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New Zealand Driving Tips

Driving in New Zealand Tips

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Depot information

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Driving Distances in New Zealand

Driving Licence

A full valid driver's licence is required for a minimum of 2 years. An International Drivers Licence is recommended for Australian drivers licence holders.

Age Restrictions

Generally the minimum age is 21 years, but can vary between the car hire company and location. Maximum age limits apply in some locations, a young/senior driver surcharge may apply. Please check terms & conditions when making an enquiry or booking.

Rules, Laws and Regulations

General driving rules, laws and regulations in New Zealand:

Drive Safe is the New Zealand Government and tourism initiative, for assuring everyone who is visiting New Zealand or a permanent resident, is taking the proper precautions and travelling safely on the open roads.

Child Safety Seats

Children under 14 years of age should be seated in the back seats of the vehicle. Children under 5 years of age must be properly restrained in an approved child restraint. It is the drivers' responsibility to ensure children aged 14 or under are correctly seated and be in either an approved child seat or wearing a seat belt.

Speed Limits

Speed limits are displayed in kilometres per hour (kph). Speed limit signs use a circular shape with a red border and text in the middle. LSZ Signs - 'Limited speed zone' Motorists can travel at the open road speed of 100km/h, however speed must be reduced when conditions are reduced. Below are the speed limits in New Zealand, unless signed otherwise;

Drink Driving

In New Zealand drink driving laws are strictly regulated with random breath tests carried out randomly on motorists. Anyone found to be over the blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08mg/100ml will receive a fine and may be arrested.


A toll is payable on the on the Northern Gateway. Fee's are determined on the type of vehicle you're driving. No tolls booth exists, as vehicles pass under toll point, camera's capture your vehicles licence plate number and determine the fee depending on the type of vehicle. Toll fees will then be debited from an account that holds pre-paid credit, otherwise toll single, return or multiple trips can be purchased from toll-road online. If using a hire car, toll fee will be forwarded to the supplier and invoiced to the hirer accordingly. Failure to pay will incur an administration charge plus the toll fee.

Road Signs

Majority of road signs in New Zealand are very much alike to those used in Australia, although some can be found with unique differences such as colour, shapes, typeface or arrows. All signs are written in English and it is necessary that you obey all road signs.


It is illegal to park on the wrong side of the road facing traffic. Fines apply and vehicles will be towed. In built up areas of New Zealand on-parking attract fee's depending on the time of the day and day of the week. Parking operates under pay-n-display system, a ticket will need to be purchased from a nearby machine and the ticket will then need to be clearly displayed on the front windscreen. Fee's can be paid by credit card or cash and is charged at an hourly rate. Always remember before leaving your vehicle to check signage for any restrictions that might apply.

Visa Information

Visa, passport and entry requirements for Australians visiting New Zealand:

Winter Driving

When driving in winter, especially in the South Island, ensure you have snow chains and be cautious of the weather. Click here for more information.

All information provided is to be used as a guide only. Distances and time may very according to the route taken. The information shown on this page may have changed since the date of publication. Please refer to the countries local tourist office for up-to-date advice. Last updated: December 2017.