Driving in New Zealand

What is different about driving in New Zealand?

There are a few things that you may not be used to when driving in New Zealand. Make sure you have a safe and enjoyable journey. Please watch the video above and read this booklet before starting out.


Be prepared for your next journey. Take the test!

If you would like to make sure you are ready for driving on New Zealand roads, these 66 questions are the essential Road Code rules you need to know to help keep yourself safe on NZ’s roads.


Some quick tips

Keep left
Always drive on the left side of the road. If you drive on the right hand side in your own country, please take a moment to re-familiarise yourself with this rule before pulling out onto the road after a break – it’s easy to forget where you are!
Driving speeds
Speed limit signs show the maximum speed you can travel. However, at times you may need to drive at a slower speed due to road or weather conditions. Different speed limits apply throughout New Zealand – look out for the speed limit signs. On most of New Zealand’s main roads the speed limit is 100 km/h, unless a sign says a lower speed applies. In urban areas, the speed limit is usually 50 km/h unless a sign says otherwise.There are hundreds of hidden speed cameras all over New Zealand. We strongly recommend that you obey the New Zealand speed limits. You are breaking the law when you exceed our speed limits and therefore can default your insurance.
Giving way at intersections
Always use your indicators when turning. Stop completely then give way (yield) to all traffic. Slow down and be ready to stop and give way to all traffic. At an intersection where one vehicle will cross the path of another, and both are waiting on stop or give way signs (or where there are no signs), special give way rules apply.
Safety belts
By law, everyone in the vehicle must wear a safety belt – whether they’re in the front or the back. If you are caught without wearing a seatbelt you will be fined.
Mobile devices – don’t text & drive!
Drivers must not use a hand-held mobile phone or use their mobile GPS when driving. The device needs to be completely hands-free or mounted securely to the vehicle.
Driver Licensing
You need to meet a number of requirements to drive on New Zealand roads. Just like other drivers, you must have a current driver licence; but you may also need an international driving permit or translation if your licence is not in English.You’ll need to consider more permanent arrangements if you’re in New Zealand for more than 12 months.
For more information about NZ transport visit the New Zealand Transport Agency website.
Travelling on a long haul flight
Nervous about driving in a new country, in a different vehicle? Plan to stay a night or two in your arrival city to give yourself time to adjust to our road conditions and rules, and to get used to driving your new vehicle.

Enjoy your trip!

Stay safe, and enjoy your time in New Zealand!