Vehicle Suitability

We hope you find the following useful. Even if you have never done any 4WDing before, you and your vehicle are already both 95% ready and capable of completing our tours. If you do not have a 4WD or find your vehicle may not be suitable, or you are travelling from areas further away, another option is to hire a suitable vehicle. Info about this can be found on our Rentals page


We often get ask the following questions about peoples vehicles and

our tour’s.


1) Is my vehicle going to be suitable?

There once was a time when all 4WD vehicles were Landrover’s and life was simple, if tough. Now we have a multitude of 4WD and All wheel Drive vehicles with varying degrees of off road capability.We only catered for low ratio equipped high clearance vehicles. Low ratio equipped, high ground clearance vehicles: Suitable for all NZ Adventures Safaris. These vehicles are fitted with a transfer gearbox giving high and low ratios and also have high ground clearance and high profile tyres. This applies to most Utility style single cab, extra and double cab 4WD vehicles. Examples might be Toyota Hilux, Mazda BT 50, Bounty. Ford Ranger, Courier. Mitsubishi Triton.



Would also include Nissan Safari, Patrol, Pathfinder, Terrano , Navara D40

& D22. Mistral. Isuzu Bighorn,  Mu & MUX. Honda Horizon & Crossroad. Holden Jackaroo, Monteray & Colorado 7. Mazda Marvie, Suzuki Vitara & Jimny ( 2 persons only in Vitara & Jimny) . Diahatsu Rocky (2 Persons only) Mitsubishi Pajero, Proceed, Challengers & L300 Vans ,Toyota Surf, Prado, Landcruisers (all series including the same vehicles branded as Lexus) Landrover Defender , Discovery & Range Rover. Jeep (any with Low range Transmission). Ford Explorer & Maverick, Great Wall X & V240, Ssangyong Rexton. All vehicles need to be driven carefully and with all due regard to avoid damage as track conditions do alter generally due to weather conditions. Vehicles with Low Profile Tyres fitted either new or aftermarket are not suitable for NZ Adventures Tours.



Vehicles would generally (there have been exceptions) include the following, Audi Q7, all subarus , BMW X3, X5, & X9, VW Tiguan, Landrover Freelander, Mercedes GL & M & ML Class, Ford Escape & Territory, Honda CRV, Hyundai Tuscon, Nissan X Trail & Mirano, Toyota Highlander, Harrier/Lexus RX, Rav 4, Volvo XC, Holden Captiva, Mitrubishi Outlander, Airtrek, & RVR, SSangyong Kyron, SSangyong Workmate, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Sante Fe & Tuscon. Skoda Yeti.


Please Note: This list is not definitive, there are always suitable new models coming along. So, you have any questions or a vehicle you are unsure about, please give us a ring to discuss your vehicle with us.


Only Low ratio equipped, high ground clearance vehicles are suitable for the High Country Heritage, Southern Range Mackenzie, Eastern  West Coast Explorer & 46 South tours. On these tours we go into areas that require a bit more ground clearance, longer climbs and some river crossings.



2) Are my tyres suitable for this tour?

Tyres: Before we talk specifics on tyres, whatever tyres you have on your vehicle they must (including the spare) have at least 70% tread life left,

with no cuts or carcass damage. This terrain is rocky and can be quite hard on tyres. It is a fact that most tyre problems occur in the last half of the tyre’s life!


Explorer Safaris.

Minimum requirements recommended are genuine all terrain (AT type) tyres with chunky block treads in very good condition. Standard road tyres are not recommended for these Safaris.


Heritage 4x4 Safaris.

Ideally, though not essential, are AT, or ‘all terrain tyres’. These are chunkier than the usual purely road tyres, with about 80% tread to gap ratio and stronger construction. Performance road tyres with light sidewalls are more vulnerable to damage on the rocks we will experience. If you have lightweight tyres of an unusual size they are unlikely to be stocked in rural areas. We recommend borrowing a second new spare tyre (rim not essential) for the Safari from your agent and returning it after the trip.

If the weather does turn wet and you are using road tyres you may have

to miss out sections of the track you might otherwise tackle.


Low profile tyres

Vehicles with low profile fitted either new or aftermarket are NOT suitable for NZ Adventures tours.  It is anything that is not the normal side wall height of a conventional 4WD tyre. (About 15 cm) it can be considered a

low profile.


Space saver tyres:

Generally Space Saver tyres are not suitable for off road. If you have

one of these please, you MUST talk to us about it.


3) Do I need a winch or snorkel?

No, you do not need a winch or snorkel for any of our tours. Snorkels are however cheap insurance and if you often spend your time off road or drive in dusty conditions one should be considered.


4) Is there any special equipment I need on my vehicle?

When you send your deposit in we send back to you, along with other paperwork a Preparation guide. This tells you what we recommend you bring and what we recommend for the vehicle. But basically any stock standard 4WD vehicle is already 95% ready for our tours.


Basic vehicle equipment:

Talk of recovery gear may get some into a cold sweat, but like all good Scouts we like to be prepared - just in case. Though we have no intention

of getting anyone stuck, please remember that we are going a good way

off road and none of us can control every eventuality, especially the weather - and the person behind the wheel........!


Fire risk:

We are likely to drive through areas of high fire risk. Our entry permits state that all vehicles must carry a minimum 2.5 kg fire extinguisher Dry powder or CO2, in working order. Please note that no smoking is permitted anywhere on private and DOC land.


Heritage Safaris:

A strong metal handled spade. Strong, rated tow hooks front and rear of your vehicle. There are usually some on the vehicle, but are sometimes they are light duty items. Accessory hooks are cheap and easily fitted. If you aren’t sure get them checked at a 4WD shop. Usually any recovery points fitted by the manufacturer to your vehicle are more than adequate for our tours.  An 8000kg  - 9mtr Snatch strap & 2 x 3.2 ton rated shackles should be carried under the seat of any vehicle going off road.


Explorer Safaris:

In addition to the above. If it is wet we may be reducing tyre pressures, so you may want to bring your own compressor. An accurate tyre pressure gauge is invaluable. We do carry gauges and inflation equipment, but if you have your own gear it will speed things up.  4x4 enthusiasts with more experience may have other recovery items, feel free to bring these along.


None of this is difficult and below is a basic check list:

- THERMOS FLASK and cup.

- SPARE TYRE (Please ring and talk to us if you have a space-saver tyre)

- FIRE EXTINGUISHER (Minimum 2.5kg) dry powder or CO2









This is not an issue for us, but we need to know in advance so we can advise our meal providers so that your requirements can be catered for.



4WD Hire

Though NZ Adventures does not offer hire vehicles, many of our customers do hire 4x4 vehicles for the NZ Adventures Safaris. Even some of those customers who do own a 4x4 like to fly to the South Island to save time.

Hirepool, in Christchurch specialise in rugged off road hiring. Their vehicles are suitable for all our Safaris, including the more ambitious West Coast Explorer and Mackenzie Country Explorer tours.


The mainstream hire companies do not encourage rugged off road use and further specify certain dry weather routes like Skippers Canyon as no go areas. Highly capable vehicles like the Toyota Hilux are however frequently used by our customers on the High Country Heritage Safaris, without problems. The High Country Heritage Safari is generally confined to graded farm roads, in dry conditions and does not use routes commonly excluded. A run through the car wash and quick wipe down inside before drop off

will save on possible additional cleaning costs.


Hires generally commence and end in Christchurch, though Hirepool also have a base in Dunedin. You will need to allow time either side of the tour. Approx times from/to Christchurch are: Hanmer Springs 2 hours, Blenheim 4-5 hours, Greymouth 3 hours, Queenstown 6-7 hours.



Based in Christchurch with Toyota and Ford Ranger utilities and Toyota Landcruiser or similar. More basic and rugged. 4 x 4, low ratio for all

NZ Adventures Safaris. Address: 501 Blenheim Rd, Christchurch.

Ph. 0800 15 15 15


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