Guide to Driving in New Zealand

The most important thing you need to know about driving in New Zealand is the lane to use. Traffic is on the left and overtakes are on the right, just like in the UK. In fact, you’ll see numerous similitudes when driving in New Zealand. Most of the road signs use the same pattern as the European ones. The roads are in excellent shape and the road markings are repainted yearly. During the winter conditions can get rough, especially at high altitudes. You must have winter tires mounted. In unmarked intersections you must give way to vehicles coming from your right. Making your way from one end of the country to the other will come easy since there are a lot of highways and national roads which are in great shape. Parking in busy cities can be challenging. You should park only in areas accompanied by a ‘P’ indicator. You are not allowed to park in yellow zones or on the right side of the road, facing the incoming traffic. Since New Zealand English is the main spoken language you should have an easy time requesting information or talking to the other drivers. Speeding cameras are sometimes mounted on police cars and on the main highways. Never drive above the speed limit with more than 10kmh (7mph) although we recommend you to never go over the displayed limit.

New Zealand police cars are easy to recognize since they are painted in bright colors. The base is white but on the sides and on the hood you’ll see numerous blue & yellow or blue & orange squares. The word written on them is ‘POLICE’. As long as your domestic license is in English there’s no need to have an International driver’s permit. Along with your domestic license you must have the car’s registration certificate, third-party insurance policy and your passport as an identity card.

Essential Driving Information

  • All the passengers are required to use the seatbelt, if fitted. Babies must be transported in appropriate child restraints.
  • There are some toll roads across New Zealand so you should have some exchanged money at hand.
  • Dipped beam should be used when the visibility conditions are poor. You are not allowed to use the high beam in well-lit areas.
  • The use of a mobile phone was allowed at some point, but recently the law changed and now you’re not allowed to use such a device while driving.
Speed Limits
Town/City: 50kmh (30mph)
Main Road: 100kmh (62mph)
Motorway: 100kmh (62mph)
Emergency Phone Numbers
Police: 111
Ambulance: 111
Firefighters: 111
General Information (as of 2014)
Min Driving Age: 18
Alcohol Limit: 0.08%
Petrol Price: €1.89/litre
Diesel Price: €1.10/litre
Daddy Car Hire, Advantage Business Centre, 132-134 Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, M4 6DE