Cautionary tale of taking GPS "shortest route" in NZ

Old Jan 14th, 2024, 10:46 PM
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Cautionary tale of taking GPS "shortest route" in NZ

We have a lot of unsealed (unpaved) roads, also sometimes referred to as metal, gravel or shingle roads, in NZ. Many are perfectly fine driving on with a regular 2-wheel drive vehicle. Some are well-maintained, some not so much. Some can have "soft edging." Of these, vegetation might be growing on the edge so that moving stock can feed on it. Not generally a problem if the road is flat, but it can be if the road is like the one these unfortunate tourists found themselves on. They got into trouble a few days ago when taking a stock route near Akaroa. Here is the article, should you care to read it:

Please take care when following the "shortest route" recommended by GPS. If you are in doubt about which way to go, please ask at the local tourist office (I-Site) or DOC office (Dept. of Conservation) before you drive off to your new destination. Or input shortest route excluding gravel if you are unsure.

According to an Akaroa police senior constable, the driver was not speeding or driving recklessly. I've had my own misadventures thanks to GPS, too, so I understand how something like this could happen.

You need not worry about state highways and most local roads. "Nearly 100% of the state highway network and two-thirds of the local roading network are sealed." (Ministry of Transport).

It is not uncommon to see farmers moving stock along some rural roads, mainly in winter. Here is a springtime Merino muster on Lindis Pass, which is not a stock route but part of State Highway 8. (I first posted this on the forum on November 22, 2018). If you're not in a hurry, you'd probably enjoy this local tradition, which is kind of dying out--but for now, many NZ farmers will still take to the road with their stock and equipment on Moving Day, popularly known as Gypsy Day, on June 1.
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Old Jan 15th, 2024, 09:26 AM
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Scary...thanks for posting.
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