A self drive holiday is the most relaxing way to enjoy New Zealand's landscape. Enjoy our low traffic levels and scenic roads in absolute comfort.
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 and give way to your right.
- All road distances are measured in kilometres.
- All traffic turning right must give way to a vehicle coming from the opposite direction and turning left. This applies at cross roads, T-intersections and driveways where both vehicles are facing each other with no signs or signals, or the same signs or signals. Think: If you're turning right, you must give way.
- 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.