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Driving in New Zealand

Driving in New Zealand is without doubt one of the best ways to see the country.  With ever changing landscapes and stunning scenery, a road trip should be high on your list of priorities for what to see and do while here. The road network in New Zealand is very good and well maintained but New Zealand roads can be quite deceptive when looking at a map so it will pay not to underestimate travelling times. There aren't many highways, and with narrower, winding roads and changing weather conditions it can take longer than expected to get to your destination.  It is important to ensure you leave plenty of time to get to your destination safely, whist being able to enjoy the magnificent views outside your window.

Essential New Zealand road rules to know:

1. Keep left.

2. Use passing lanes when overtaking other cars.

3. Never cross a solid yellow line, as it indicates that it is too dangerous to overtake.

4. A double yellow centre line means that no traffic can overtake.

5. If you prefer to go slow and there is traffic behind you, find a safe place and pull over and let them go past.

6. Watch out for the speed limits indicated in km/hour.

7. Wear your seat belt and don`t use your mobile phone while driving.

8. Ensure your vehicle has current WOF and is registered.  

To be able to drive in New Zealand you need a valid international driver license or a translation of your foreign driver license in English. Numerous agencies offer a translation service, or go in one of the i-SITEs, where staff can help process a translation within a few hours, even on weekends. 

For further information about the road rules in New Zealand, check out the New Zealand Transport Agency website.

For approved translation services, click here.

For an update on the road conditions, including road closures, please visit the NZTA website.