we are thinking of hiring a car to travel from Christchurch to Wanaka in early july. Are the roads cleared of snow and ice regularly or do we need chains/snow tyres for the trip?
It's pretty safe mostly, as they are constantly cleared and paved with grits. Chains/snow tires are not essential.
Here's some extra information: http://www.tourism.net.nz/rental-car-new-zealand.html about 10 years ago
Normally the roads are pretty good. Shady spots are sometimes icy in the mornings, so drive with care; watch for sun glint early morning and late afternoon too. If a cold snap has just come through the roads can be closed, usually for no more than a few hours. http://www.aaroadwatch.co.nz/ is a good source of up-to-date road information. about 10 years agoAnswered by Roy Britten via Travellr.com
Normal roads will not be a problem. Except for maybe a little ice in the early mornings as Roy said. You won't have to deal with snow unless there's a freak snowstorm (very rare) or you are planning on going up some mountains.
Of course, if you are thinking on going skiing you might encounter snowy roads. If that happens you may need chains, but all the skifields have rental places that will fit chains for you. about 10 years ago
We've always hired a small 4WD just in case, and take it easy around shady corners in the mornings!
Most of these roads up to the ski fields are dirt, and even if not snowing the roads can get very rutted and sometimes muddy, so having a 4WD feels so much safer.
If you are planning to go up to any of the ski resorts, you'll have to carry chains with you (even if in a 4WD) and the rental company will supply them. almost 10 years ago