We are passionate about organising unforgettable New Zealand experiences for both groups and independent travellers.
For self-drive guests visiting our country, we believe it is extremely important to share information on safe driving practises in NZ – before they arrive in the country.
When driving in New Zealand there are some key rules and tips to ensure a safe trip.
A good point to start before even arriving into the country is to ensure those travellers who wish to drive in New Zealand have a full valid drivers’ licence. In New Zealand all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. Any licence that isn’t in English must have an approved English translation as well as the international licence. Remember, any restrictions or conditions mentioned on a licence will also apply within New Zealand. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years.
We strongly suggest that on the night of arrival into New Zealand travellers arrange to stay locally for the first evening before collecting a hire vehicle. Our operations team will usually book self-drive tours with this in mind to ensure travellers are refreshed before heading onto their next location.
Here are some important things for drivers to remember when driving in New Zealand:
- Keep to the left-hand lane. Unlike other countries New Zealand drives solely on the left -side of the road. Keep this in mind at all times but particularly when you set off from a parked position or pull out of a junction or car park.
- Always wear your seatbelt. It is a legal requirement for everyone in the vehicle to wear a seat belt. Children must be secured in an approved child seat which can be supplied by most rental vehicle companies.
- Always be aware of your speed. Limits are in place to maintain the safety of you and others around you. These speed limits also apply for hidden bends and dips in the road.
- You must also always stop at a stop sign.
- Overtake only when it is safe. Most highways feature passing lanes to offer safe ways to pass. Never cross a solid yellow line on your side of the road.
- Always adjust speed to drive to the condition. Rain, ice, snow and wind can always affect your ability to drive.
- Also, be aware it is illegal to drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol or to use your mobile while driving. Both are classified as a criminal offence and strictly enforced by police, with severe penalties for offenders.
- It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in New Zealand.
- New Zealand may be a relatively small country but driving times can often take longer than expected due to our winding roads. Please ensure to leave enough time to get to your destination, and plan additional time for rest stops.
Find more information on driving in New Zealand and on our road rules in the New Zealand Road Code.