Our roads are good quality, but with our varied terrain, they can often be steeper, windier and narrower than roads in other countries. And while our road rules are similar to those you might find at home, there'll be some important differences to note.

Below are a few tips from our friends at the New Zealand Transport Agency to help keep you safe and happy when you're out there on the road.

We drive on the left-hand side of the road

Akaroa, New Zealand - Photo by Graeme Murray

Our roads are narrower, more winding and sometimes steeper than you might expect

0028 Piha Auckland Sam Mahayni

Our roads are mostly two-way, with one lane in each direction

L360 Milford Sound Fiordland Tourism New Zealand

Not all railway crossings have active warnings

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Seat belts are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle

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It's illegal to use a phone while driving

Take regular breaks and give yourself plenty of time to reach your next destination

0211 Whakatete Bay Thames Auckland Sam Mahayni

The silver lining there: that gives you lots of opportunities to enjoy the scenery and local hospitality!

For more driving advice, visit your local i-SITE or check out DriveSafe

Goose Bay, Kaikoura - Photo by Graeme Murray

The DriveSafe website provides information and advice to international drivers planning driving holidays here in New Zealand. They can teach you about driving in New Zealand, and the local New Zealand road rules.

Visit the DriveSafe Website

Top Tips for Driving in New Zealand

  • We drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Take your time. Journeys can take longer than you think.
  • Our roads are narrower, more winding and sometimes steeper than you might expect.
  • Our roads are mostly two-way, with one lane in each direction - we have few motorways.
  • Not all railway crossings have active warnings.
  • Seat belts are compulsory for everyone in the vehicle.
  • It's illegal to use a phone while driving.

Also, make sure you take regular breaks and give yourself plenty of time to reach your next destination. The silver lining there: that gives you lots of opportunities to enjoy the scenery and local hospitality!

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