Self-driving holidays are one if the most relaxing ways of enjoying New Zealand's landscape. Many of our roads are scenic and traffic is low when compared to international standards.
Although New Zealand is a relatively small country it can take many hours to drive between cities and other destinations of interest. Even when distances are short, hilly or winding terrain or narrow secondary roads can slow your journey.
If you're used to driving in the city, you should take care when driving on the open country roads. New Zealand has a good motorway system but weather extremes, the terrain and narrow secondary roads and bridges require drivers to be very vigilant.
Never drive if you are feeling tired, particularly after you have just completed a long-haul flight.
The following, general information is provided for your road safety:
- Always drive on the left-hand-side of the road.
- All road distances are measured in kilometres.
- When the traffic light is red, you must stop. There is no left turn rule as in North America.
- The amber traffic light means stop unless you are so close to the intersection you can’t stop safely.
- The speed limit on the open road is usually 100km/h (approx 60m/h). In urban areas the speed limit is 50km/h. Speed limits are strictly enforced by the police.
- Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts or child restraints at all times, in both front and rear seats.
- During long journeys take regular rest and refreshment breaks.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a crime in New Zealand and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
- Refer to the Transit New Zealand website for country wide information on New Zealand roads. For up to date information on South Island roads you can also call toll free 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 44 44 49).
For full details see the New Zealand Road Code