Driving in New Zealand
New Zealand is an easy place to drive. Traffic is light, and the roads are easily navigated. But we decided to offer a few quick pointers to any concerns at ease.
“I’m used to Driving on the Left”
If you’re used to driving on the left, there’s hardly anything particularly special you need to know about driving in New Zealand. But you can skip down the page to view a few little pointers by clicking here.
Or you might like to directly continue to the article 10 Reasons to take a New Zealand Self Drive Tour Package.
“I’m used to Driving on the Right”
Tens of thousands of people come driving in New Zealand every year, many from places where people drive on the right.
Just follow a few simple tips you’ll be driving in New Zealand with confidence.
If you’re coming from somewhere more distant than Australia, rest up on your day of arrival. Because doing this is important, all our tours include free airport transfers for anyone who wants them.
If you’re travelling with a partner, agree to both be responsible for checking you’re on the correct side of the road. Two pairs of eyes on the road is always better than one.
Rent an Auto (if that’s what you’re used to)
If you’re more used to driving automatics, be sure that’s what you’re driving in NZ also, so you don’t distract yourself at all. All of our tours come with automatic vehicles as standard.
If you’re parked by the roadside, then be sure to park on the left side of the road, facing forward.
Other Great Tips for Driving in New Zealand
- Do not turn on a red light. Sneaking around the corner on a red light is legal in some countries. New Zealand is not one of them.
- Be familiar with one way bridges. These are particularly common on the West Coast of the South Island. Every bridge gives preference to drivers coming from one direction, which is clearly marked with a give way sign. If the forward (upward) facing arrow is small and red, you must stop and wait if there are vehicles coming in the other direction. Why do we still have this antiquated little bridges in New Zealand? Because they are wonderful.
- Let locals overtake you. You might be admiring the scenery, but the person in the vehicle behind you might be late for work. Please respect local drivers by pulling over and letting them past.
For some more information and advice, and detailed guides written in various different languages, please see the New Zealand Transport Agency site.
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