New Zealand has good air, train and bus links, and all services are listed in the Yellow Pages. Schedules are available at most Information Centres.
in New Zealand is usually easy. Roads are good and by international standards traffic volumes are light. However, city traffic can be heavy during 'rush hours'. Heavy congestion occurs on the Auckland motorway network and to a lesser degree on some arterials serving the other main centres. Speeding and drunk driving both incur heavy penalties. Most 'State Highways' throughout the country are not large by overseas standards – many have only two lanes. Rural roads require special care, because many are winding and some have a gravel or 'metalled' surface.
All drivers need a driver licence. You can be fined if you do not have your licence when stopped by the Police. Always carry your licence with you when you drive. If you have a driver licence in your home country, or an international driving permit or driver licence, you can drive in New Zealand for up to one year. If you are planning to stay and drive in New Zealand for more than one year, you will need to apply for a New Zealand driver licence as soon as possible after your arrival. This involves a driving theory and practical test and an eye sight examination.
The road code in New Zealand is similar to that in most Western countries, but there are a few important features that need to be noted in advance of your arrival.
New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road. This is easy to forget when you first arrive, as old habits die hard, but such lapses can be fatal. Keep left at all times.
Speed limit signs show the maximum speed you can travel. At times, you may need to drive at a lesser speed due to road or weather conditions.
Towns and cities: 50 kilometres per hour
Open road: 100 kilometres per hour
Limited Speed Zone (LSZ): 50 kilometres per hour in bad conditions; 100 kilometres per hour in good conditions.
Give way rules
Give way to all traffic crossing or approaching from your right. If you are:
at a 'Give Way' sign, be ready to stop and give way to all traffic
at a 'Stop' sign, stop completely and then give way to all traffic
going straight ahead, give way to all vehicles coming straight through from your right unless they are on a
Give Way or Stop sign
turning, give way to all vehicles not turning
turning left, give way to vehicles coming towards you that are turning right
turning right, give way to vehicles on your right that are turning right
leaving the path of the centre line while turning, give way to vehicles following the centre line.
You are not allowed to park on or beside a yellow line, or within six metres of an intersection or a pedestrian crossing. You are also not allowed to park or stop on the right hand side of the road except in a one-way street.
Parking signs with red writing on a white background apply at all times.
Parking signs with white writing on a blue background only apply on certain days and times, for example, Monday to Saturday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm. Read the sign carefully as it will state when the rules apply.
Restrictions do not apply on Sundays and public holidays.
All people in a car (in the front and rear seats) must wear safety belts at all times.
Children in cars
If you are driving a car, you are responsible for ensuring that all children under five years old are restrained in an approved child seat. The only exception is when you are travelling in a taxi. If the taxi has no restraint available, the child must sit in the back seat.
Safety helmets are compulsory for all cyclists and motorcyclists. This includes passengers and children being carried on bicycles. The helmets must conform to the New Zealand Standard and be securely fastened. Approved safety helmets can be bought from cycle shops. A fine of $55 is imposed if a cyclist is caught cycling without a helmet.
Drink driving rules
If you drink, don't drive. Drinking more than the legal limit and then driving is a very serious offence. The Police can test any driver for alcohol at any time. If you are convicted of driving while over the legal limit, you will automatically lose your licence and be fined or imprisoned.
For more information contact:
The Land Transport New Zealand on freephone: 0800 669 000.
A handy guide to New Zealand's road rules designed especially for new residents is available in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Fijian, Samoan, Hindi and Malay.
For a copy in your preferred language:
Freephone: 0800 669 000 or visit Land Transport New Zealand
Copies of the New Zealand Road Code can also be purchased from most bookshops and stationery outlets.