Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand is a popular option that allows travellers to get off the main highways and into the small towns and wilderness areas that make New Zealand unique.

Traffic in New Zealand drives on the left-hand side, and the speed limit is generally 50kph [30mph] in urban areas and 100kph [60mph] on the open road. Don’t speed – police patrol the highways and speed cameras are used. Seat belts must be worn at all times, and motorcyclists must wear helmets.

There are strict laws against drinking and driving – and the best advice is to simply not do it! Read the Visitors and New Residents section on the New Zealand Transport Agency website before hitting the road. The Information for Tourists and Travellers in New Zealand section on the same website contains handy information too.

Main highways are well-maintained, but they are not multi-lane roadways. Take care in overtaking or wait until you reach a passing lane. On single-lane bridges, signs indicate which side has right of way. Although New Zealand is a small country, distances take longer to drive than they may appear.