Driving in New Zealand with a hire car - campervan

Features: information on driving with a car or campervan in New Zealand - changes to child restraint seats from 1st November 2013

Driving in New Zealand - what to expect

Updated information August 2013

As well as breath-taking scenery, what do you need to be prepared for driving around New Zealand?

In New Zealand we drive on the left and that means the steering wheel is on the right (right-hand drive). If you are used to the steering wheel being on the left, you now have to factor in 1.5m of car that is on your left. Be careful you don’t put the left-side wheels on the verge! Also, take care in pulling out of intersections as it’s all-to-easy when you’re on driving autopilot to pull out onto the side of the road you are most familiar with. You will often see arrows painted on the road at intersections near popular tourist spots to remind you of which lane you should be in.

Our speed limits are much lower than in Europe. Almost all of Europe travels at between 70-80mph. New Zealand’s open road speed limit is 100kph (62mph), and its urban limit is generally 50kph (31mph). The police have both fixed and mobile cameras. On public holiday weekends the speed limit tolerance is 4kph and any other times it is 10kph, that is, you will not be fined on a public holiday as long as you don’t exceed the posted speed limit by more than 4kph.

New Zealand’s roads are not as good quality as those in Europe or America. Outside the main centres you will not find motorways. There will be periodic dual carriageways, occasional passing lanes (three lanes with an indication of which direction of traffic is allowed to use the middle lane), and passing bays (short bays for slow drivers to pull into). If you are a slower driver in a motorhome, it is courteous to pull over to let following traffic past and you could be fined if you don’t.

Our intersection rules are similar to those in most other countries, except reversed if you are used to driving on the right. We give way to vehicles coming from straight ahead, we give way to the right on roundabouts and drivers on a compulsory stop sign must defer to traffic on give way signs regardless of the direction it’s coming from.

With traffic lights you do not have a free turn on a red light unless a sign indicates you do. The traffic light sequence is red, green, amber, red. Some countries use a flashing amber signal at pedestrian crossings to indicate vehicles can go if it’s safe to do so, but New Zealand doesn’t do that. A red light means stop at all times, unless you are directed to pass through by police, or unless there is a green turning light.

There a large number of signs in New Zealand, some of them similar or the same as overseas. Lane markings and parking lines differ considerably from some other countries.

To make sure you know the road code, visit http://www.drivingtests.co.nz and take the free road code quizzes. We hope you have a great time travelling around New Zealand. Remember to be courteous to other drivers and let them past if you are travelling slower than them, and take your time so you can enjoy our wonderful scenery.



Child restraint seats Laws changing in New Zealand from 1 November 2013

Please follow this link where you find all the relevant information in regards to changes to the Law in New Zealand for child restraints while travelling in a car or campervans



Tourist-specific Road Code quiz

Answer all 66 questions - This is a trimmed-down quiz that is specifically to help international visitors get to grips with the important knowledge in the Road Code. As with our other quizzes, there’s no cost to use it.



GERMAN / SPANISH link for New Zealand Road Code quiz via the following link
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DRIVING SAFE IN NEW ZEALAND from our partner Wendekreisen Travel 

Please follow this link to IMPORTANT Information 
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