Driving in New Zealand
New Zealand is a beautiful country, best appreciated by road.
Some road rules you need to know before attempting to drive on New Zealand roads include:
- You must drive on the left hand side of the road.
- When turning left, give way (yield) to traffic crossing or approaching from your right.
- When the traffic light is red, you must stop. Green means go, and Orange means stop if you can do so safely.
- The speed limit on the open road is 100 kilometres per hour (approx. 60 miles per hour).
- The speed limit in urban areas is 50 kilometres per hour, unless otherwise signed.
- If you are driving past a school during school hours, the speed limit is reduced to 40 kilometres per hour.
- Drivers and passengers must wear seat belts at all times, no matter which seat you are sitting in.
- You must give way to pedestrians if they are crossing on a Pedestrian signal at traffic lights, or crossing on a Zebra crossing.
- You must not stop on a Motorway.
- You must carry your licence on you at all times when driving.
Other things to keep in mind include:
- Drinking and driving is prohibited in New Zealand. You can find out more information on the ALAC website.
- Distances are measured in kilometres, not miles in New Zealand.
- Yellow speed signs in rural areas signify the safe speed to travel around the upcoming bend.
Motorcyclists and Cyclists
Here are some rules if you are biking around New Zealand:
- You must wear a helmet at all times.
- Front and rear lights must be working.
- Standard driving rules and speed limits also apply to bikers.
- It is illegal to cycle on a Motorway.
- You are not allowed to bike on footpaths.
- You must have a valid motorcycle licence to ride a motorcycle.
You must hold a valid drivers licence to drive on New Zealand roads.
If you have a current driver's licence from your home country, or an International Driving Permit (IDP), you are allowed to drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months.
If you don't hold a current driver's licence you can apply for a New Zealand driver's licence. Find out more on the NZ Transport Agency website.