The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in New Zealand

New Zealand has tons of things to see and do. It is the home of Middle Earth, as this is where Peter Jackson filmed some the most famous films in fantasy history. You can find plenty of wonderful attractions in the country including the Waitomo Caves, the Museum of New Zealand, Milford Sound, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, the Hamilton Gardens, and more.

Renting a vehicle in New Zealand

New Zealand is a beautiful country, and it is natural that you want to explore as much of it as possible. Having a rental vehicle that you can use will make this much easier. The legal age to drive in the country is 21 years old, and that is how old you will need to be if you want to rent a vehicle in the country.

When you are choosing a vehicle, think about the type of terrain that you will be driving on and choose the appropriate option. You may find that a 4WD is a better option than a standard car. You should also make sure that you get the phone number and contact information of the rental company just in case you need to contact them for an emergency.

Road conditions and safety

For the most part, the roads around New Zealand are in decent condition. The motorways are paved, and the main roads through and around the major towns and cities are paved. However, when it comes to the secondary roads and the rural roads, they are often narrow and they can be unpaved. They can be rough and more difficult to drive on for many drivers. Some of the roads have gravel surfaces as well.

It is important to consider the terrain when you are driving from one city or town to another. Even though they might not look very far apart on the map, it can take a long time to reach a destination because of the hills, and winding roads. Of course, the beautiful scenery tends to make the drive worth it.

You will drive on the left side of the road in New Zealand. The drivers, as well as all of the passengers in the vehicle need to wear their seatbelts. When the traffic lights are red, you cannot make left hand turns. When you are parking, make sure you only park in designated areas, or you will get a ticket.

When you are driving, you are not allowed to use your mobile phones. Reading, writing, and sending messages while driving is illegal as well.

The speed limits

Be sure to follow the posted speed limits for the roadways and motorways. The following are the typical speed limits for different types of roads in New Zealand.

  • Open roads – 100 km/h
  • In towns – 50 km/h

The country has a number of speed cameras that will help to catch people who are speeding. The goal is to curb speeders on the roads, so be careful and stay within the speed limit.

New Zealand has many places to visit that are simply easier when you have a rental car. It is a simpler option than trying to rely on public transportation to get everywhere you need to go.


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