For information on Paroa Bay Winery, Sage Restaurant and Vineyard Cottage – paroabay.com
For more information newzealand.com