Driving in New Zealand

For those wanting more freedom and independence, a New Zealand self drive vacation is a wonderful option. Explore at your own pace in a self drive rental car from Airport Rentals Christchurch.

For your safety and comfort we have put together some driving tips which we hope you will find useful.

The most important thing to remember is that in New Zealand, driving is on the LEFT HAND SIDE of the road. This is the same as in the United Kingdom and Japan.

Yellow Lines: -  These mean that there is no overtaking on this section of the road. 

Travelling Times
New Zealand is small and compact, but there is so much to see and do, that it is not practical to cover a long distance each and every day. The maximum speed limit for the open road in new Zealand is 100 kilometres/hour (62 miles/hour). Drivers generally travel slightly under the speed limit.

Please note that average speeds are lower and it takes longer to travel distances in New Zealand than might be expected. This is due to the hilly and mountainous nature of our countryside.  Check out your destination distance and travelling time with this calculator at AA Travel.

We strongly recommend that hirer's of our vehicles who have arrived on a long haul flight stay overnight in Christchurch prior to commencing their rental vehicle journey.

Rural Driving
Many roads have gravel verges. Be mindful to keep clear of the verge, especially on corners. Some isolated roads are unsealed and use gravel as the surface. In these cases, drive slowly. Note that there are some roads which are not suitable for rental cars. We will advise you of these at the time of pick up.

During winter and early spring, some roads in the South Island and central North Island may be closed because of snow and ice. There will usually be an alternative route for you to take.

Seat Belts
It is compulsory in New Zealand that the driver and all passengers wear their seatbelts. This is an important safety requirement.

More Information
For more detailed information, you can visit the New Zealand Government Land Transport Safety Authority website. Here you will find information specifically for visitors who intend to drive in New Zealand including a helpful printable brochure available in a number of languages including French, German, Japanese and Chinese.   We promote safe driving and recommend you look at the    website www.DriveSafe.org.nz as well as the New Zealand Road Code     

Some of the road rules in New Zealand will be quite different to what you are used to, particularly if you come from a country that drives on the right hand side. In order to stay safe on the road in New Zealand, check out these free road code quizzes.