For many visitors to New Zealand, finding the best way to travel around and explore the country is a key part of planning their visit.
The good news is that there are a wide variety of transport options to choose from, whether it's finding a way to get to and from work or school, or venturing further afield to see some of New Zealand's stunning scenery. Public transport is available in cities and most towns, while intercity buses, trains and planes are good for longer trips. Another option is to drive a car, allowing independent travel. However, before you get behind the wheel, there are a few things you should know about driving in New Zealand.
First, make sure that you meet New Zealand's driver licence requirements. You can drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have a current driver licence from your home country or an international driving permit. There are additional requirements if your licence isn't in English. If you intend to stay in New Zealand for more than 12 months, you will need to apply for a New Zealand licence. More information about driver licence regulations can be found on the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) website. You need to carry your licence with you at all times when you’re driving.
Before you drive, you should also learn New Zealand's road rules. These tell you about road signs, give way rules, speed limits, driver responsibilities and sharing the road with other users. You can get an overview of the road rules and everything you need to know about staying safe on New Zealand's roads in the NZTA brochure Driving in New Zealand. This brochure is available in a number of languages, or get some tips on driving safely here.
Some of the important things to remember are that New Zealanders drive on the left-hand side of the road, that New Zealand has strict laws regarding driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and drivers cannot use hand-held mobile phones while driving.
Travelling by car is a great way to see New Zealand but it can be very different to driving in your home country, especially if you're travelling in rural areas where roads can be narrow, winding and hilly. So, take the time to learn the road rules, adjust to driving on the left-hand side of the road and your car journeys will be enjoyable and safe.