Driving in NZ
Driving in New Zealand can be very different to driving at home so we ask that you review the information and videos below.
We drive on the left-hand side of the road here, some of our roads are narrow, windy and have loose gravel… and it’s not unusual to see sheep or cattle on roads in rural areas. You need to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, and to understand New Zealand road rules and signs.
TOP TEN THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DRIVING IN NEW ZEALAND
Keep LEFT! We drive on the left-hand side of the road.
Always wear your seat belt. Everyone in your vehicle must wear a seatbelt, and children must be secured in an approved child seat. Your rental vehicle company can rent child seats to you if you didn’t bring your own
Keep to the speed limit and always stop at STOP signs.
Always slow down to observe recommended speeds around bends.
Overtake other vehicles only when it’s safe to do so. Use passing lanes whenever possible, and never cross a solid yellow line on your side of the centre line.
Stay well-rested. Plan to only drive 1 - 2 hours at a time, and take regular breaks during your journey to stretch your legs.
Drive to the conditions. You’ll need to reduce your speed if it’s raining, icy or snowing, windy, or if you’re in a roadworks area. Ask your accommodation provider if in doubt.
Use this Driving Time and Distance Calculator or GPS to estimate driving times while planning your journey. Driving in New Zealand can often take longer than expected due to our winding roads.
Do not drink and drive. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in New Zealand. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over at a rest area or in a safe place.