Driving in Zealand
Please read through the following rules before you drive on New Zealand roads
- In case of an emergency contact the Police, Fire or Ambulance by dialing 111.
- Remember, it’s easy to underestimate New Zealand driving times. Take plenty of breaks and give yourself additional travel time to rest and stretch your legs. Check out the travel distance calculator.
- Keep your eye on the weather conditions before each journey so you can drive to the conditions. Allow for extra New Zealand driving times where needed.
- Check out the new ‘Driving in New Zealand‘ guide from the NZ Transport Agency in 11 different languages.
We drive on the left-hand side of the road.
|Always wear a 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.
|Stop at the STOP signs
Keep to the speed limit and always stop at STOP signs
|Observe recommended speeds
Always slow down to observe recommended speeds around bends and check for oncoming traffic on one-lane bridges.
|Use passing lanes to overtake
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.
Plan to drive for only 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, snowing, windy or if you’re in a roadworks area. Ask your accommodation provider if in doubt.
|Estimate your driving times
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.
|Don't use your mobile phone
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.